When someone has died with a Will, an application for Probate may be required. The Grant of Probate provides the Executors (as named in the Will) with the authority to administer the death estate and to deal with the assets and liabilities therein.
Our team is experienced in dealing with a variety of estates and can deal with all aspects of the administration including but not limited to:
- Preparing inheritance tax returns and dealing with inheritance tax calculations and payment;
- Preparing the Oath and submitting the application for Probate;
- Collecting in the assets and liabilities;
- Dealing with the sales or transfer of assets including shareholdings, properties, personal possessions, pensions and trust assets;
- Preparing the administration and distribution accounts;
- Identifying and locating beneficiaries of the estate, including dealing with charities;
- Liaising with accountants in respect of any income tax or capital gains liabilities;
- Preparing post death deeds of variation.
The same process is required when somebody dies without a Will, although this is called Letters of administration and appoints Administrators to deal with the estate.
The Intestacy Rules govern how a person’s estate passes in the absence of a valid will.
There is a legal order of entitlement of direct family members, which may not match your wishes. The order of entitlement depends on whether or not you have a spouse, civil partner and/or children and which family members survive you outside of your family unit.
Of particular importance is that a surviving spouse does not automatically inherit the whole estate and cohabitees do not inherit at all under the Intestacy rules. This can cause unexpected Inheritance Tax liability which could otherwise be avoided.
Similarly, if you want your assets to pass to other parties, such as charities, friends or specific family members then you should prepare a Will providing as such.
The only way to avoid the intestacy rules applying is to prepare a valid will. Professional advice is recommended to ensure that the will is valid.
If somebody has died without a Will the beneficiaries can vary the terms of the Intestacy within two years of death if they are all in agreement.