When you die your estate (property, savings, investments, house contents, cars etc) must be collected in, and any debts, funeral costs, and Inheritance Tax paid. Certain specific beneficiaries may receive a legacy (a set amount of money) or a specific gift (jewellery, car etc) and the remainder of the estate is distributed to your residuary beneficiaries (spouse/civil partner, children, grandchildren or charities etc).
If you have left a Will, your estate is wound up by the Executor or Executors, in accordance with your Will. If you have not made a Will the law decides who gets what inheritance and who can deal with your estate (Administrators). Executors and Administrators are often collectively referred to as Personal Representatives. Your Personal Representatives need official authority to deal with your estate, so it may be necessary to obtain Probate (called Letters of Administration if there is no will). A Grant of Probate is issued by the Probate Registry approximately two weeks after an application is made. If an application is made through solicitors, there is no need for the Personal Representatives to attend court. We can prepare and process the application for you which involves a formal oath setting out the details and an Inheritance Tax Return (which is required regardless of whether tax is payable).
We know exactly what steps to take and in what order, thereby dealing with your case swiftly and efficiently, and preventing the Personal Representatives being held personally liable for not carrying out their duties correctly. In straightforward cases, we can deal with this for a modest, fixed fee. In all other cases, we can provide a clear indication of the amount of our time, and therefore the likely cost to you right from the outset. We can either handle the entire process for you from commencement through to distributing inheritance to beneficiaries, or we can assist you at key stages. In any case, we are happy to provide a free initial no obligation meeting either by telephone or face to face to advise as to likely costs and complexity of the process. It does not matter if the Will is held at another firm of Solicitors – we can obtain the original document for you and act on your behalf.
You may be the Executor or Trustee of a Will containing a trust with clear instructions for the management and distribution of the trust to a beneficiary or beneficiaries, or the Will may contain a discretionary trust which can be more complex to manage. We can guide you through all aspects of trust fund management including set up, ongoing management, your duties as a Trustee and the registration of trusts with HM Revenue and Customs.
We can assist with post-death Inheritance Tax planning, for example, a Deed of Variation.
We can also assist you with making a probate search or help you to find a Will.
Dealing with a bereavement can be challenging. At Dixon Alderton Law we can support you both professionally and sympathetically every step of the way.