If you have been appointed as the Executor of a Will or if you are an Administrator and need to administer the estate of a loved one who did not leave a Will, then dealing with issues and administrative duties can be stressful, intimidating and time consuming at what is an already a difficult time.
Our team at Seatons can help support you to deal with all the practical and legal issues and administrative duties that arise when dealing with their estate.
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Administrative Duties – What Is A Personal Representative?
A personal representative is a generic and umbrella term for someone who is dealing with the administration of a loved one’s estate.
If the deceased left a will then the personal representative will be called an executor.
If the deceased did not leave a will then the personal representative will be called an Administrator.
An Executor and Administrator will have the same administrative duties to administer an estate which involves identifying assets and liabilities, obtaining a grant of representation (probate if there is a will of letters of administration if there is no will), collecting assets, paying liabilities and debt and then distributing to the beneficiaries of the estate.
It may be helpful to obtain legal advice, as the administrative duties need to be dealt with and completed properly otherwise a personal representative might face a complaint or even a claim for failing to complete their administrative duties properly.
What Are The Administrative Duties?
The administrative duties can be summarised as follows:
- Initial steps following death
- Identifying assets and liabilities
- Obtaining probate and paying inheritance tax
- Collecting in assets and paying debts
- Distributing the estate
1. Initial steps following death
The death needs to be registered as soon as possible and a death certificate issued.
When registering the death the “Tell us Once” government service can be notified of the death which will allows the death to be reported to a variety of different government organisations (such as HMRC, DWP, passport office, DVLA and the local council) without having to contact each one separately.
A search needs to be made to see if the deceased made a will.
The funeral will also need to be organised. It will also need to be checked to whether there are any directions in how the person wanted the funeral to be carried out.
Please do take some time to grieve and be with your family.
2. Identifying assets and liabilities
A search will need to be made of the deceased’s papers to ascertain the extent of any assets and liabilities. Enquires will need to be made with various organisations such as banks, building societies, national savings, insurance companies, pensions, stocks and shares etc to ascertain date of death valuations of these assets. It will also be necessary to identify the extent of any debts, loans and other liabilities.
3. Obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration and paying inheritance tax
While acting as executor or administrator, depending on the value of the deceased’s estate, then it may be necessary to make an application to the court in order to obtain the grant of representation which will give legal authority to the executor or administrator to carry out the administration duties which include collecting and cashing in the deceased’s assets.
Whether there is a will or not will depend on which type of grant you will need. If there is a will and there is an executor, then a grant of probate may be needed.
If there is an estate where the deceased did not make a will, then a grant of letters of administration may be needed. Only certain persons may apply for a grant of letters of administration.
To apply for a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration then a probate application form and inheritance tax form need to be completed and then submitted to the court along with the court fee (and any inheritance tax payable)
We can apply for a grant of representation for you quickly and easily and at a low cost. For a simple grant of representation then our costs are usually from £500 + vat + court fee totalling usually around £750.
4. Collecting assets and paying off debts
Once a grant has been obtained then it should be possible to arrange for the deceased’s assets to be released and paid over to the executor or administrator.
It is possible to carry out a search for any unclaimed or missing assets and make sure that they are all identified so that you have a value of the deceased estate.
The executor or administrator also has a responsibility to pay off the funeral and all debts and liabilities which the deceased had before the estate can be distributed. the estate.
It might be worth placing a statutory notice for creditors in the gazette and local newspaper to identify all potential creditors, and to protect and executor or administrator from being held personally responsible for any potential claims from creditors against the estate.
You will need to gather all financial information and documentation as this will help you to recognise all debts and assets which they may have and any outstanding taxes which they need to pay for example income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax will need calculating and paid to read more on inheritance tax please click here.
Throughout the estate administration it is important to keep records of funds with anything paid in and paid out from the deceased estate. This should be kept for any of the beneficiaries so that they are able see the estate account and how their share is calculated. If you need help with any of this, please do not hesitate to contact us.
5. Distributing the estate to beneficiaries
The estate must be distributed in accordance with any will the deceased made. If there is no will then the estate must be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.
Before distributing the estate, it is also worth assessing if there are any potentially valid claims against the estate under the Inheritance Act (Provision for Family and Dependents) 1975. Usually claimants have up to 6 months from the issue of the grant of representation to make a claim. If there is a risk of a claim it is sometimes wise not to distribute the estate until the time period has elapsed.