Dealing With Someone’s Affairs When They Die
Have you recently suffered a bereavement?
Dealing with someone’s affairs when they die can be complicated and confusing, especially at a difficult and emotional time.
Whilst it is possible to deal with these matters on your own we often find that getting professional support to administer your friend or loved one’s estate. Makes the process run much more smoothly and helps avoid costly and stressful mistakes being made.
At a time of loss, financial matters are very sensitive and you need reassurance that such matters are dealt with in a professional and timely manner. Choosing to use a professional fixed fee Probate Service can put your Mind at Rest. Because you can agree on the cost upfront so there will be no hidden surprises.
As an Executor of your friend or loved ones Will you have to deal with the distribution of their estate which is everything that they own; all of their assets (whether real property or personal property) and their liabilities.
What does an Executor need to do?
An executor is a person the deceased wished to deal with the administration of their estate after their death. It is an Executor’s responsibility to:
- Determine what property and other assets were owned, as well as any liabilities
- Get valuations of personal possessions, property, investments, pension & insurance policies
- Seek final settlement figures for any debts and bills
- Arrange for the payment of the funeral
- Calculate Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax liabilities
- Complete the necessary tax returns to submit to the Revenue
- Complete and submit the necessary Probate Registry forms
- Arrange the clearance and sale of any property
- Collect assets and pay any debts
- Distribute legacies and gifts to beneficiaries
- Make and keep detailed accounts to give to the main beneficiaries
- Place adverts for creditors in local paper and London Gazette
If any beneficiaries are minor children then an Executor may act as Trustee for ongoing trusts. To hold their monies until they reach the age of 18. Your choice of Executors and/or the Solicitors they instruct can determine how quickly and efficiently the administration of the estate is progressed.
What is probate?
Probate is the court’s authority, given to a person or persons, to administer a deceased person’s estate. And the document issued by the Probate Registry is called a Grant of Representation. This document is usually required by the asset holders (such as banks) as proof to show the correct person or persons have the Probate Registry’s authority to administer a deceased person’s estate.
When is Probate required?
The Probate process is needed when investments (typically over £5,000) were held in the deceased’s sole name. And the banks, building societies and other organisations request for a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration in order to release the funds held.
How long to obtain Grant of Probate / Grant of Letters of Administration?
In straightforward estates, we can prepare all the necessary papers within 5 working days of receiving full information about the estate from the Executor/ Administrator. We can then obtain the Grant within 10 working days of the Executor/ Administrator signing and returning signed papers to us.
Will I have to pay my loved one’s debts?
No. However, it is a common misconception amongst people is that when a person dies their debts disappear but this is not the case unless otherwise stated. When a person dies their debts are paid for from their assets at the time of death.
If their debt exceeds their available assets then the estate will be insolvent, sometimes it is not known if an estate is insolvent until the grant of probate has been received.
When the estate of the deceased is insolvent, gifts and legacies cannot be distributed to the beneficiaries under the Will, this part of the law is governed by Administration of Insolvent Estates of Deceased Persons Order 1986 (DPO 1986).
Who is a personal representative and what are their duties?
A personal representative is usually the named Executor of the deceased’s Will. When a person dies without making a Will, the personal representative is the person a grant of administration has been given to.
It is the duty of the personal representative to pay off all debts of the deceased. If this is not done then they may be liable to pay the money back into the estate. In order to avoid this, it is advised that the personal representative should apply for an Insolvency Administration Order.