Many people will never administer an Estate, and for those few that do, the language used is often alien, and the procedure unclear. Broadly speaking, Probate is the process of dealing with a deceased person’s Estate, which includes determining the nature and value of the Estate, paying any liabilities (including tax) and distributing the Estate in accordance with the terms of the Deceased’s Will or, if no Will exists, the statutory regulations.
Responsibility for dealing with a Deceased’s Estate falls on the Executors (if appointed by a Will) or the Administrators (if no Wills exists). Collectively they are called Personal Representatives, but are referred to as Executors throughout this Guide.
The steps that the Executors will need to take are set out below. The amount of work and the complexity of the administration will depend on the size and nature of the Estate, whether any Inheritance Tax is due, and whether Solicitors are applying for the Grant on your behalf. These points are explained in greater detail below.
Broadly speaking, the administration of an Estate will consist of 6 steps:
- Valuation of the Estate.
- The Inheritance Tax Account.
- Applying for the Grant of Representation.
- Paying any Inheritance Tax due.
- Receiving the Grant and gathering in/liquidating the assets.
- Settling liabilities and distributing the Estate.
This Guide is only intended to provide a helpful overview of the process of administering an Estate, not a definitive explanation of the steps required. Please therefore feel free to contact Nicholas Barlow, head of our Private Client department, for an initial no-commitment discussion and further advice.
All figures were correct at the time of writing and we have included a Glossary at the end of this Guide for terms commonly used in Probate matters.