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Estate administration

You may have heard the term ‘probate’ to describe dealing with the financial matters of a loved-one, but you may not have heard of the term estate administration. They’re both terms related to dealing with a deceased person’s estate but they have different definitions and there are important distinctions between them.

What is probate?

Probate may be required when someone passes away. Probate is a short way to refer to a ‘Grant of Probate’, officially known as the ‘Grant of Representation’ in England and Wales and ‘Confirmation’ in Scotland. Probate is required by law if the estate is worth more than £5,000 in value, if the deceased owned any property in their sole name or if a financial institution (e.g. a bank or building society) needs to see the ‘Grant of Probate’ in order to release the funds. Probate will not be needed if the assets were held jointly as they will automatically pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner.

Applying for probate involves:

Completing the application via a PA1P (if there is a Will) or a PA1A (if there is no Will). You’ll also need to submit an Inheritance Tax form to HMRC. This is the process in England and Wales. There are different rules and procedures in Scotland.

The term ‘Probate’ is often mistaken to mean all of the tasks to be completed following a bereavement but it actually just refers to obtaining the Grant to enable you to carry out these tasks.

Probate is just one part of the wider estate administration process. Probate provides you with the legal right to carry out the estate administration, including dealing with property, money and personal possessions.

What is estate administration?

Estate administration is the process of handling a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died. This means dealing with all of their assets (e.g. property, personal possessions, shares and bank accounts), paying any Inheritance Tax and Income Tax and distributing inheritances to the estate’s beneficiaries. Estate administration can often be extremely complex, time-consuming and an added stress at an already difficult time for the Executor or Administrator.

Obtaining the grant of probate is usually a part of estate administration but it could involve:

  • Applying for probate of confirmation
  • Completing all Inheritance Tax forms
  • Income Tax work for the year of death
  • Postal redirection
  • Registering unregistered properties
  • Valuing assets
  • Property valuation and sale
  • Cancelling or transferring utilities
  • Distributing funds to beneficiaries
  • And much more

An Executor or Administrator does not have to take full responsibility, they can choose to appoint a professional to handle the estate on their behalf.

At Carisma Wills, we work closely with a specialist partner to provide our clients with an affordable probate and estate administration service. If the estate you’re dealing with is fairly simple you may only want a little help to obtain the grant of probate. However, if things are more complicated and you just want to get things sorted as quickly as possible, a full estate administration service may be a better choice for you.

The Geens comprehensive estate administration service is designed to take all of the stress and hassle away from you and your family. Their legal, tax and estate administration specialists will do all of the challenging work on your behalf, keeping you updated throughout the process so that you know how everything is progressing.

This article explains more about the role of an executor: What does an executor do?

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