When a loved one dies, amidst the inevitable heartbreak you will find that you are thrust into a position where you need to acquire many new skills quickly. Arranging the funeral, tracing old relatives and friends, obtaining a death certificate, handling tax affairs and obtaining a grant of probate. Sadly, the list can seem endless, and this may well be compounded by your own perhaps overwhelming grief.
In order to administer or ‘execute’ an individual’s estate successfully, there are specific legal processes and rules that must be adhered to. These will ensure that you can legally distribute the estate in question on another’s behalf. From a legal perspective, depending on the assets to be administered you may need to apply for a grant of probate.
Just like almost everything else, the granting of probate has been affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The increased death rate has created a corresponding uptick in the number of applications being made.
However, this has not been the sole issue. The situation has created a perfect storm. Many probate applications have been put on hold while workers have been furloughed; solicitors have either been furloughed themselves or have struggled to gain access to offices to collect wills and access documents. As a result, HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service) is receiving many more applications per week than it is issuing.
There is a raft of legal, tax and administrative work involved to successfully administer an estate. In recent years, the process of applying for probate has become further complicated by an ever-increasing amount of paperwork. What was formerly a one-page document, became two; now there is a small novella of paperwork to get through. The probate application form presently stands at twenty-three pages and counting. Following a further review in the coming months, the form for solicitor and lay applications could well get longer.
When faced with the death of a loved one, the administration of their estate can be a complicated matter. It can be subject to time constraints – for example, when dealing with tax authorities. It is easy to fall foul of legal complications regarding title to property, division of business interests, unsettled bills and inheritance tax issues.
We recommend that when asked to execute an estate, you should either ask a solicitor to fully execute the entire estate with you or you should undertake the administration yourself but instruct your solicitor to help you by completing specific tasks.
At A M Davies, we can help you in either of these ways. Our sole aim is to relieve you of the hassle of administering your loved-one’s estate at a difficult time. We will talk through your duties and responsibilities and advise the best courses of action. This will reduce the length of time required to process an estate, whilst ensuring it runs smoothly with the least amount of stress for you.
We stay up to date with all matters pertaining to the successful administration of an estate. With A M Davies, you are in safe hands.