When your loved one dies, you will need to put their financial affairs in order. If all the assets are held in joint names, these will normally pass automatically to the surviving owner. However, if any assets are held in the sole name of the deceased, a Grant of Representation must be obtained.
Estate Administration and Probate
In these circumstances, the Personal Representatives will need to obtain a valuation of the assets, which unfortunately can be a long and drawn out affair. Once the value of the estate has been established, Inheritance Tax at 40% on all assets over the deceased's Nil Rate Band allowance will have to be paid before a Grant of Representation can be applied for.
Personal applications to the court for a grant of representation and estate administration in general, can be difficul to navigate. If done correctly, the personal representative could be held personally liable, to the beneficiaries of the estate, for any loss suffered.
When the Grant has been obtained the assets can be realised and distributed under the terms of the Will or if no Will was left under the Intestacy Rules.
The Personal Representatives will also be responsible for finalising any Income Tax and paying any debts. They must be sure that these matters have been properly dealt with as they will be liable for any unpaid debts if the estate is paid out to the beneficiaries too early.
Many people successfully finalise the deceased's affairs without the benefit of a solicitor. However, when the sole assets pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner, Inheritance Tax may become payable on the second death; we have the expertise to advise on reducing this liability, provided arrangements are put in place within two years' of the first death.
Read our helpful guide on What to do when someone dies