Willls & Probate Solicitors in Birmingham & Manchester
Dealing with estates can be a complex and delicate process. Having the right legal support can help you do avoid disputes, ensure that everything is distributed appropriately and protect you from any nasty surprises.
Estate Administration:The Process
The Grant of Probate gives the personal representatives the authority to release the assets, which is forwarded to all the relevant institutions to receive payment and appropriate closure forms. In most cases, closure forms are to be completed and signed by the personal representatives prior to the release of funds.
As soon as the funds have been received all liabilities and Estates should be discharged. Please note that the funeral account and HM tax payment are the only liabilities of the Estate that may be discharged prior to obtaining a Grant.
Once all the assets have been collected and all the liabilities have been discharged, the balance of the Estate will then be ascertained and can be distributed or held in Trust for the beneficiaries under the terms of the Will or the rules of intestacy. An Estate Account should be prepared setting out the details of the Administration including interest and any interim distributions made by the beneficiaries before making final distribution and finalising the Estate.
Estate Administration: Time Frames
The circumstances of each person are unique, so it is extremely difficult to predict how long it will take to finalise an Estate. A specialist solicitor will keep you updated as to the position of the Estate throughout your matter.
Estates cannot be dealt with until all claims to it have been received. Individuals have 6 months from the date of a Grant to make claims against the Estate.
Issues That Can Affect Dealing with Estates
- The need to go through and sort out numerous old papers
- Interpreting the contents of the Will and what the rules of intestacy say
- Obtaining details of all assets and liabilities of the Estate
- Missing passbooks, policies or title deeds
- Searching for details of lifetime gifts
- Dealing with any claims against the Estate
- Dealing with missing beneficiaries
- Liaising with HM Revenue and Customs in relation to income tax
- Ensuring all matters have been finalised with benefits agencies and pensions
- There may also be scope for tax planning and considerations of deed of variation
It is not uncommon for family members, beneficiaries or personal representatives to delay matters due to disagreements and it is essential that all disagreements are resolved before the Estate can be distributed.