July 19, 2024


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Estate Administration – What’s Involved?

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Estate Administration – What’s Involved?

Estate Administration – What’s Involved?

When someone passes away, sorting out their estate is a crucial task. This means dealing with their money, property, and belongings. It’s called estate administration, and it’s essential to get it right to ensure everything is shared out as the deceased wanted or as the law says if there’s no will.

The First Steps

  • Check for a Will: First, find out if the dead person left a will. A will says who gets what from their estate. If there is a will, it names people called executors. They are in charge of sorting the estate. No will means the law decides who deals with the estate.
  • Identify the Executor or Administrator: If there’s a will, its executor takes charge. No will? Then, a close family member can apply to be the administrator. They do the same job as an executor.
  • Apply for Probate or Letters of Administration: Executors need a grant of probate to start. This is a paper from the court that lets them deal with the estate. If there’s no will, you need letters of administration instead. This also comes from the court and permits you to sort the estate.
  • Secure the Deceased’s Property and Assets: Make sure the deceased’s property and other assets are safe. This might mean locking up a house or securing valuables. It’s important to keep everything safe until it’s time to pass them on.

Getting the Right to Deal with the Estate

It can take around a year to finalise an estate administration. But before you can do much, you might need to get a ‘grant of probate’ if there’s a will. This is a legal document that lets you deal with the estate. If there’s no will, you’re after ‘letters of administration.’ You get these from the Probate Registry, proving you have the right to sort things out.

Valuing the Estate

Next, you need to figure out the estate’s worth. This means adding all the assets (like money in the bank, property, and other belongings) and eliminating any debts (like loans or bills that need to be paid).

Paying Off Debts and Taxes

  • Find Out What Debts Exist: First, determine the debt the deceased person owed. This includes loans, credit cards, and bills. You must pay these off from the estate before giving anything to the people named in the will or the family.
  • Pay Any Income and Council Tax: Check if the person owed any income or council tax. You have to settle these taxes with the money from the estate. Sometimes, you might need to sell something from the estate to pay these bills.
  • Deal with the Mortgage: If a house has a mortgage, decide what to do. You might pay off the mortgage or sell the house. The choice depends on the will or what the family wants.
  • Sort Out Inheritance Tax: Determine if you need to pay inheritance tax. This depends on the estate’s worth. If the estate has to pay this tax, do so within six months of the person’s death to avoid extra charges.

By taking care of debts and taxes first, you ensure the estate follows the law. Only after settling these can you share what’s left with the people who are meant to receive it.

Distributing the Estate

Once all the bills are paid, you can start giving out what’s left to the people named in the will or, if there’s no will, to the family members who inherit under the rules of intestacy.

Why It’s Important

Sorting out an estate can be tricky and takes time. It’s about ensuring the deceased’s wishes are followed (if they left a will) or that their nearest and dearest are looked after (if they didn’t). Plus, it’s about dealing with everything legally and ensuring all taxes and debts are paid.

In Summary

Estate administration is a big deal. It’s all about respecting the wishes of someone who’s passed away and ensuring their estate is dealt with properly. It involves legal documents, valuing assets, paying off debts, and making sure the right people inherit. It’s a process that takes care, attention, and a bit of know-how.

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