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DIY Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration

Many people think that this is a doddle, especially when the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths give you the forms suggesting you should complete them without legal advice.

The essential stages for administering an estate are:

  1. Take control of the deceased’s assets and the deceased’s last will
  2. Obtain valuations of all assets and details of all outstanding debts
  3. Complete the Inland Revenue Account, setting out all the assets and liabilities, and claim the appropriate allowance
  4. Prepare and swear the Oath for Executors / Administrators
  5. Pay any inheritance tax due
  6. Obtain the Grant
  7. Submit to all asset holders and collect all assets and deal with any sales of land
  8. Discharge all debts and any outstanding income or capital gains tax
  9. Prepare Estate Accounts for approval
  10. Distribute the estate

But here are just a few of the difficulties that may arise:

  1. Is this the Last (i.e. the latest) Will and Testament and what essentials are necessary to make it valid? Where do you search for one if you believe another might exist?
  2. If there is no will, then who is entitled under the Rules on Intestacy to receive the estate? How much should they receive, and what are the current levels of Statutory Legacy? How do you trace a missing beneficiary, and what do you do if you cannot trace them?
  3. How accurate do the valuations for HMRC have to be, and what are the penalties if they are not (up to 100% of the potential lost revenue in additional to the tax due)?
  4. How long do you have to deliver an Inland Revenue Account, and when does interest start running on inheritance tax?
  5. Does all IHT have to be paid before a Grant is issued, and where can one obtain money to pay it?
  6. What if the living executors are too old/incapacitated to do the job, or if they have all died?
  7. How do you know if you have located all the deceased’s debts, and are you liable if more turn up later?
  8. How long should distribution be delayed to protect yourself against Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependents Act 1975 claims?
  9. Do you need to contact HMRC about any outstanding income tax from the beginning of the tax year to the date of death, and what do they need to know?
  10. What happens if you discover the estate has more debts than assets?

For answers to all these questions, contact one of our Wills & Inheritance Protection team at any of our offices for a consultation.

For further information or to speak to one of our experts, please get in touch