The loss of a family member or close friend is a traumatic experience. You may not feel ready to deal with the complexities of administering the estate, or indeed know what needs to be done next.
At Docklands Solicitors we have an experienced team who can help you with the paperwork and bureaucracy involved, guiding you though the decisions and actions needed. The service is personal to you – designed to offer as much support as you need – not a “one size fits all” approach.
What is the role of an Executor or Personal Representative?
In summary, the Executor or Personal Representative (PR) has the responsibility to carry out the deceased person’s wishes and to distribute the estate in line with those wishes. We have set out more details about the responsibilities of Executors here.
If you wish to handle most of the estate administration, we can provide advice and support through each step. Alternatively, if you prefer, we can assume responsibility for all of the administration, contacting all the necessary banks and financial firms to value any assets and liabilities. This could include experts to value houses, possessions and valuables such as jewellery.
Estates with value over the Inheritance Nil rate band, currently £325,000, may be liable to Inheritance Tax. As part of the administration it is necessary to calculate the Inheritance tax liability and to ensure the correct amount of tax is paid. In addition to our expertise in administering estates, we can provide specialist advice which may help to minimise the tax liability. To find out more about tax planning please click here.
Completion of the administration
At the end of the administration of the estate, a detailed set of accounts is produced setting out what has been dealt with and how the estate has been distributed. Again we are able to complete this stage of the administration for you or if you prefer provide guidance.
How much will it cost?
Our costs will depend on the amount of work we complete and how much of the administration you wish us to handle. Therefore, before we start work on your behalf, we will give you a clear picture of the specific work we will undertake and the costs involved. As the administration progresses, if more work than anticipated is required we will keep you informed and highlight the impact it can have on the costs, thus avoiding any surprises.
Other areas where we can help:
In many cases as part of the estate administration, property may need to be valued or sold. We can complete the sale transaction through our Residential Conveyancing team, helping to simplify the process. It may be there are complications over the title of any property, and again our team can investigate and help to resolve any issues. We also have close links with numerous chartered surveyors to facilitate the valuation process.
Disputes can happen
There are instances where the estate administration is not completed amicably. It may be some family members do not feel the executors carried out their duties correctly or that individuals were not given adequate provision. With more complex family arrangements this problem is becoming more common. We have a specialist team dealing with these types of disputes and can assist you, whether you are the executor completing the administration or someone who feels the administration has not been correctly handled. See “Disputes about wills and estates” for more details.
Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS)
We are also delighted to be an accredited member of the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS). Being a member of WIQS demonstrates that we follow best practice procedures to meet the highest standards of technical expertise and client service in providing tailored wills and probate advice to consumers. All members of our “Tax and Estate” team are WIQS accredited. Please see our client charter for the benefits of using a WIQS accredited firm.