Probate and estate administration
When someone dies it is necessary for their assets (known as their estate) to be dealt with. This is known as the ‘estate administration’.This can be a daunting exercise for family members, particularly when dealing with the loss of a loved one.
A person’s estate is made up of a variety of assets, such as: property, money, personal belongings, and businesses. All need to be accounted for on death and dealt with appropriately. The way that these assets are dealt with will be different on every person’s death. This largely depends on whether the person leaves a Will (dies testate) or without a Will (intestate). If the person left a Will, then the Will will name an Executor(s). This will be the person or persons responsible for handling the estate administration. They will need to apply to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate in order to realise the estate.
Without a Will, the estate will pass to individuals under the rules of intestacy. In this case, the responsible person to deal with the estate would be a member of the person’s family, dictated by the order of priority in the rules of intestacy. That person is called the Administrator (as opposed to the Executor) and would need to apply to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Letters of Administration in order to deal with the estate.
Dealing with an estate with no Will (or no valid Will) can be complex, costly and time-consuming. It is therefore extremely important to have a Will in place and to review it regularly to ensure that matters are up to date. Without a Will, the person has no control over who the Administrator is or who inherits their estate.
If, on the other hand, the estate is a small estate, typically less than £5,000 (although this does depend on the assets being dealt with) a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is not always required. Nonetheless, a responsible family member or professional would need to investigate the estate to know if this is the case.
Once the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration has been obtained the Executor/Administrator would then have the responsibility of dealing with the assets in the estate, i.e. sell/transfer property, close bank accounts, pay debts, pay inheritance tax (if any) before then distributing assets in accordance with the Will or the rules of intestacy.
At Leeds Day we are dedicated to offering clients a simple, clear and effective service. We guide Executors and Administrators through the difficult months after bereavement and give specialist advice with a view to protecting family wealth. We offer a personal, friendly and sympathetic approach to assist in dealing with estate administration. If you need any advice in relation to a will, estate planning or bereavement matters then contact Leeds Day on 0844 567 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org