Dealing with the administration of a will can involve financial, property and legal decisions – and it is best if Executors have experience of estate administration, as well as dealing with finances and property.
The first job of an Executor is to collect together all the assets belonging to the deceased, including money, property and possessions. These have to be valued accurately for the purposes of probate, so that assets can be distributed after any taxes such as inheritance tax or capital gains tax have been paid.
Beneficiaries do not have to be shown a copy of the will until probate has been granted – close family members may dispute this, but once probate is granted, the will is a matter of public record.
Once probate is granted, an Executor is responsible for distributing the estate once taxes have been paid. There is no time limit in which the estate has to be distributed – often probate takes months and in complex cases, it might take up to a year or more to settle a will.
It is usual for a solicitor to be appointed as a professional Executor to a will – and this can speed up the process, as specialist Probate solicitors such as ours can advise on current inheritance law, as well as tax thresholds and property law and finances.
It is not unusual for family friction to occur during the probate process given that understandably tensions are running high – and a Probate solicitor can deal with this by offering a professional and sympathetic approach and help prevent any family disputes if family members are acting as Executors.
Accounts must also be drawn up as a record of what each beneficiary has received – again, a specialist Probate solicitor can draw up accounts and make sure that an estate is distributed correctly and efficiently.
Duncan Lewis Probate solicitors can advise at any stage of the probate process – and have considerable expertise in the administration of estates, including high-value estates, estates where the deceased was a partner in a business and estates where there may be numerous beneficiaries.
There are Duncan Lewis offices nationwide – and our Probate solicitors offer competitively-priced fixed fees whenever possible to act as a professional Executor or advise Executors on the probate process.
For expert legal advice on wills, probate and executor duties, call Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate solicitors on 0333 772 0409.