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Estate Administration FAQ's

What is an estate?         

All the money, property and other assets owned by a person on their death.

How is an estate valued?          

The estate is valued by obtaining date of death valuations of assets of the deceased held from by various asset holders, such as the value of property, the value of any money in bank accounts including interest, and the value of any stocks and shares, etc. From this any liabilities of the deceased can be deducted such as the funeral bill, testamentary expenses, and bills or other debts outstanding at the date of death. This then gives the net worth of the deceased as at the date of death.

Do I have to pay inheritance tax?

Whether Inheritance Tax needs to be paid can depend on:

At present, each person has a tax free “nil rate band” of £325,000. Everything within this is taxed at 0%. In addition to this, depending on the size of an estate, there may also be a “residential nil rate band” available, currently £125,000. This may be available if residential property is left to direct descendants of the deceased. In certain circumstances, a surviving spouse on their death may be able to claim the nil rate bands of their deceased husband or wife.

When do I pay inheritance tax?  

Inheritance tax (IHT) is payable before the grant of probate/representation can be obtained. If the IHT which is due is paid in full (within 6 months of the month within which the deceased died) there will not be any interest payable to HMRC. If it is not paid within this time frame then interest will accrue on the amount of IHT due and outstanding, currently set at 3%. You can elect to pay the IHT due on property (houses, buildings and land) on a 10 year instalment option basis. The 1st instalment is due immediately and as set out above.

What is a grant of probate?        

If the deceased has a will, the executor or administrator will apply for a grant of probate. The grant is a legal document which confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets (property, money and belongings).

If the deceased died leaving no will (or a will which does not name executors, or the executors named are unable to act) the laws of intestacy will determine who can apply to the court (the “administrators”) and the court will issue a grant of letters of administration. The phrase “grant of probate” is often used even if the deceased did not leave a will as a general term.

What is probate?           

The term “probate” is used to describe the process of administering the estate of the deceased and dealing with their affairs, from death to obtaining the grant of probate to distribution of the estate to those entitled under the will or laws of intestacy (the “beneficiaries”). The process also includes dealing with any inheritance tax, or income tax due by the deceased,

What are the laws of intestacy?  

These are the laws which govern what happens to the estate of the deceased when they do not leave a will, including who can apply to the court for the grant, and who is entitled to the estate.

Do I need a grant of probate?    

Usually, a grant of probate will be needed when the deceased left:

How long does probate take?     

Dealing with the affairs of someone who has died can take a long time. It is not unusual for it to take up to a year, perhaps longer if things are not straightforward.  Many organisations may be involved in the process, for example, banks, building societies, insurance companies and H M Revenue and Customs.

The estate cannot be fully dealt with until all claims on it have been received. Individuals have six months from the date when probate was granted to make claims against the estate.

Other things that may affect the time taken are:

Arguments between family members, beneficiaries or personal representatives can also delay matters.  Any disagreements must be sorted out before the affairs of the person who died can be settled.

Estate Administration Team

Suzanne Porter
Director

Breda Cashell
Director

Rachel Baseley
Associate

Jessica Rowbotham
Solicitor

Shaun Talbot
Chartered Legal Executive

Victoria Cook
Paralegal

Our Clients Say

Please click on any of the links below to see our client’s testimonials.

Mike Hirst - Swann-Morton
Brian Middleton
David and Elizabeth Marsden
Joanne and Michael Duffin
Michael Moore
Mrs C C

"Suzanne Porter and Rachel Baseley have advised many of our employees on such delicate matters either at Wake Smith’s offices, Swann-Morton’s premises or in individuals’ homes, and have always been compassionate, understanding and patient in gaining an understanding of their requirements and wishes whilst delivering a solution in a professional manner. Their reaction has been very timely when required, which has helped to reassure the individuals and their families. We look forward to a continuing long-term and professional relationship not only with the Wills and Probate team but with Wake Smith as a whole."

Mike Hirst - Swann-Morton

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