When a loved one dies you may wonder about the next steps. This will include what happens to their assets, belongings and any outstanding debts they have.
Firstly you’ll need to obtain a medical certificate, register the deceased’s death and make funeral arrangements. After these have been arranged, you may require something known as a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration confirms the legal authority granted to an ‘Executor’ or ‘Personal Representative’ of a deceased person’s estate. If a Will hasn’t been written, a ‘personal representative’ can be appointed to act in the Administration of the deceased’s Estate rather than an Executor.
A Grant of Probate is acquired when a person has died with a Will in place, and a Grant of Letters of Administration is obtained in the event of no Will being left following a person’s death.
You’ll need to obtain Probate or Letters of Administration if the deceased person’s Estate includes large assets, such as property or bank account. If the Estate has little or no assets, or the assets are held jointly with a spouse or another family member, Probate or Letters of Administration may not be needed.
To acquire either, you need ‘date of death’ values for each of the deceased person’s assets, and an up to date valuation of any property or businesses they may hold. You’ll also need to acquire details of any liabilities, such as mortgage payments or unpaid debts.
After acquiring these things, you should fill out an Inheritance Tax form, and then apply for Probate once it has been accepted. Be aware, this can take several months to be finalised and obtained.
Once you have obtained a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, any liabilities or debts can be paid. If there is a Will in place, the Estate and assets can be distributed to any allocated people accordingly. If no Will has been put in place, assets can be allocated and distributed by following ‘Rule of Intestacy.’
We understand that this process can seem daunting, but getting in touch with us can help to determine whether our help is required or not at what can be a very distressing time for you.
Based on your instructions, we can take care of everything on your behalf, including obtaining values of assets by contacting estate agents and professional valuers, completing the relevant inheritance tax return forms, applying for the grant, writing to each individual institution once the grant has been received and completing their closure forms for any accounts or policies. We keep the process easy, and update our clients on all aspects of the process.