The prospect of having to deal with your loved one’s financial affairs (estate) when they have passed away, as well as dealing with your own grief, can be daunting. It is often a complex area, particularly with regard to tax issues, and many people often need help to navigate their way through the legal process.
It may be necessary to apply for a legal document, known as a ‘grant of representation’ to enable you to deal with the estate. This will depend on the value of the estate at the time that the person died, and whether they had money or property in their sole name or jointly with another person.
The person legally entitled to deal with the estate is known as a personal representative.
If a valid Will has been left, that correctly appoints an executor, that person is the personal representative and is authorised to deal with the estate. In this case the grant of representation is called a Grant of Probate. (There may be more than one executor/personal representative).
If a valid Will has not been left then the grant of representation is called a Grant of Letters of Administration, and the rules of intestacy will set out who is entitled to be the personal representative and authorised to deal with the estate. These can be quite complicated and the consequences quite onerous if not done correctly.
In each case, the application for the grant of representation involves completing various forms that then have to be sent to the Probate Registry. The forms can be sent to whichever Probate Registry you choose – there are numerous ones around the country. In addition, if the estate is subject to Inheritance tax, certain forms need completing and sending to the Inland Revenue, and any Inheritance tax paid, before you can apply for the grant of representation.
Once the grant of representation has been obtained, the personal representatives can then deal with administering the estate, either in accordance with the terms of the Will or under the rules of intestacy.
Personal representatives often deal with the application for the grant of representation themselves. However, if this is not done correctly, or if the estate is distributed incorrectly, it can lead to the personal representatives being personally liable. Therefore, we would always suggest that except in the most straight forward of estates thought is given to obtaining legal advice.
How we can help
Our highly experienced team can advise you on all aspects of dealing with someone’s affairs after they have died. We will advise which, if any, grant you need to apply for, or if you prefer we can make the application for you.
We can take the process out of your hands entirely or can simply guide you through the steps needed to make sure that all of the finances and assets are in order. The choice is yours – we will be involved as much or as little as you like.
If you would like more details about how we can help, or just want a confidential chat about your options, contact our friendly team today.