Dealing with a Deceased’s Estate
The first step is to check whether the deceased left a Will, this will help you understand the next steps forward.
Yes, there is a Will
The Will may contain directions regarding the funeral. It should contain a clause appointing personal representatives (called Executors) to deal with the estate and distribute it in accordance with the Will and any Codicils (supplementary provisions contained in a separate document).
If there is a Will in place please click here to read more on probate.
No, there is not a Will
If the deceased did not leave a Will, then the estate has to be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. Click here to read more on intestacy.
What can we do?
As Solicitors, we can give advice on the legal procedures to be followed whether or not there is a Will and on other issues such as:
- Entitlement under the rules of intestacy.
- Possible claims against an estate under Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents Act 1975) by someone who may not have been reasonably treated by the Will or the rules of intestacy.
- Inheritance Tax.
We also offer a full service in dealing with the administration of the estate on behalf of the personal representatives. For more information, or to speak to one of our experts, please contact us at one of our offices across Lincolnshire, in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Newark and Sleaford.
Applying for a Grant of Representation
In order to obtain the authority to deal with someone’s estate, whether or not they left a Will, the personal representatives may need to obtain a Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry.
Organisations holding money in the deceased’s name may need to see a copy of the Grant before they will pass any money or assets to the Personal Representatives.
Once the Grant is obtained
The personal representatives named in the Grant must collect in all the assets and pay any debts.
If the personal representative is not also the main beneficiary of the estate it may be advisable to formally advertise for creditors, in case a debt arises after the assets have been distributed. This is done by placing an advertisement in the London Gazette and a newspaper covering the area in which the deceased last resided. Doing this protects the personal representative from individual responsibility.
Once all taxes and debts have been paid the estate can be distributed either according to the terms of the Will or the rules of intestacy.
You should obtain a signed receipt from each beneficiary when they receive their legacy. You must prepare an estate account showing all the assets received and debts and legacies paid out. This must be approved and signed by the personal representative and the main beneficiaries and then the residue (remainder) of the estate may be distributed.
We can help
Dealing with a Deceased’s Estate can be very complex, do not hesitate to seek our further advice on any aspect of the legal process. Remember that if you inherit from the estate this will increase the size of your estate on death and you may need to review the suitability of your own Will and again a member of our Wills and Probate Team can advise you about this.
For further information contact our Wills and Probate team at one of our offices in Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire, in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Newark, Sleaford.