What is involved in administering an Estate?
Firstly, all information must be collected about the assets and liabilities of the deceased. This can mean going through all the paperwork held by the person who has died that relates to their personal affairs. The administrator would then also need to contact the relevant banks, building societies, insurance companies, etc and obtain proper valuations of the other assets, such as amounts held in bank accounts, stocks, shares and the deceased’s home and other property. The liabilities of the Estate also need to be fully accounted for in order to prepare the documents described below.
In order to apply for probate, or letters of administration, a statutory tax returnshowing the valuation of the estate, allowable deductions and reliefs and, if that value exceeds £325,000, calculating the amount of inheritance tax due, must be completed. An application to the probate registry must then be made and any issues raised by the probate registry or HM Revenue and Customs addressed.
Finally, it is the responsibility of the administrator to collect in the assets, pay the debts of the person who has died and distribute the remaining estate to the appropriate beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the will or the statutory order of distribution if there is no will. The final accounts of the estate will then need to be produced for the beneficiaries and a final tax return for the deceased completed.
Therefore, the probate process can be complex and time consuming. As an executor or next of kin who applies for a grant you are also personally liable for any mistakes or incorrect distributions.