When someone dies, you’ll need to get the legal right to deal with their property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’). You, a solicitor or another person licensed to provide probate services may be able to apply for a ‘grant of representation’ – known as ‘probate’.
Dealing with probate means taking on a number of responsibilities, each involving complex legal and tax-related work.
If you’re dealing with the probate process, it’s important to have a good understanding of each stage in order to carry them out accurately.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal term, normally used to describe the process of dealing with the financial affairs of a person who has died.
This includes, among other tasks, handling inheritance tax, collecting the estate’s assets, paying all tax liabilities and distributing the estate.
There are different practices depending on whether or not a will has been left.
I’ve obtained a grant of representation – what happens next?
If you’ve been named executor or administrator of an estate, you’ll usually need to obtain a grant of representation before carrying out the wishes of the deceased person.
Here is a brief overview of the duties an executor will need to carry out after that point.
Transfer the assets
The first step is to send a copy of the grant to the banks or financial institutions that hold the deceased’s assets.
Once they’ve received the grant, they should release the assets, which can then be transferred to an executorship account.
Pay any debts
Before distributing the estate, all debts must be taken care of. This could include any outstanding bills or tax.
You’ll need to identify the type of debt in each case – for example, if they’re secured or unsecured, or if they’re held individually or jointly with a partner.
Distribute the estate
At this point, the estate can be distributed according to the will.
If no will has been left, it will instead be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.
Prepare the estate accounts
After the estate has been distributed, copies of the final estate accounts must be given to all the main beneficiaries, to be approved and signed.
These are an accurate and detailed financial summary of the administration of the estate.
We can help
Administering an estate can be a time and energy-consuming task to take on during what is already a difficult time, but you don’t have to go through it alone.
We can either handle the whole process, or support you with the areas where you need more assistance.
From dealing with a grant of probate to preparing the final estate accounts, we’re here to help at every stage.