The administration of an Estate following the death of a relative or close friend can be a painful and daunting task.
At Lawson Lewis Blakers we have a team of sympathetic and expert lawyers to assist you. We have invested considerable effort in our work systems to ensure that matters are dealt with swiftly and efficiently.
We are always pleased to provide an estimate of our charges – which are based upon time spent working on each case and not as with many solicitors upon a percentage value of the estate.
The process is generally known as administration of an estate.
If the deceased died leaving a Will the application for a Grant of Probate is made and if there is no Will the process is carried out on the basis of “intestacy”.
Administration falls into the following main stages:-
Generally speaking the following preliminary steps are taken:-
- Identify whether there is a valid Will in existence
- If so whether it contains any requests in relation to the funeral
- Register the death – normally this must be done within 7 days and funeral arrangements may not be finalised until this has been done.
- Collect together the deceased’s papers and establish details of the assets/liabilities and income of the deceased
We will communicate with asset holders (such as banks) and verify the financial position. At this time the deceased’s assets (save for joint accounts which pass automatically to the surviving holder) are frozen.
We will write to any beneficiaries named in the Will or if there is no Will make enquiries as to the order of relatives entitled to benefit from the estate under the Intestacy Rules. The “Will Reading” legendary of crime thrillers is largely a myth!
The Executor’s legal authority derives from the Will and an Order of the Court known as a “Grant of Probate”.
Where there is no Will, the Administrator’s authority derives from an Order of the Court known as a “Grant of Letters of Administration”.
Asset holders will (save in the case of very small Estates) decline to distribute assets without having sight of the Grant.
In order to apply for a Grant the Executor/Administrator must swear an Oath (exhibiting the original Will and any Codicil where those exist). The Oath will also verify the value of the Estate – and the application must be accompanied by an Inheritance Tax Return. We will calculate and advise as to any liabilities for Inheritance Tax.