Estate Administration And Probate Alex Truesdale Wills In Cobham Surrey

Estate Administration and Probate

Estate administration (commonly known as “probate”) can be a lengthy, frustrating and emotionally draining time even on the simplest of estates. Estate administration can be broken down into a number of stages, involving a number of duties and responsibilities. Our guidelines below take you through the stages of probate and their likely timescales

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited: A professional Will writing service based in Cobham, Surrey and working with clients throughout England and Wales, including the Greater London, Surrey, Guildford, Kent and West Sussex areas. 

Call: 07887 946557 for any questions you may have on estate administration or for your wider estate planning needs.

Estate Administration & Probate Service

Estate administration (commonly known as “probate”) can be a lengthy, frustrating and emotionally draining time even on the simplest of estates. Estate administration can be broken down into a number of stages, involving a number of duties and responsibilities. Our guidelines below take you through the stages of probate and their likely timescales

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited: A professional Will writing service based in Cobham, Surrey and working with clients throughout England and Wales, including the Greater London, Surrey, Guildford, Kent and West Sussex areas. 

Call: 07887 946557 for any questions you may have on estate administration or for your wider estate planning needs.

Estate Administration and Probate

Whenever a person dies, his or her estate needs to be dealt with, either in accordance with any Will or under the Intestacy Rules – a statutory “pecking order” which determines which relatives receive what.

Estate administration involves the entire process, from arranging and funding the funeral, ascertaining and gathering in the assets, ascertaining and settling the deceased’s debts, cancelling utilities, dealing with HMRC and DWP, clearing the deceased’s home, selling real property, and distributing the remaining assets. Legal work such as property registration, conveyancing, trustee meetings, trust operation, instruments of variation and tax calculations may all be required.

One of the early phases of this process is what is popularly termed ‘probate’ – technically the application to the Probate Registry for authorisation to deal with a deceased’s estate.

Authorisation is acquired by the deceased’s personal representatives obtaining a grant of representation.

There are two main types:

  • A grant of probate, if there is a Will appointing one or more executor, or
  • A grant of letters of administration where no Will can be found and authority is sought by the person first entitled to the estate under the Intestacy Rules.

In either instance, applying for a grant of representation involves the personal representatives valuing the estate (including instructing professionals if required), completing HMRC forms, calculating the inheritance tax due, and paying that tax within 6 months of death before the grant is issued. Personal representatives may find themselves personally liable:

  • If the tax forms are completed incorrectly;
  • If they swear the oath required to support the application for the grant knowing that there are inaccuracies or omissions; or
  • If they disburse the estate without having correctly identified potential creditors first

Given the legal and administrative complexities, costs, time and risks involved in the estate administration process, many families find the experience both stressful and overwhelming at an already difficult and upsetting time.

Our Service

In association with a leading regional law firm, we have developed a highly cost-effective estate administration service personalised to your needs which encompasses:

  • Legal triage: compassionate, practical and timely advice to the recently bereaved on what to do when a loved one has died, including how to obtain death certificates and arrange the funeral;
  • Advice on the effect of the deceased’s Will, whether or not it was drafted by us;
  • Advice on the estate administration process and the options for dealing with it on a DIY, part DIY or fully-serviced basis;
  • Assistance and administrative support on the ascertainment of the deceased’s estate and the information required to support an application for a grant of representation;
  • Identification and engagement of the appropriate specialist support, whether RICS valuers, auctioneers, house clearance specialists, estate agents, tax accountants, financial advisers or probate lawyers;
  • Liaison with professionals throughout the estate administration process;
  • Keeping you informed and involving you in key decision-making;
  • Ensuring the estate administration is completed in a timely and efficient manner.

In certain circumstances it may be possible to vary not just an existing Will but also an intestacy provided legal advice is sought on a timely basis: do get in touch if you would like to discuss the options available.

Need help getting started on thinking about the future?

Send an online enquiry or email for expert advice and guidance on your Will writing and estate planning needs.

The Stages of Estate Administration or Probate

Estate administration, or probate, can be broken down into a number of stages, although where disputes arise (as they increasingly do) the indicative timescales we have provided below can often be severely impacted.
We summarise below the main tasks an executor can expect to perform throughout each stage of the estate administration “lifecycle” once the initial administrative burdens have been completed. Executors are responsible for arranging the deceased’s funeral and may often be involved in registering the death, obtaining copy death certificates, liasing with funeral directors and activating any funeral prepayment plan.

ο Ensure that the deceased’s assets, possessions and property are secured and make sure there is adequate insurance cover for them.

ο Find the Will, if any, and ensure that it is valid

ο Make a detailed inventory of all assets and arrange a valuation of the estate, including any houses, chattels (general possessions), stocks, shares, investments, life insurance policies, artwork and all other personal items.

ο Collate all documentation and paperwork relating to assets, including any bank statements, passbooks for savings accounts, share and stocks certificates, property deeds, insurance policies, NSA accounts and more.

ο For residential property, notify the home insurers and comply with any endorsements that may attach to the policy.

ο Register the death with all asset and liability holders; each will require a copy of the death certificate.

This is often the longest stage in the process, taking 3-6 months depending on the nature, complexity and level of organisation of the deceased’s personal affairs.

Once valuations are known, prepare the relevant IHT form. The current IHT threshold stands at £325,000 (with an additional £175,000 of Residence Nil Rate Band, if applicable).

ο If the estate is not subject to IHT, complete form IHT205.

ο Form IHT400 is required for taxable estates.

If the estate’s liquidity is insufficient to cover IHT and probate fees, obtain a loan. In some cases, it may be possible to pay the IHT in instalments. IHT must be paid within 6 months of the date of death and before the Grant of Representation can be extracted.

