The Personal representatives will have to deal with the following matters: -
- Establishing whether there is a Will or not, and if there is, whether they have been appointed as executors.
- Establishing the nature and value of the assets of the estate
- Establishing the debts of the estate
- The preparation of a summary of the assets and liabilities of the estate
- The calculation of any Inheritance Tax liability and preparation of the documents required by H M Revenue and Customs
- Payment of the Inheritance tax
- Attendance at the Probate Registry to swear the papers
- Receipt of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- Provision of proof of capacity to act (Probate or Letters of Administration) to organisations holding assets of the deceased and collect in the assets
- Sale of any property of the estate unless otherwise directed by the Will
- Payment of the debts of the estate
- Payment of any legacies.
- Handover of any bequests
- Distribution of the remaining estate or investment where the residue is placed in Trust.
We always advise our clients that first and foremost they should appoint as their executors and trustees those people they most trust to look after their affairs after they have died. Generally this would be close family or friends who have the willingness, time and intelligence to administer their estate. Sometimes however, the chosen person is otherwise too committed, too distressed, or too busy to serve. Sometimes the chosen person simply needs help or advice in obtaining probate and undertaking the task of administering and distributing the estate. In those circumstances, or where the estate is particularly complicated, it is necessary to have the Estate Administration done professionally. We have access to several providers of this service that we have hand-picked as being economical, efficient and providing a high-quality service to their clients. We effectively act as a broker - finding you the right service provider at the right price. So, if cost is the primary motivator, we will guarantee to beat any quote that you get for the same service! For some people speed is of the essence, in which case we will go with a company that we know to be the fastest and most efficient. Let us help you find the right comany for you and your situation.
It is worth noting that for married couples and civil partners, with tax changes in 2007, the Nil Rate Band Inheritance Tax allowances are transferable and available on second death to the estate of the survivor. It will be necessary however to provide the HM Revenue and Customs with proof that the nil rate band allowance had not been used in whole or in part at the time of first death, no matter how long ago that was. On first death therefore, it would be prudent to make a note of the amount of the nil rate band allowance used by the deceased and store the information with the Will of the surviving spouse.
Trust administration as opposed to Estate administration tends to be for a longer period of time. Put simply, on death, the executors’ duty is to gather in the assets of the estate, pay off any debts that the deceased may have had, pay funeral expenses and distribute the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will. Where a trust has been created in the Will, it may exist for a number of years (for example, where monies are held in trust until children reach their majority at age eighteen). It is usual, unless otherwise specified in the Will, for the executors to take on the duty of trustees. However, as already mentioned, this is generally a more long-term responsibility than Estate management which means that looking after the interests of the beneficiaries of the trust could involve property management, investment management as well as managing the taxation incurred by the trust.
In a similar way to Estate management we always advise our clients that first and foremost they should appoint as their trustees those people they most trust to look after their affairs after they have died. Generally this would be close family or friends who have the willingness, time and intelligence to administer the trusts created by the deceased person’s Will. The exception being where there is a specialist trust in the Will. For example, in a Business Trust, it would be advisable to appoint a person with the specialist skills to run the business. Sometimes the chosen person is otherwise too committed in the long term, too old, too distressed, or too busy to serve or perhaps simply needs help or advice in undertaking the task.
Contact us for more inforamtion about any of these services or our chosen providers.