Probate Guide: Benefits of having a professional administering an estate
There are many benefits from instructing a professional to assist you in administering an estate. Even if you have administered an estate before, are you up to date with law and probate procedures which are constantly changing? Mistakes by Executor(s), even when made in ignorance, are no defence against potential personal losses. Our team of specialists have the expertise to protect you from any personal financial loss, and you gain the peace of mind and benefit of our insurances.
Below are some of the benefits of instructing a professional to act for you:
Executor(s) often underestimate how long it takes to administer an estate. Even a “simple” estate can take between 6 -12 months to complete, and typically 15-20 hours of the Executor(s) valuable time. A complex estate can take many years to administer, potentially taking hundreds of hours to complete. The appointed Executor(s) can instruct professionals such as our experts at Bennett Griffin LLP to carry out this important and time-consuming work more efficiently.
Inheritance Act claims
There are certain family relatives/dependents of the deceased that may be entitled to make a claim against the estate, whether or not they have been included in the Will. If you are unsure about this, contact us at Bennett Griffin LLP for advice.
Incorrectly distributing the estate
Wills are not always easy to follow, and misinterpretation can lead to financial loss and potential claims against the Executors.
Advertising for creditors
To protect the Executor(s), we recommend inserting ‘Notices’ in the relevant publications. Without inserting the notices, the Executor(s) risk being personally liable for the debt(s) the deceased may have owed.
Personal Executor(s) within a family can sometimes be accused of bias or favouring certain beneficiaries, especially when dealing with the division of personal effects. Your judgement in dealing with certain aspects may also be questioned which can lead to permanent relationship breakdowns in exceptional cases. By instructing our experts at Bennett Griffin LLP to carry out the administration for you, we will act impartially and make any relevant decisions on your behalf, thus avoiding potentially difficult situations that you may foresee.
This includes Inheritance, Capital Gains and Income taxes. Failure to account to HM Revenue & Customs for the tax(es) that are due could be costly and could lead to personal liability.
Do you know how far back you need to look into the deceased’s financial affairs and do you know what to look for? This will also include gifts of personal items such as jewellery and art and could then lead to HMRC enforcing penalties for which you, as the Executor, may well be personally liable.
These should be undertaken before making a payment to any beneficiary, no matter how well you think you may know them. Failure to carry out this check may leave you personally liable for the debt(s) incurred by the bankrupt or insolvent beneficiary.
Comprehensive Estate Accounts
Executors should provide a detailed record of the financial aspect of the estate administration, and show the residuary beneficiaries what the estate is made up of (assets and liabilities), what costs and expenses have been deducted, what income and/or capital additions have been received, and how it has been accounted for to the beneficiaries. Record keeping is an important part of estate administration and is often overlooked.
How we can help
We hope this brief Guide gives you a flavour of the diverse and complex subject that is estate administration. We specialise in this aspect of law (and many other areas too) and will tailor our service to your particular needs.