Helping with Estate Administration
Estate Administration is the name given to the handling of the finances, assets and debts when someone has died.
You may not feel like taking on the job of looking after a loved ones estate after their death, we can help simplify the situation and relieve you of the worry and stress.
If you are appointed as an Executor of a Will, provided you have not already started work on the administration of the estate you can renounce the role of an Executor and we can draft the Deed of Renunciation for you to renounce your role. If you do not wish to renounce your role as an Executor you can get help from our team.
Our Probate Team is led by Partner and Solicitor Bryony Wilmshurst who prides herself on giving a friendly, efficient yet speedy and professional service to help clients during this distressing time in their lives.
Where you are appointed as an Executor it may be necessary to apply for Probate of the Will, Probate is the official proving of the Will which then enables the Executor to administer the estate and collect in the assets before distributing them in accordance with the terms of the Will.
If there is no Will you may be administering the estate as the deceased’s beneficiary under the Rules of Intestacy, these are statutory rules which set out who benefits from a deceased’s estate on their death. The process is very similar to the application for a Grant of Probate.
Once Letters of Administration have been granted it will allow the Personal Representative to administer the estate in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.
Before applying for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration it will be necessary to complete an Inheritance Tax account, which, depending upon the value of the estate, will either be submitted to HM Revenue & Customs or Probate Registry as part of the application for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
As well as dealing with the application for Probate or Letters of Administration, Inheritance Tax matters and administering estates we also deal with property matters and Deeds of Variation/Family arrangements which may save thousands of pounds in Inheritance Tax.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information on 01376 567275.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following are common questions we get asked about Wills and Probate. If you cannot find the answer here, please contact us for an answer.
We would strongly advise against drafting your own Will or downloading a pro-forma on line.
There is an increasing amount of litigation that arises from incorrectly drafted Wills, often Wills drafted by people who are not legally qualified do not do what the person drafting them thinks they do which can cause significant problems and delays in the event of your death.
Often, it ends up costing far more to rectify any errors than the cost of a Will professionally drafted.
Yes, we can act as Executors for you. Professional Executors will charge for acting.
We can store your original Will free of charge in our Strong Room.
We will only release it to you during your lifetime upon receipt of your identification, to your Attorney in the event of loss of mental capacity if you have authorised your Attorney to have access to your Will under your Lasting Power of Attorney or to your Executors on your death upon receipt of your original Death Certificate and the identification and authority of all your Executors.
If you are over the age of 18, have assets or children a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes will be carried out in the event of your death.
Upon receipt of your instructions we aim to send you a draft of your Will for your approval within 7 days.
If there are no unforeseen circumstances it is likely that your Will will be signed within a month of us receiving instructions from you.
A Will should be reviewed whenever your personal or financial circumstances change significantly or if your beneficiaries’ circumstances change significantly.
We recommend that you review your Will at least every five years to ensure it still accords with your wishes and is still appropriate for your circumstances.
Joint Wills are very rare and problematic these days. It is more usual to have Mirror Wills which is where you each have a Will but on similar terms. It is important to bear in mind that with Mirror Wills once you have left your estate to your partner, your partner is then free to do whatever he or she wishes with your assets, they could leave what they have inherited from you to a new partner. For more information please see Asset Protection Trust
A Guardian is a person or people who will look after your children in the event of your death, they will be responsible for bringing up your children.
A Will is a legal document which sets out what you would like to happen to your assets in the event of your death, who you would like to administer your estate, who you would like to look after your children and your funeral wishes.
An Executor is a person who will administer your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will, they will complete relevant tax returns and apply for the Grant of Probate before collecting in the assets and distributing them to your beneficiaries.
An Executor can be anyone over the age of 18, it is important that you appoint not only someone that you trust but someone who is capable of handling the administration of your estate in what is likely to be an emotional and stressful time.
Before appointing an Executor you may wish to discuss the matter with the person or persons involved to ensure they are willing to be named as Executor in your Will, although this is not essential and as the Will is personal to you, you might not wish to disclose details to an Executor.
If you appoint someone other than your Solicitor and they refuse to carry out the duties after your death then problems could arise.
Making Your Will
To get started on writing your will, please click here to download our Will form, then print it out and complete it before sending it to us.
November Free Wills
Cunningtons support the Will Aid charity every November by offering to help with free simple wills.
Wills & Probate Partner
Meet Bryony Wilmshurst, Partner in charge of our Wills and Probate department.