WHEN SOMEONE DIES, DEALING WITH THEIR AFFAIRS CAN BE COMPLICATED AND CONFUSING AT WHAT IS EMOTIONALLY A VERY DIFFICULT TIME.
Only in very limited circumstances (usually a low-value estate) can the estate of someone who dies be administered without a document issued by the court. To deal with their assets, money, property or other types of investment, a document is required to show that a person has the legal authority to deal with the deceased's estate. This document is called a Grant and is issued by a part of the court system, The Probate Registry. If a person dies leaving a will, in most cases, it will be necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate. When there is no will, the document is called a Grant of Letters of Administration.
WHAT IS A GRANT OF PROBATE/LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION?
This is a legal document which authorises one or more persons to deal with the property, other assets and liabilities of someone who has died. (Administration of the estate)
WHO TAKES OUT A GRANT OF PROBATE?
If there is a Will, the people named in the Will as Executors apply for a Grant of Probate.
If there is no Will, relatives of the deceased apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, which is the equivalent of a Grant of Probate.
It is only when a Grant of Probate/Grant of Letters of Administration has been obtained that the executors/relatives can close accounts, deal with investments and sell property; in other words, administer the deceased's estate.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
Set out below is a list of some of the matters that need to be dealt with following a death:
- The funeral must be arranged. (In most cases, the family take care of the funeral arrangements)
- Banks, building societies, insurance companies, government departments and creditors are to be notified
- A document must be prepared setting out the value of the deceased's estate and made available to the government
- If Inheritance Tax is due, this will usually have to be paid before the estate can be administered and before the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration are issued
- Except for low-value estates, a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration will be required. (If an estate has a value of less than £5,000.00 or if all assets are held jointly and therefore pass by survivorship, for example, to a surviving spouse, a Grant will not be required. Some financial institutions allow for payment out of sums up to £50,000)
- Property and shares will need to be valued and sold or transferred to beneficiaries
- Debts cleared
- Money paid to and assets transferred to those entitled
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR AN ESTATE TO BE ADMINISTERED?
Time scales vary according to the value, assets and general complexity of the estate. We always aim to progress the administration of estates in a timely fashion.
We can assist by making an application for a Grant of Probate/a Grant of Letters of Administration. We can also deal with the administration of an estate and aim to provide a sympathetic and personal service to suit individual needs.
We are more than happy to see you for a free preliminary consultation. If you would like to make an appointment to consult a solicitor about a deceased's estate, please do not hesitate to telephone to arrange a free no, obligation discussion at one of our offices.
TMJ Legal Services
TMJ Legal Services has been helping individuals and businesses since 1986. We offer a range of advice and services.