What to do when someone dies
There are many things to arrange when a loved one dies and it can be hard to make important arrangements and decisions at a time when you may be feeling shocked and confused.
As well as dealing with the legal aspects we can also help with practical matters such as clearing a property of personal and household effects and dealing with the insurance and utility suppliers.
A Personal Representative is the person who deals with the administration of the estate. Who this person is depends on the situation and several factors which we can provide advice on.
Grants of Representation
Unless the estate is very small and has no freehold or leasehold property (such as a house or flat) the Personal Representatives will have to obtain a Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry proving their entitlement to deal with the estate. We will be able to tell you if a Grant is needed, and can handle all the necessary paperwork for you if you wish.
If the deceased left a Will, then an application is made to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate; if the deceased did not make a Will and therefore died “intestate”, the Personal Representatives have to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
If a Will was left, this will explain who is to inherit the estate. If there was no Will, the law sets out who is entitled to inherit, and we will be able to tell you which members of the family are entitled to the estate and in what proportions.
Administration of the estate and Inheritance Tax (IHT)
The first stage of our work is to prepare the papers to apply for the Grant. Before applying for the Grant, we will have to provide a detailed valuation of all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities at the date of death.
We can advise you in relation to the IHT aspects of the estate. If there is likely to be an amount of IHT to pay, we can prepare the relevant forms to be submitted to HM Revenue & Customs before applying for the Grant.
Once the Grant has been obtained, we will register the Grant with banks, building societies and other institutions holding the deceased’s assets.
Some items may need to be sold and we will discuss this with you. Larger and more valuable items may have to be professionally valued for IHT purposes, and fees for this and other work for the estate will be paid from money in the estate.
The final stages of our work involve obtaining confirmation from HM Revenue & Customs that the deceased’s Income Tax position and, if appropriate, IHT position, has been finalised. We will then pay out the remaining entitlements to the beneficiaries and complete a set of Estate Accounts covering the administration period for your formal approval.
If appropriate, we may also be involved in setting up any trusts which arise under the Will or on the intestacy. If appropriate we can refer beneficiaries to independent financial advisers to discuss whether and how they would like to invest their inheritance. We can also advise beneficiaries on IHT issues.
Please see further information on our team of Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts solicitors and our full range of services.