Probate and Estate Administration
The process of dealing with the affairs of someone who has died is the administration of their estate. Most commonly, where the deceased left a Will, this will involve taking out Probate which is the evidence of the Executors’ authority to deal with the deceased’s assets and liabilities. If the deceased did not leave a valid Will, their estate will be dealt with according to the Intestacy Rules. The Intestacy Rules are rules which specify the people who will benefit from the deceased’s estate and the beneficiaries can apply for Letters of Administration (the equivalent of Probate). In other cases, because of the size or composition of the estate, it may not be necessary to take out Probate or Letters of Administration at all.
If you have been appointed as an Executor in a Will, or if you are the beneficiary of an Intestate estate, we can help you deal with the administration of the estate. Once the death has been registered and you have received the death certificate we can meet with you to discuss the next steps. Broadly, this will involve:
- Reviewing the deceased’s most recent Will. If you are unable to find the Will, or if you believe that there may be a later Will than you have located, we can arrange for enquiries to be made locally, or even nationally, if necessary.
- If there is no Will, checking with you the details of the deceased’s family tree and discussing the application of the Intestacy Rules. If you are unsure about any of the deceased’s family details or if you are concerned that there may be relatives of which you are unaware, we can arrange for a professional firm to investigate and report on the family tree. They can also assist in tracing missing beneficiaries.
- Ascertaining the deceased’s assets and liabilities, including but not limited to houses and mortgages, bank accounts, loans and credit cards, pensions, shares and investments, vehicles, furniture and other household or personal goods.
- Reviewing whether it is necessary to take out Probate or Letters of Administration in order to deal with the administration of the estate.
- Completing the relevant paperwork including Inheritance Tax Returns and Oaths.
- Arranging payment of any Inheritance Tax liability from the deceased’s assets.
- Collecting in the assets and settling the debts which have been identified, including Income and Capital Gains Tax liabilities – we can put you in touch with an accountant in order to prepare these tax returns.
- Preparing Estate Accounts showing the value of the deceased’s estate, the assets which have been collected in and the debts which have been paid and the final distribution of the estate.
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
- If the deceased’s Will created a trust, we can assist in the ongoing administration of that trust.
We understand that this will be a distressing time for you and our aim is to support you as best we can and to relieve some of the burden which comes with dealing with an estate. Please contact Claire Beard, Rebecca Walker or Richard Engel to discuss how we can help you and for a detailed estimate of costs. For general costs information, click here.
Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA ID: 389678). Max Engel is the trading name of Max Engel & Co LLP a limited liability partnership (Members: R E Engel, H L Carville and S G Lawson) registered in England, registered number: OC 305962. Registered office: 8 Hazelwood Road, Northampton NN1 1lP. VAT Number: 119 4485 55.