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Issues Arising From a Family Member’s Death

13-01-2011

During a very difficult emotional time the last issues that you want to arise are problems and confusions with administering an estate.

To administer someone’s estate, you may need to obtain a ‘Grant of Probate’.  To do this you need to ascertain the value of the deceased’s estate as at the date of death. This will include valuations of the deceased’s property, bank and building society accounts together with any investments and any personal possessions.

With estates over the current inheritance tax threshold of £325,000, there is likely to be an inheritance tax liability, in this case you will be required to complete an inheritance tax account known as an IHT400. This is a tax account requesting personal details of the deceased together with details of the deceased’s assets and liabilities.

Part of the inheritance tax liability must be paid on applying for the Grant of Probate. This can sometimes cause difficulties if insufficient cash funds are available.  All executors named in the Will who wish to apply for Probate must sign the tax account.

If the deceased was a widower you may be able to make use of the transferable nil rate band available from the deceased’s spouse estate, thus potentially increasing the nil rate allowance to £650,000. This will require a specific application to HM Revenue & Customs, together with details of the spouse’s estate (i.e. Grant Probate), death certificate and marriage certificate.

You will need to then apply for a Grant of Probate by contacting the probate Registry to arrange a personal interview with the Registrar. Solicitors are able to make the applications by post and will receive the application by post and will receive the Grant within ten working days of making the application.

The next step will be receiving the Grant of Probate, once you have received this you will be able to use it to sell property, close any bank accounts and cash in on any investments. Ultimately you will then be able to distribute the estate to beneficiaries.

This can be a lot of responsibility to handle on your own. Solicitors can guide you through what can be a complex and time consuming process.
Please contact the Inheritance Protection team.


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