A Guide to Administering an Estate
When a person passes away and has left a Will, they have usually appointed an Executor in the Will to oversee the distribution of their assets and make sure that the conditions of the Will are met.
In some instances a person will appoint a Solicitor as their Executor, in other cases the role will fall to a loved one.
The Executor of a Will is responsible for the following tasks:
- collecting all of the assets and having them valued if need be;
- finding out what debts are owed and paying them off from the assets of the Estate;
- passing on any assets to beneficiaries according to the Will-maker's wishes;
- arranging tax returns;
- claiming life insurance;
- arranging the funeral;
- applying for a Grant of Probate;
- distributing the estate according to the Will;
- taking or defending legal action on behalf of the estate if a dispute arises.
If a Will-maker doesn't appoint an Executor, the major beneficiary will usually be appointed to administer the estate. If you have been appointed the Executor of a Will, or you are required to administer a Will, Lamrocks' experienced Wills and Estates team can help you through the process and alleviate any stress. We can help you with all of the practical aspects of estate administration mentioned above and ensure you comply with any legal requirements.
A Grant of Probate is a Court Order giving the Executor permission to carry out what a Will says. Not every Will needs a Grant of Probate but it is usually required if there are real estate, large sums of money, or other valuable assets involved.
It is usually the Executor of a Will who has to apply for the Grant of Probate, or they can employ a solicitor to do it for them. If there is no valid Will in place, then an application must be made to the Supreme Court for 'letters of administration' rather than a Grant of Probate. Lamrocks Solicitors can work with you to determine probate requirements and guide you through this process.
In some instances, family members may feel that they have not received proper provision from a Will. Sometimes there are disputes with beneficiaries and sometimes even disputes between executors appointed by a Will. At Lamrocks Solicitors, we can help to resolve these disputes and provide advice as to whether a claim against the estate is viable.
It is important to note that there are strict conditions concerning who can make a claim against a Will and expert legal advice is strongly advised. If you think you are eligible to make a claim, or if you are an Executor defending a claim against the estate by another person, speak to our Accredited Specialist in Wills and Estate law for accurate, professional advice.
Estate Administration: The Process
Note: This is a simplified version of the events that need to take place. The average estate takes approximately 6-12 weeks to finalise and there are many steps along the way. Some estates can take up to 10-12 months to complete. Lamrocks can guide you through the process and ensure that all of the correct procedures are followed.