Probate and Estate Administration
We recognise that dealing with the estate of a loved one can be a daunting prospect, we are here to advise and assist.
Whether the deceased left a Will or not it will be necessary to apply for a Grant to access bank accounts, sell investments and property, before the estate can be distributed to beneficiaries. It may also be necessary to pay inheritance tax if the estate is above the tax thresholds, there may also be income tax and capital gains tax to pay. The person administering the estate will become personally liable for any tax due.
What is Probate/Grant of administration?
Probate/administration are the terms for the process required to obtain the Grant to be able to deal with a deceased’s person’s estate and access estate assets. The procedure is the same whether there is a Will or not but the terminology will be different.
Executor or Administrator?
If the deceased person left a Will, those named as Executors will be entitled to obtain the Grant of Probate. It is not obligatory, if you are named as an Executor but do not wish to act, there are options available to you.
In the absence of a Will (intestacy) there is a strict order as to who is entitled to deal with the estate. The order is governed by those entitled under the intestacy rules, who will be an Administrator and will be entitled to a Grant of Administration. it is highly recommended that advice is sought to ensure the correct person or people apply for the Grant and that the estate is distributed correctly.
If there is a Will, but is does not contain a valid executor appointment, then the beneficiaries of the estate are entitled to apply for a Grant of Administration.
This will be payable if the net estate, i.e. all the deceased assets less debts and funeral expenses, are above £325,000, unless there are exemptions or reliefs that can be claimed or if the estate passes to exempt beneficiaries. Exemptions and reliefs must be claimed and it is therefore important that advice is sought if you believe there is
Inheritance Tax to pay.
Capital Gains Tax
If assets are sold at a higher value that the date of death value, this could give rise to a capital gains tax liability. There are special tax rates for estates, however it is possible to minimise this liability by appropriating assets to beneficiaries prior to sale. Professional advice should be sought before taking this step as you could inadvertently pass the tax liability to the beneficiary.
Since income from banks and building societies are now received gross, more and more estates are finding that they have an income tax liability to report to HMRC. This must be done it the tax liability is above £100.
Beneficiaries and Distributions
Beneficiaries will want to ensure that they are receiving their correct entitlement and will be entitled to see estate accounts setting out exactly how their entitlement has been calculated. You will also need to ensure that you can pay the legacies to them by checking that they are not bankrupt, failure to do so could make you personally liable to the trustee in bankruptcy for the funds that have been paid to the beneficiary.
Why use Rose & Rose Solicitors?
We have an experienced team that can deal with the most complex of estates. We can tailor our services to suit your needs depending on the complexities of the estate. We specialise in all areas of taxation and so can ensure that the estate is administered in the most tax efficient way possible.
We can prepare comprehensive and detailed Estate Accounts.
We can handle all aspects of the administration on your behalf or just assist in obtaining the Grant of Probate.
We can advise on the validity of the Will or how the estate should be distributed if there is no Will.
We can also assist with post-death inheritance planning or asset re-direction through Deeds of Variation, as well as administer any trusts that may be set up in the Will or under the intestacy provisions.
Sally-Ann Joseph is a full accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.
We can provide you with a fixed fee for this service so you will know exactly what costs you will need to pay.
For further information, please contact one of our team on 0208 974 7490 or firstname.lastname@example.org