They are called the ‘personal representatives’ or ‘Executors’. There can be several Executors but only four can apply for a Grant of Probate.
The Executor’s role is to locate all assets, pay tax and debts, and distribute any remaining money, possessions and property in accordance with the instructions in the Will. This can be time consuming and a stressful experience.
Small estates worth £5000 or less may not need probate or letters of administration but a grant of representation is almost always needed when the deceased’s estate includes property or land held in their own name or jointly with another person as ‘tenant in common’.
The Estate Administration Process
If you have been appointed as an Executor in a Will, or the next of kin if there is no Will, you may need to think about the points below to determine whether you should act or whether you should appoint a specialist legal firm to act on your behalf.
A demanding role
• Gathering all information
• Contacting all people due to inherit
• Answering all questions and queries
• Applying for the Grant of Probate
• Closing bank accounts and paying debts
• Ensuring the family tree information is correct
• Dealing with shares and investments
• Completing Inheritance Tax forms
• Completing Income Tax forms
• Dealing with Capital Gains Tax
• Dealing with specialist legal work
Consider these situations:• Estate attracts Inheritance Tax and forms needed
• Doubts over the validity of the Will
• No Will and the estate is valued over £270,000
• Handling claims against the estate
• Complicated Will clauses
• Insolvent estates
• Estates with foreign property
• Deceased domiciled outside UK for tax purposes
Inheritance Tax (IHT)
In most cases the total IHT liability (once calculated by the Executor(s) must be paid before a grant of representation is issued. If there are insufficient funds available to pay the liability, it may be necessary to take out a loan or arrange with banks to pay money directly to the HM Revenue & Customs.
Residence nil rate band (RNRB)
For example: If someone dies on or after 6 April 2017 and they owned their own home or share of one, their estate may be entitled to a higher threshold. This is the residence nil rate band (RNRB). The extra amount for 2021 to 2026 is up to £175,000.
To qualify, the person who died must have left their home, or a share of it, to their direct descendants.
A person does not have to leave the whole of the home to direct descendants. If they only inherit a share of the home, you calculate the available RNRB on the basis of the value of that share.
Time consuming and responsibility
If you choose to administer the estate yourself you can reduce costs but you must deal with a lot of paperwork and take on a lot of responsibility.
Liability for errors
If you don’t act correctly, you could become personally liable for any errors and be sued by one or more of the beneficiaries.
Do it yourself
They have a variety of solutions to support you. Estate administration is all they do and can take care of all the complicated matters. Their Tax and Legal team can give you advice on any situation. Whether or not there is a Will, their team of experts can take care of it all. They know how to handle intestacy, locate missing beneficiaries, deal with foreign shares and reseal a Grant of Probate.