Probate is the term commonly used to describe the process involved in administering the estate of someone who has died. The responsibility for this rests with the ‘personal representative’, who is the person appointed in the Will, usually an ‘executor’. Alternatively, where there is no Will, or if a Will appoints executors who cannot act, the responsibility falls to an ‘administrator’ – a person entitled in law to administer an estate – usually the next of kin.
If you are a personal representative, dealing with the administration of an estate can be a daunting prospect – complex and time-consuming. At Carpenter & Co, we understand how difficult it can be to try to deal with the complexities of estate administration whilst you are grieving and we can reduce the burden upon you by dealing with this on your behalf.
The administration process
The personal representative is responsible for valuing an estate and, paying debts, liabilities and taxes and, finally, distributing assets to beneficiaries.
At Carpenter & Co, our solicitors will take control of the estate administration for you. We will:
- Deal with banks and other asset providers on your behalf when valuing the estate,
- Prepare documentation required to pay tax and apply for a Grant of Representation,
- Ensure liabilities have been paid,
- Prepare full estate accounts for you,
- And distribute assets in accordance with a Will or the rules of intestacy.
Our aim is to relieve the burden upon the personal representative after a bereavement and reduce the stresses estate administration can place upon them.
Grant of Representation
After valuing the estate, an application must be made to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate where there is a valid Will, or a Grant of Letters Administration where there is no Will, or a Will, but no executors appointed (collectively, these Grants are known as ‘Grants of Representation’). Unless the estate is a very small one, only once a Grant of Representation has been obtained can assets be transferred, sold or collected in.
Finalising the administration
We will ensure that all loose ends have been tied up and matters finalised for you. We will pay all liabilities in the estate and ensure the personal representatives are protected from any personal liability. We will deal with HMRC on your behalf and settle tax matters. Full estate accounts will be prepared, detailing all financial affairs of the estate and we will distribute assets to the beneficiaries named in the Will, or those inheriting in intestacy.
When someone dies without leaving a Will, or where a Will does not dispose of all their assets, the people entitled to benefit from that person’s estate are set out in law. Sometimes these may be distant relatives who require tracing. Our solicitors are experienced in dealing with intestacy and will use the services of genealogists to trace the entitled beneficiaries. This ensures that personal representatives are protected from any personal liability, for example, where beneficiaries are missing or unknown.
Please contact Melissa Ritchie by email at MelissaR@carpenterssolicitors.co.uk or telephone 020 8669 5145 for further information.
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