Dealing with the estate (the property and possessions of the person who has died) as either an executor or an administrator can be complicated and you may use a solicitor to do it for you.
If the deceased left a valid Will (died testate), the responsibility of dealing with the estate will fall on the named Executor. The Executor may need to apply for a Grant of Probate. The application for the Probate should made to the Probate Registry of the appropriate court.
Not everyone will have to apply for a Grant of Probate. In some circumstances when the value of the deceased person’s estate is small, for example when the deceased person only owned a small amount of money and did not own any property or the deceased person held assets in joint or sole names.
If the deceased did not leave a Will (died intestate) or the Executor named in the Will is unwilling or unable to take the role then you may have to apply to the Probate Registry of the appropriate court for "grand of letters of administration" administration in order to become the administrator of the Estate.
As the executor or administrator you must pay off any debts or outstanding payments before distributing the estate. This could include unpaid bills, outstanding mortage on the property and tax.
It should be noted that estate duty in England must be paid by the executors or administrators within 6 months of the date of death.
If you believe that inheritance tax will be payable in England (assets above the £325,000 threshold after any allowances) do not wait until the last moment to call in a solicitor, as even after death there are sometimes ways of minimising or avoiding inheritance tax.
If the deceased person was born or lived abroad for significant periods of their life, if their parents were born abroad or even if they just owned assets outside the UK, this information may need to be included in the IHT return and may impact on the type of IHT return required, as well as the amount of IHT payable.
We will be able to advise on the deceased person’s domicile for IHT purposes as well as how the overseas assets will be dealt with.
We can also assist with completing the Estate administration process of the deceased person’s estate, advise on income any income tax or capital gains tax liabilities which arise during the administration period and deal with the estates with a foreign element where the deceased person’s estate contains assets in Poland, Italy, France, Spain and in the UK.