How to Deal with a Will on death

Although it can often be considered as a delicate subject, following on from a death, someone has to deal with the estate of the deceased person. A person’s estate is everything owned by that person; this could involve their money, property, shares, personal possessions and sometimes even debts. In the majority of cases, a family member or friend will take on the role of ‘executor’ or ‘administrator’ in order to correctly distribute belongings in accordance to the will.

The organisation of a will can often be a difficult process, with many individuals confused as to where to start. Prior to dealing with the estate of a family member or loved one who has passed away, you must first check that a will exists. The details of a will are likely to outline who is responsible for sorting out the estate and instructions as to how the estate will be shared or passed on.

Difference between an executor and administrator

 The executor or administrator is the person responsible for handling the estate:

  • An executor is someone who is named in the will as being legally responsible for handling the estate – if you are an executor to a will, you may have to apply for probate. This is a special legal authority for you to be able to deal with the will.
  • An administrator is someone responsible for dealing with an estate if there is no will, or if the named executor refuses to handle the estate. If you are an administrator to a will, you must ensure you apply for letters of administration before you can handle the estate.

Responsibilities managed by a solicitor

The personal representative of a will (ie. the executor or the administrator) has numerous responsibilities, meaning a solicitor or some form of legal representation is recommended. Responsibilities that can be managed by a solicitor include:

  • Identifying all the financial documentation belonging to the person who has passed away.
  • Registration of the death certificate to all banks, building societies, insurance companies and pension funds that are holding the money of the person who has passed away.
  • Requesting appropriate information to apply for probate and deal with the deceased’s income tax affairs.
  • Preparing Estate Accounts
  • Working out any inheritance tax and paying it.
  • Preparing and sending off the documents required by the probate registry and HM Revenue and Customs.
  • Informing organisations such as the tax office and the Department for Work and Pensions.

There may also be other factors of the person’s will that will be a long and gruelling process for a grieving relative or friend to deal with. For example, if the person who passed away has left money in a trust, owns property overseas or owns a business, this will all be involved in their estate. Furthermore, if you are not an executor or administrator and the person who is seems to be abusing their legal authority, it is vital that you seek legal advice.

Contact us

Here at Forbes Solicitors, we pride ourselves on being recognised as one of the legal profession’s industry leaders in the UK. Our clients are always at the forefront of our minds, and we will do all we can to help you in your time of need. You can contact us by phone for an initial chat with an expert in deal with the administration of a will – just call freephone 0800 037 4625. Alternatively, please contact us via email or call in to one of our branches.

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