Administration of estates

If someone dies leaving a Will then they will have appointed an executor to tidy up their affairs and distribute their assets according to the terms of their Will.

If they have not made a Will (“an intestacy”) then an administrator, usually a family member will be appointed by the court to do the same except that the assets will normally be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules which are laid down by Parliament.

In both cases a grant of representation will have to be obtained. Where a Will has been left this is known as the grant of probate and, in the case of intestacy, a grant of letters of administration.

Such documents confirm the right of the executor or administrator to deal with the deceased’s matters.

Obtaining a Grant of Representation

This can be a long and time consuming procedure depending on the size and nature of the estate and can place quite an onerous burden on the executor or administrator.

Initially, the representative needs to establish the composition of the estate and its valuation at the date of death. This does not only include those assets registered in the deceased’s name at the time of his death, but might include money or other assets that he or she has gifted during the last seven years.

After the information has been obtained and valuations have been completed, any Inheritance Tax needs to be assessed and all or part needs to be paid to HM Revenue & Customs before the grant of representation is given. This can cause difficulties in raising the money and in some cases it may prove necessary to borrow the funds until such time as the grant is issued and funds released to the estate.

After the Grant is obtained from the Court

Once the grant of representation is given then the executor or administrator has the authority to deal with the assets in the deceased’s name and also to settle any outstanding debts as well as finalising the deceased’s Income Tax affairs, prior to distributing the estate to the beneficiaries

How we can help

We offer three types of service

The first is purely advisory where we take no active role in the administration but are there to answer any questions or difficulties that you may encounter in administrating an estate.

The second is a limited service where we will administer the estate through to obtaining the grant of representation from the Court and then hand the estate back to the representative to finalise the administration and distribute the estate.

However, if this option is chosen then it can be combined with the first option for the post administration work.

The third option is a full administration where we would carry out all administration from the period immediately following the death through the obtaining of the grant of representation and finalising the administration work resulting in the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries with the administration accounts.