Dealing With a Deceased's Estate - Disbursement Funding by dfsiopmhy6


									Dealing with a Deceased’s Estate
When a person dies someone has to arrange the funeral and deal with their estate (money, property
and possessions owned by the deceased).

The first step is to check whether the deceased left a Will.

The Will may contain directions regarding the funeral. It will certainly contain a clause appointing
personal representatives (called Executors) to deal with the estate and distribute it in accordance with
the Will and any Codicils (supplementary provisions contained in a separate document). If the Will does
not appoint a Solicitor as Executor, or direct that a Solicitor deal with the estate, then the Executors are
free to administer the estate themselves complying with legal procedures.

If the deceased did not leave a Will then the estate has to be distributed according to the rules of

As Solicitors we can give advice on the legal procedures to be followed whether or not there is a Will
and on other issues such as:

• Entitlement under the rules of intestacy;
• Possible claims against an estate under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  by someone who may not have been reasonably treated by the Will or the rules of intestacy;
• Inheritance Tax.

We also offer a full service in dealing with the administration of the estate on behalf of the personal
representatives. The fee we charge for this service is based mainly on the time spent and details are
available from this office.

If, as an Executor or a person entitled to apply under the rules of intestacy, you wish to deal with the
deceased’s estate yourself the following notes are intended as a basic guide only. You must be quite
clear about the legal formalities and if at any stage you need advice or help please come back to us.

Contact any member of our Wills & Probate team:

Applying for a Grant of Representation

In order to obtain the authority to deal with someone’s estate, whether or not they left a Will, the
personal representatives usually need to obtain a Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry.

Organisations holding money in the deceased’s name will need to see a copy of the Grant before they
will pass any money or assets to the Personal Representatives.

A Grant may not be needed if:

• The estate is small. In this case organisations holding the deceased’s money may be willing to
  release it to the Personal Representatives without a Grant. They may want you to complete a
  Statutory Declaration and a charge of £5 per document is standard. Once you have contacted all the
  organisations involved it may in fact be cheaper and easier to apply for a Grant.
• If the whole of the estate is in joint names and passes automatically to the surviving joint owner.

N.B.    A grant will always be required to sell or transfer a property held in the deceased’s sole name.

If you are in doubt as to whether or not a Grant may be needed please ask our advice; we could save
you time and money.
There are four stages to apply for a Grant:

1. Obtaining the forms from your nearest Probate Registry or online at These
   are the Probate Application Form (PA1) and the Inland Revenue Account of the Estate (IHT205 or
2. Completing and returning the forms with the appropriate documentation and fee to the Probate
   Registry and the Inland Revenue as instructed.
3. Attending an interview at the Probate Registry. The purpose of the interview is to confirm your
   identity and to sign a form of Oath and swear or affirm before the interviewing officer that the
   information you have given is true to the best of your knowledge.
4. The Grant (plus official copies) will be sent out in the post. You can then send out the copies to
   collect in the assets. Note that only official (sealed) copies will be accepted and you must be careful
   to order an adequate number of copies when you pay your fee on submitting the application.
    Note: the whole process takes time and it is important not to advertise any property for sale too soon
    after the owner’s death as you will not be able to complete the sale until you have the Grant.
Once the Grant is obtained
The personal representatives named in the Grant must collect in all the assets, complete an income tax
return and pay any debts. A separate bank or building society account should be opened at the start of
the administration for this purpose.
If the personal representative is not also the main beneficiary of the estate it may be advisable to
formally advertise for creditors, in case a debt arises after the assets have been distributed. This is done
by placing an advertisement in the London Gazette and a newspaper covering the area in which the
deceased last resided. Doing this protects the personal representative from individual responsibility.
As personal representative you are allowed to claim from the estate for “out of pocket” expenses, copies
of the Grant, travel etc but not for time taken or for the work involved in administering the estate. Only
a Solicitor appointed by the personal representatives or other professionals appointed by the Will may
charge for the work done in administering an estate if authorised by the Will.
Once all taxes and debts have been paid the estate can be distributed either according to the terms of
the Will or the rules of intestacy.
You should obtain a signed receipt from each beneficiary when they receive their legacy. You must
prepare an estate account showing all the assets received and debts and legacies paid out. This must be
approved and signed by the personal representative and the main beneficiaries and then the residue
(remainder) of the estate may be distributed.
We trust that these notes will be of assistance to you but they must only be read in
conjunction with specific legal advice as to the particular circumstances. They are not
intended to be a full and precise exposition of the law.
Do not hesitate to seek our further advice on any aspect of the legal process. Remember
that if you inherit from the estate this will increase the size of your estate on death and you
may need to review the suitability of your own Will and again a member of our Wills &
Probate Team can advise you about this.

Joanna Storey                                     Tracey Garner and    David Hitchcock      David Heath
                                                  Lyn Townsend

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