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Probate & Estate Administration

Dealing with someone's affairs when they die can be complicated, confusing and lengthy.  This can be extremely distressing at an already emotional time. Whether you need some advice on what steps to take in dealing with the estate of a loved one, or if you are looking for someone to carry out the service on your behalf, we are here to help you.

The role of the Executor
Being named as an Executor of a Will brings with it complications and sometimes onerous duties when someone dies. It is important to get it right because the Executor is legally responsible for administering the estate. They are responsible for everything they do, or fail to do, in this regard. The precise duties fall into the following three areas:

Applying to, and attending at, court, to apply for Grant of Representation. If there is a Will, this is known as the Grant of Probate. If there isn't a Will, then this is known as Letters of Administration.

Identifying and dealing with any claims against the estate.

Completion and submission of Inheritance Tax returns and payment of any Inheritance Tax.

Completion of any necessary Income and Capital Gains Tax returns and payment of any outstanding tax.

Notification to, and correspondence with, all relevant organisations, in order to gather all assets and pay all debts and charges on the estate.

Searches for unclaimed or missing assets.

Preparation and distribution of estate accounts to interested parties.

Settlement of all debts and liabilities.

Correct distribution of the residue of the estate to the beneficiaries.

Q) What do I do if there is no Will?

If a person dies without a Will their estate will be distributed in accordance with the “Intestacy” Laws.  The deceased’s next of kin is entitled to apply for a Grant of Administration to allow them to deal with the administration of the estate.  An unmarried partner is NOT recognised as next of kin so cannot deal with the administration of the estate and is NOT entitled to automatically benefit from the estate either.

Q) What are the rules of intestacy?

The rules surrounding intestacy are complex and you should seek independent legal advice before dealing with an intestate estate.  Who gets what depends on your marital status at the date of death and whether you have any children.  In summary:
Unmarried – your partner is not entitled to inherit anything.
Married with no children – your spouse is entitled to inherit your entire estate.
Married with a child or children – your spouse gets the first £250,000.
The remainder of the estate will be shared as follows:

  • the husband, wife or civil partner gets an absolute interest in half of the remainder.
  • the other half is then divided equally between the surviving children.

How we can help
You can appoint Think Wills & Probate Limited to carry out the administration of the estate on your behalf. We can deal with all of the legal, tax and administrative processes for you, and provide you with the added reasurrance that these important matters will be dealt with professionally and efficiently, with a sympathetic and impartial approach.

For further information or to arrange an appointment, call Eleanor Betts on 0121 663 0975 or 07717 862705.

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