Executry Legal Services - Dealing with an Estate
Coping with the death of a loved one is often difficult. This is often made worse by having to deal with unfamiliar legal procedures. This process includes determining the deceased individual’s assets, dealing with any liability to inheritance tax, obtaining Confirmation (often referred to as Probate, which is in fact the English term), ingathering the various assets and selling any property, paying any debts, settling any specific or cash legacies and paying out what is left to the ultimate beneficiaries of the estate.
We can advise you on the necessary steps no matter the size of the estate, and whether your loved one had a Will or not.
You may be appointed as an executor of an estate, suddenly being faced with daunting responsibilities. We can help. Our specialist solicitors will be able to advise you on the necessary steps, supporting you through this whole process.
Executry Legal Services - FAQ
If there is no will a petition has to be lodged with the court to have an executor appointed in the estate. The person entitled to be appointed is set out in law and may not always be the person you expect. In most cases where there is no will a Bond of Caution (an insurance policy) also requires to be obtained before Confirmation can be applied for.
This depends on the value of the estate as a whole. The assets held by the deceased person at their death along with certain gifts made by them prior to death require to be included in order to value their estate.
The Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band is at present £325,000. There may also be the possibility of transferring any unused Nil Rate Band from the deceased person’s spouse or civil partner’s estate if they predeceased them. In addition, there is now the availability to claim an additional allowance known as the residence Nil Rate Band, if there is a property in the estate, and some of the estate passes to direct descendants e.g. children or grandchildren. The value of this at present is up to £175,000 depending on a number of factors including the value of the property. There is also the possibility of claiming transferable residence Nil Rate Band from the estate of a predeceasing spouse or civil partner.
This can mean there could be up to £1 million of allowances depending on the exact circumstances.
If you find yourself in the position of having to deal with a loved one’s estate, we would advise that you make an appointment to speak to one of our solicitors who will guide you through the process. The exact process depends if there is a Will, known as Testate Succession (insert guide) or if there is no Will, known as Intestate Succession (insert guide).
Where there is a Will in place the estate will normally be distributed in terms of the Will. The exception to this is where there is a Legal Rights claim by children, grandchildren or a spouse.
Where there is no Will, the estate will be distributed in terms of the rules on intestacy. Any spouse of civil partner will be entitled to receive what is known as prior rights in the estate. These rights are to a house, contents of a house and a cash right of £50,000 if there are also children or to £89,000 if there are no children. Any spouse, civil partner or children will also have a claim in legal rights in the estate. If after this there is any estate remaining this will be distributed in accordance with the law. This may not always be to the person you would expect and ultimately could fall to the crown if you do not have any family.
Unfortunately, the nature of this work makes it extremely difficult to predict. It depends on a number of factors, in particular the speed at which the work can be completed is dependent on the cooperation we receive from other people or organisations. We would not normally suggest finalising an estate in less than 6 months from the date of death as this is the period in which any claims for debts can usually be intimated, if an estate is finalised before this time any debts may become the personal liability of the executor. Most estates take between 6 months and 1 year to finalise.
Executries – Guide to Fees
We will meet with you to determine the nature and circumstances of the Estate. We will then identify and value the deceased’s assets and liabilities and thereafter draft the appropriate forms to obtain confirmation in the Estate, including the appropriate inheritance tax return and ensuring payment of any inheritance tax due. We will then lodge the documents with the court and thereafter ingather the Estate, settle any debts due by the Estate and prepare an accounting for your approval, including any required reporting in respect of income tax. We will then distribute the Estate according to the deceased’s wishes or the rules of succession where the deceased had not prepared a Will.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to carry out this worked for a fixed fee and it is difficult to give an estimate without having all of the information available. All executry work carried out will be assessed by an independent auditor applying our hourly rate of £225.00 plus VAT. We will provide to you our Terms of Business which will include a time and line, hourly and unit rate chargeable for this type of work. Any conveyancing work carried out in the process of administering the estate will be charged on the same basis.
There will be additional outlays to third parties, an estimate of these will be provided following our first meeting. In particular there will be court dues in respect of the confirmation, there may be inheritance tax due and where there is no will there may be a premium due to obtain a bond of caution.