The passing of a loved one leaves behind a mountain of paperwork. Registering the death and arranging the funeral is only the start of the red tape.
The next job is to go through probate, which is the unlocking all the assets in the deceased’s estate and sharing them out among the beneficiaries.
This is generally a lengthy and often difficult process, at what is an emotional time.
The executor, or personal representative, is the person responsible for sorting out probate. They are typically a beneficiary of the will, such as a husband, wife, or child and an estate can have more than one executor.
The job of executor is very responsible and onerous. If somebody asks you to look after their affairs, you need to understand your responsibilities before accepting.
You need to gather details of all the person’s assets, such as property, savings accounts and shares, and all their liabilities, such as mortgages and other debts to work out how much the estate is worth.
You also have to examine all the gifts worth more than £3,000 the person made in the seven years before they died, and any other transfers such as putting money into a trust, because they may be subject inheritance tax, which is due on any estate worth more than £325,000, except when it is left to a spouse or civil partner.
Even if no tax is due you will also need to complete a range of HMRC Inheritance tax forms and submit it to your nearest probate registry along with a copy of the will if there is one.
Once the courts have issued a grant of probate you can gather all the assets, sell the property, pay an inheritance tax and distribute what is left.
It takes at least six months to administer the typical estate, depending on what assets the deceased held and how quickly a buyer is found for any property.
Executors have a duty to administer the estate quickly and fairly, and to be responsible for their actions.
Worryingly, they are financially liable for any errors and have to put right that loss from their own pocket.
There can be huge personal risks if things aren’t done right and things can turn sour.
If you and the other executors decide you need professional help to administer the estate, always use an SRA regulated solicitor skilled at probate should be used. The Law Society in 2014 introduced a Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) accreditation. WIQS is the benchmark of receiving high quality standard for wills, probate and estate administration practices, by requesting that firms adhere to the scheme Protocol. It is a symbol of best practice quality mark for probate and estate administration advice that consumers can trust.
Pindoria Solicitors is WIQS accredited which demonstrates that our probate solicitor follow best practice procedures to meet the highest standards of technical expertise and client service in providing tailored Probate advice to our clients.
Avoid using an unregulated provider as you have little or no protection against negligence or fraud.
We urge you do not rush or cut corners into probate. The death of a loved one can come as a shock, so waiting a few weeks before making any major decisions is advisable after speaking to a properly qualified and experienced probate lawyer.
We hope you have found this information informative. Please bear in mind if you are looking for a reliable and regulated probate solicitor who is accredited with WIQS by the Law Society our London probate specialises are just a phone call away. Please feel free to contact the probate lawyers at Pindoria Solicitors if you have any questions on probate and estate administration.