Wills, Probate and the Estate
When a person dies, someone must deal with their money, property and possessions (their Estate). The deceased person’s taxes and debts need to be paid, and their money and property must be distributed to the people entitled to it.
What is the role of the Executor?
If the deceased person left a Will, the person who deals with the Estate is called the Executor. Depending on the nature and value of the assets, the Executor applies for a ‘Grant of Probate’ from a section of the court known as the probate registry. The Grant of Probate is a legal document which confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person’s Estate. They can use it to show they have the right to access funds, sort out finances, and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out in the Will.
What do I do when there is no Executor appointed?
An Administrator must usually be appointed by the court before they can deal with the deceased person’s Estate. If there is no Will, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’. If the Grant is given, they are known as ‘administrators’ of the estate. Like the Grant of Probate, the Grant of Letters of Administration is a legal document which confirms the administrator’s authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets.
In some cases, for example, where the person who benefits is a child, the law states that more than one person must act as the administrator.
So how do I carry out my duties as an Executor or Administrator?
In some cases the administration of an estate can be relatively straightforward and you may not even need a Grant, but equally it can become complex, and in those circumstances you may find it helpful to seek specialist advice.
For that reason, we are happy to work in conjunction with Glanvilles Damant Legal Services in Newport, who are experts in the administration of estates, whether the deceased has died leaving a Will or not.
Every person, and therefore every estate, is unique and so the solicitors at Glanvilles Damant pride themselves in offering a bespoke service. Some clients instruct them to deal with the administration in its entirety, while others prefer to deal with certain aspects themselves so that the administration becomes more of a team effort. Many clients prefer to hand over the administration of the estate to solicitors to alleviate the worry. In particular, for estates where there is Inheritance Tax to pay, or the family dynamics are complicated, Glanvilles Damant regularly deal with an estate in its entirety to ensure that Executors or administrators comply with their legal obligations and to minimise the emotional impact of the process.
If you prefer, Glanvilles Damant can just prepare the legal paperwork needed to apply for the Grant and this is usually done on a fixed fee basis.
To help you decide what legal support, if any, you need, Glanvilles Damant offer an initial free no obligation consultation. Please contact us to book an appointment via our website www.gdlegalservices.co.uk or call us on 01983 527878.