Solicitors in Westminster, London
Probate & Estate Administration
When someone dies it is important for the administrators to understand what their role and duties are and what they can and can't do in terms of registering the death, organising the funeral and dealing with the assets, tax and other liabilities in the estate.
If the deceased made a will, they will have appointed executors, who are the people responsible for carrying out the deceased's wishes as included in their will. If the deceased did not leave a will then the law dictates what happens to the deceased's estate and who is entitled to administer it. This is called intestacy and whoever is legally entitled to administer the estate are called administrators. It is important that before you take any steps to administer an estate you establish whether the deceased left a will and whether you have any authority to act in the administration.
In order to administer an estate you will need to ascertain the value of all the assets and liabilities as at the date of death, calculate any tax owed from the estate and apply for what is called a grant of representation. Once the grant of representation has been issued then you can collect in the deceased's assets and settle any liabilities, administration expenses and any inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax if applicable. Once all the debts to the estate have been paid then you will be able to distribute what is known as the residue of the estate to the beneficiaries.
We recognise that the need to administer an estate can come at a tremendously difficult and emotional time for families and our private client team's experience in administering all types of estate allows us to offer advice and assistance in a sensitive manner whilst aiming to take as much stress as possible out of the process.
We can assist, executors, administrators, beneficiaries and family of the deceased with the following during the estate administration process:
- Assisting with the initial practicalities after a death such as registration of the death and funeral arrangements.
- Establishing the value of the estate by obtaining valuations for the deceased's assets such as property, savings and investments and personal belongings.
- Preparing the Inheritance tax account ensuring all Inheritance tax savings are secured where possible.
- Obtaining the grant of representation
- Collecting in the deceased's assets, including arranging the sale of properties and cashing in of stocks and shares and settling any inheritance tax due.
- Dealing with the administration of any trusts established in the will or trusts the deceased benefited from during their lifetime
- Preparing post death variations of wills in order to mitigate Inheritance tax along with advising on any capital gains tax issues.
- Preparing the deceased's final income tax return, along with the income tax returns for the administration period if applicable.
- Distributing the residue of the estate to the beneficiaries.
To find out more about the probate service we offer please contact one of our specialist lawyers by email or call us on 020 7222 5381.