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What does 'Administering an Estate' mean and do I need help?

Oct 5, 2016

Administering an estate is the process that you need to go through when someone dies.  An estate is made up of all the deceased’s belongings, their property and any money they have.  Administering an estate is when you review their Will to see how they wanted their estate to be distributed and dealing with all aspects of the administration process such as notifying banks, insurers etc.

You can administer an estate of someone who dies without leaving a Will, but this process is slightly different.

Administering an estate can also be known as ‘dealing with probate’ and often the two terms are interchangeable.

To be able to deal with an estate you have to be an executor, an appointment which you get from the deceased’s Will.  The executor can apply for a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry which will confirm your legal right to complete the estate administration. This will allow you access to bank accounts, property and everything else in the estate.

If the person who died did not leave a Will, you would still need to apply to the Probate Registry, but instead you would apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. To do this, you have to be a family member or next of kin.  There is a very specific process of dealing with an estate where someone passes away without a Will.  After getting the Grant, the estate would be distributed by applying the laws of intestacy. Intestacy is the way to distribute an estate where there was no Will.

Administering an estate can take a long time and be complicated.  On the other hand some estates are relatively simple to administer.

I would always urge someone who is appointed as an executor to ask for help from a professional in the first instance even if it is to put you on the right track.  It’s really up to you to decide whether you have the time, the energy and the ability to complete the estate administration yourself or not.

Some of the jobs involved will be calculating the value of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes, preparing estate accounts, distributing the estate according to the Will or to the law of intestacy and settling all liabilities.  It is important to note that if something goes wrong, you could be held financially liable.

Estate administration can take anywhere between 6 to 12 months and for complicated estates, even longer.

My advice would be to talk to a professional and then make a decision about whether you want help or not. Remember, any legal fees will come from the estate so this may help with your decision.

For help and advice about Probate, estate administration or intestacy call our experienced Private Client team now on  01264 353411, via email: probate@bsandi.co.ukor contact us via our no obligation online enquiry form  and we’ll be happy to help. 

 


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