Estate administration - helping you to fulfill someone's last wishes
When someone dies leaving a Will which appoints someone to administer their estate (executor), and that executor is to validly dispose of the assets of the deceased within England and Wales, the estate will first go to a process called probate. This involves the executors proving who they are and that the Will is valid.
However, if the deceased has not left a Will, or their Will is invalid or incomplete in some way, legal administrators must be appointed, who perform a similar role to an executor. Where there are no instructions in a Will, the administrators must distribute the estate of the deceased according to rules laid down by law.
Certain assets fall outside the estate for administration purposes. The most common example is a property jointly owned by a couple (married or in a civil partnership). When one of the couple dies, the property passes into the sole name of the survivor. Other examples include discretionary death benefits from pension funds, accounts with certain financial institutions subject to a nomination and the proceeds of life insurance policies which have been written into trust. Trust property also frequently falls outside of the estate but this depends on the terms of the trust.
Help is at hand
We offer a full range of estate administration services. This is regardless of whether or not we prepared the Will of the deceased, and we do not encourage clients to appoint us as executors of their Will as we consider this an unnecessary expense for them. However, in all but the simplest of cases the paperwork can be challenging, and people who have been entrusted with the task of carrying out the last wishes of a loved one often need some help to tie up the affairs. This can range from a simple meeting to discuss how they go about obtaining probate, to the need to undertake some post-death tax planning by way of an Instrument of Variation. If you require assistance obtaining the Grant of Representation we can either advise you free of charge or we can refer you to one of our trusted associates.
You can choose whether to pay a fixed fee for our services or a percentage of the estate, and we will advise you as to what is likely to be the most cost-effective for you.
If you're an executor and you need help and advice, contact us. The initial consultation is free of charge or obligation.