A ‘grant of representation’ is the generic term for the legal order issued by the probate court in the estate of a deceased person in England and Wales.

ο If the deceased left a Will: apply for a “grant of probate”

ο If there is no Will: apply for a ”letter of administration”

In order to obtain the Grant of Representation, it is necessary to swear an oath that all information given to the Probate Registry is true to the best of your knowledge.

The Registry will send the oath, and the representative will need to make an appointment at a local probate office or with a commissioner for oaths (typically a solicitor) to take the oath and sign the document. Executors are personally liable for the contents of the Oath.

This stage typically takes 1 month to complete. It may take up to 20 weeks for a Grant of Representation to be issued by the Probate Registry

Once the executors have received the Grant, send copies to all asset holders together with a request to release any funds.

Place a statutory advertisement in The Gazette notifying creditors or beneficiaries so they have the chance to come forward.

This gives any person wishing to make a claim 2 months in which to make such a claim from the date of the advertisement being published.

This stage typically takes 3 months or more to complete.

Gathering the estate assets (liquidate them if required) and then paying any debts from the estate.

ο Settle accounts with all asset and liability holders. Liabilities and debts must be paid first.

ο Collect any monies due to the deceased.ο Open a bank account on behalf of the estate (the Executor’s Account) for this purpose.

ο Complete income tax forms and capital gains tax forms for the period of administration.

ο Sell those assets.

ο Settle any debts in priority order:

ο Any remaining Funeral expenses

ο Any taxes that are due

ο Creditors, such as loans, mortgages, and outstanding debts

ο Prepare final estate accounts.

Distributing the estate in line with the Will (or rules of intestacy if there is no Will)

ο Provide residuary beneficiaries with the estate accounts for their approval

ο Distribute the estate in line with the Will, or the Rules of Intestacy if there is no Will.

ο Close Executor’s Account.

ο Retain all relevant papers for a minimum of 12 years.

The Estate Administration Process in England and Wales

The Probate Process

Client Testimonials

“Very clear explanation of what the options and implications were for us. It was also good to have someone focused on the end result we had to get to, as it’s very easy on your own to leave to another day.”

EM, September 2018

“After many years putting off writing my Will I finally entrusted Alex Truesdale with the task of compiling it for me and my family. My main wish was to pass my estate on to my son, and have guardianship put in place, should the worst happen before he came of age. Alex guided us through the difficult and emotional process with the utmost professionalism and put us at ease from the outset. She was able to address all of the issues we put to her and brought up many we had not considered regarding our estate.

“As we were about to travel abroad, we were also on a very tight schedule for the wills to be drawn up and signed. Alex went above and beyond to make sure everything was in place for us in the allotted time, even to the point of being personally on hand to instruct ourselves and our witnesses during the signing procedure.

“In using Alex Truesdale Wills, we now feel totally secure if the worst should happen our affairs are in order. We will be continuing to draw on her knowledge as and when our wills need updating in the future and are delighted to recommend her first class service.”

BW, May 2018

“I have known Alex Truesdale for over 6 years, during which time she prepared Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for my sisters and assisted us in the administration of my sister Elizabeth’s estate after her death in 2018.  I testify to her attention to detail, her knowledge and experience in her work and the warmth of her communications whether by letter, by telephone or in person.  She responds to us quickly and we have full confidence in what she does on our behalf and on her advice on various aspects. She has a good network of people when particular advice is needed beyond her field of expertise or training.  She became a friend to us as a family.  I gladly recommend her services to others.”  

KH, July 2020

“Thank you again for helping me sort out all our Wills and the funeral plan for my godmother. I cannot believe how timely that was bearing in mind today’s situation. Only good news from her care home so far, but to know that resources are there to help the staff directly if the worst happens certainly gives me peace of mind.”

SC , May 2020

“We would like to thank you for your professional help in getting us to a point of having signed Wills after many years of procrastination. Not only that your advice gave us the impetus to arrange a Civil Partnership and we now feel that we have got at least some of our affairs in order in these worrying times.”

KB, September 2020

“The support Alex gave me and my husband after our Wills and LPAs were finalised was second to none especially as he was diagnosed with a terminal illness a few months later. This ongoing support, advice and bringing in other specialists to assist was outstanding and I felt that we were in very good hands and would continue to be when the inevitable happened.

After my husband died, the comfort of knowing all was in order with the Wills was a great relief and her help in the immediate aftermath was much appreciated. It wasn’t just the professionalism but the genuine concern for my situation and that of the family. Alex then continued to guide me through the process and through some pretty complicated issues relating to the estate administration. She always responded to my copious emails and phone calls with clarity, efficiency and care.

The whole process was dealt with in a timely manner and to a very high standard and I felt that I was being looked after like one of her own family.

I can’t recommend Alex highly enough – a very talented professional dedicated to her work with a heart of gold.”

JD, July 2020

“Alex arranged an appointment for my husband and I to update our Wills in view of a change in family circumstances.  She was organised, efficient and extremely sensitive to our needs. We discussed advance directives and lasting powers of attorney in-depth – things we had only considered in vague terms previously but realised how intelligent it was to sort them out early.

“I cannot fault Alex’s professionalism and caring attitude, and will be recommending her service to my friends and colleagues.”

SM, September 2019

Will Writing And Estate Planning From Alex Truesdale Wills

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited offers a professional and personal Will writing service, giving you flexibility and control for the present and your loved one’s peace of mind about the future.

Contact Alex Truesdale today to arrange a free, no-obligation initial consultation, virtual meetings or face to face.