If a person has died without leaving a will, it is usually up to the next of kin to apply for a 'grant of letters of administration', otherwise known as probate. While this in itself can sometimes feel like an ordeal, especially in such a time of grief, there is still much to do after probate is granted in order to fully complete the administration of the estate. In fact, it can take another six to twelve months to transfer all the funds, assets, and property of an estate once probate is granted. The exact length of time it takes to administer an estate depends very much on how complicated the estate is and whether anything unexpected happens during the process, such as liabilities against the estate.
Where Should I Start?First things first, it's important to place a deceased estate notice in the Gazette, the Public Record, and local newspapers. This is to request that any unknown creditors come forward. While you might think this is unnecessary, it's always better to be safe than sorry, and if you don't do this, you could be held personally liable for any unidentified debts of the estate.
Administering an estate can broadly be broken up into four separate undertakings: collecting assets; paying debts; dealing with Inheritance Tax, if applicable; and distributing assets. This may involve dealing with outstanding enquiries from the Department for Work and Pensions, if necessary, which can take a great deal of time and is certainly one of the most common reasons for a lengthy administration process. You will also have to deal with liquidating assets in order to divide them between beneficiaries, and paying inheritance tax once access to the estate has been granted. Finally, the process will involve finalising legal work such as the setting up of trusts and distributing money and assets to beneficiaries.
What Is Involved In The Administration Of An Estate?
Applying for probate can be emotionally and physically exhausting, especially if you try to do it alone. Often, it is better to work with a professional executor to ensure an estate is administered correctly with minimal stress to yourself. If you're looking for an understanding and knowledgeable solicitor to assist with probate and the winding up of an estate, please do get in touch with us to discuss the services we offer, no obligation.
How Can Bowsers Help?
Image source: Gov.uk