Administration of Estates
At MKB Law, we have an enviable wealth of experience in the administration of estates, and we are sensitive to the challenges, both financial and emotional, that a bereaved family faces. We therefore attempt to make the whole administration process as straightforward as possible.
The first consideration in any estate is whether the deceased has left a will. If there is a will, the matter proceeds by a Grant of Probate. If there is no will, then the assets pass by the rules of intestacy and a Grant of Administration is required.
The will appoints the executors, who are those people entrusted by the deceased to deal with his or her estate, and who will be instructing solicitors and dealing with them going forward. If there is no will, the next-of-kin of the deceased will usually be the administrators of the estate, which is a similar role to that of executor.
The first role of the executor is to arrange the deceased’s funeral if this has not already been done. It is sometimes possible to obtain the funds for the funeral directly from the deceased’s bank account, prior to Probate being received.
Valuation of Assets & Inheritance Tax
The next step is to obtain a valuation of the estate as at the date of death. The death certificate is sent to each of the banks, building societies, insurance companies, pension providers and any other company in which the deceased had an interest. We obtain a valuation of all of these assets, plus any shares, houses, valuables and other property the deceased owned. We have good relationships with surveyors and other valuers who can assist in obtaining the necessary valuations at a reasonable cost.
Once we have a valuation of the entire estate, the inheritance tax forms must be filled in. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, the tax forms can be complicated and voluminous. We will complete the forms on your behalf, if necessary co-ordinating with the deceased’s accountant to ensure that they are completed correctly and promptly.
Grant of Probate
The acknowledgement of the tax forms by HM Revenue and Customs is required, along with an Oath for Executor (or Oath for Administrator in the case of an intestate estate) to apply for the Grant. Once received, the Grant allows the executor, through us, to deal with the deceased’s assets as required by the will.
Winding up the Estate
Using the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) the deceased’s bank accounts will be closed and their assets passed on or liquidised. The Grant also permits the executors to deal with the property of the deceased; either selling it or putting it formally in the name of the beneficiaries under the will.
During the entire administration of the estate we will prepare the Estate Accounts, which will eventually give the executors or administrators and the main beneficiaries a picture of how the estate stood at the date of death, what money has come in, what debts and expenses have been paid out of it and how the estate is finally distributed.
It is often the case that on the winding up of the estate, the beneficiaries themselves will need advice on their own assets, both existing and those received under the estate. If the deceased’s will has established trusts the Trustees will need specialised advise on the administration of the trust and the investment of trust assets to comply with the requirements of the Trustee Act (Northern Ireland) 2001.
We can advise the beneficiaries or trustees accordingly and we have relationships with accountants and other professional advisers who can be brought in to assist as required.