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Probate

Estate Administration

Security for your future generations

It's not easy to think about a time when you won't be able to make your own decisions, but it can help to be prepared.

When someone close to you dies, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the tasks to be considered and the unfamiliar language associated with them. Firstly, it is important to understand the basics so this blog post aims to answer some of the most common questions associated with handling an individual’s estate after they have died including ‘what is probate?’, ‘what is estate administration’ and ‘what is the difference between probate and estate administration?’.

You may be aware of ‘probate’ but you have probably not heard of the term estate administration. They’re both related to dealing with the deceased’s estate but they have different definitions and people often get the two confused.

What is probate?

Probate may be required when someone passes away. It refers to the ‘grant of probate’, officially known as the ‘grant of representation’ in England and Wales and ‘confirmation’ in Scotland. Probate is required by law if the estate is worth more than £5,000 in value, if the deceased owned any property or if a financial institution (e.g. a bank or building society) needs to see the ‘grant of representation’ in order to release the funds. Probate will not be needed if the assets were held jointly as they will automatically pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner.

Applying for probate involves:

Completing the application via a PA1 form in England or a C1 form in Scotland. Submitting the application by sending all of the details, including the death certificate, to the probate registry. Once the probate registry has received the application, you’ll be required to swear an oath which is a promise that the information you have given is true to the best of your knowledge. You’ll need to do this in person at a local probate office or at the office of a commissioner for oaths. Probate is often mistaken for all of the tasks to be completed following a bereavement but it actually just refers to obtaining the grant to enable you to carry out these tasks.

What is estate administration?

To put it simply, estate administration is the process of handling a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died. This means dealing with all of their assets (e.g. property, personal possessions, shares and bank accounts), paying any Inheritance Tax and Income Tax and distributing inheritance to the estate’s beneficiaries. Estate administration can often be extremely complex, time-consuming and an added stress at an already difficult time for the Executor or Administrator.

Obtaining the grant of probate is usually a part of estate administration but it is so much more and could involve:

Applying for probate of confirmation Completing all Inheritance Tax forms Income Tax work for the year of death Postal redirection Registering unregistered properties Valuing assets Property valuation and sale Cancelling or transferring utilities Arranging for a pet to be re-homes Distributing funds to beneficiaries And much more The Executor or Administrator does not have to take full responsibility, they can choose to appoint a professional to handle the estate on their behalf.

Estate

Estate Administration Explained

So what is the difference between probate and estate administration? To conveniently sum up the difference between probate and estate administration; probate is just one part of the wider estate administration process. Probate provides you with the legal right to carry out the estate administration, including dealing with property, money and personal possessions.

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Estate Administration FAQs

What is a Trust?

A arrangement whereby people (Trustees) hold assets under the detailed terms that are set out in the Trust document. Trusts can be complicated to administer and it is always advisable to ask for professional assistance.

Can I remove a person who is an executor?

If the Testator is still alive then they may change their Will with a Codicil or write a new Will naming a different Executor. If the Testator has already died then an Executor can only be removed with their agreement or by the Courts. If you have a dispute with an Executor or you wish to arrange for a Codicil for a Will then we can provide a quote.

Can I remove a bank or solicitor who is an executor?

If the Testator is still alive then they may change their Will with a Codicil or write a new Will naming a different Executor. If the Testator has already died then an Executor can only be removed with their agreement or by the Courts. Some solicitors will Renounce their appointment if other Executors and the Beneficiaries agree. Final Duties have experience of dealing with this type of case, if you call us we can take some details and tell you how complex this might be, how long it might take to administer the estate and what Final Duties would charge to deal with the estate administration for you.

I was given a gift a few years ago over £3000 can you tell me how it will that affect me and the estate?

It won’t affect you, but the estate may have to pay Inheritance Tax if the person who made the gift died within 7 years of making it. If you call we can ask you a few more questions and be able to give you a more comprehensive answer, it will take about 10 minutes to complete an Estate Fact Find and we can then tell you if the gift will have an impact of the estate, how complex the estate is and how long it will take to administer. I will also be able to advise on whether professional help will be needed and how much Final Duties will charge to provide the appropriate service.

There is a trust in the will, Will it complicate things?

The existence of a Trust in a Will often does cause complexity. Depending upon the terms of the Trust, many of our clients decide to use our services to help deal with the complexities.

Will I need to go to court?

The Probate Registry is a division of the High Court, in order for a grant to be issued the executor or executors of the estate must swear an Oath confirming that the information they have provided is correct. If you deal with Probate yourself you will either have to arrange an appointment at the court in which you swear the oath or arrange an appointment with a Commissioner of Oaths (usually a local solicitors office). If you attend an appointment at the court it is likely you will receive the grant on the same day whereas when using a Commissioner of Oaths you will have to wait a few days for the court to send you the Grant of probate after they have received your Sworn Oath.

Does the Executor named in the Will have to act?

Yes, unless he/s she decides not to. If they do choose to act then you have no choice but to accept them unless you wish to take a case to court.

Can I do Probate it myself?

Yes but in many situations, it is advisable to take professional advice as Executors are legally responsible for the correct distribution of the estate and the payment of Inheritance Tax.

The estate is insolvent – what does that mean?

An insolvent estate is defined as an estate which contains less by way of value in assets than it does by way of liabilities. i.e. the Deceased owed more money than he had in property, bank accounts etc. an Insolvent estate can be very complicated and the debts must be paid in a strict order, an Executor that does not follow the order may become personally responsible for paying the debts themselves.

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All information you provide us with will be stored securely and processed in accordance with our privacy policy. Any personal data you submit to us on this form will be submitted to our sales team who will handle your request.