A Guide to Dealing with the Assets of a Person Who Has Died ("the deceased")

There are two main types of Grant - a Grant of Probate where the person who has died has left a Will, or Grant of Letters of Administration where the person has died without a valid Will. We can assist you with both types of Grant.

First of all, a detailed list of all the assets of the estate should be drawn up. This will include the deceased's money (cash and money in bank and building society accounts, proceeds of life insurance policies, property such as their home, stocks and shares, and personal possessions such as jewellery, car, and antiques.

Secondly, a list of all the debts of the deceased needs to be collated, e.g. credit card debts, loans, bills, or outstanding mortgages or rent.

These lists will help to establish the value of the estate and whether any inheritance tax will be payable. There are also many other matters which will need to be dealt with before a Grant can be issued by the Court. The following is a brief list of the main actions to be taken:

  • Writing to assets holders to establish the date of death valuations
  • Writing to any creditors to establish debts
  • Searching for unknown or missing assets
  • Ascertaining the deceased's income tax position
  • Preparing a list of assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Calculating the inheritance tax due
  • Arranging payment of the inheritance tax and obtain a receipt from HMRC
  • Preparing the Court papers and applying for the Grant
  • Collecting the monies from the various asset holders
  • Paying any debts of the estate
  • Paying legacies due under the terms of a Will
  • Preparing estate accounts and paying proceeds to the beneficiaries
How long will it take?

On average, simple estates are dealt with within 6 to 8 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 12 to 16 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 4 to 6 weeks, or longer if there is a property to sell. Once this has been done, we prepare estate accounts for approval and can distribute the assets. If it is anticipated that the final assets (e.g. the sale of a property) is going to take some weeks or months after the initial assets are released, it may be possible to make an interim payment to beneficiaries prior to the sale of the property.

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