It is often a misconception that when you are looking to appoint a professional person or company, such as a law firm, to manage and administer your estate after you have passed away or the estate of a loved one that has passed away, that you should always find someone who is local to you. This doesn’t always have to be the case and it can sometimes be more advantageous to use a professional that isn’t local to deal with estate administration.
What is estate administration?
The process of estate administration is the management of a person’s legal affairs and assets (e.g. property, bank accounts, personal possessions, etc.) after they have passed away.
Why choose a professional to handle estate administration?
Often estate administration is handled by the appointed executor or administrator but some people choose to instruct a professional to deal with their estate after their death. Alternatively, the appointed executor or administrator can choose to instruct a professional to handle their loved ones estate administration.
Appointing a professional can avoid potential issues relating to estate administration, which can include errors which expose the estate to litigation, increased tax costs and other potentially serious penalties.
By instructing a professional, it ensures that:
- The necessary forms and documentation are correctly filled in and submitted;
- It protects the executors from any personal liability if they make any errors administrating the estate; and
- It ensures that the estate’s value is also protected.
Should I always use a local professional to deal with estate administration?
Whilst most people will usually appoint a local professional to handle their or their loved ones estate administration, it is not always necessary and it be done by a professional remotely or from a distance. All contact between the executors and professional estate administrators can take place without face to face meetings via phone calls, post and/or email correspondence.
One of the biggest benefits of not using a local professional, can be that it is much less costly doing so. For example, a professional based in London will most likely charge much more than a professional which is not based in England’s capital for estate administration, such as our expert team of Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.
Additionally, if you are an executor, you may think you have to use the appointed professional estate administrator as specified by the deceased or the professional who drafted their Will and/or Lasting Power of Attorney (if one or both exists). As an executor, you are under no obligation to use this professional and can find an alternative if you wish.
How Nelsons can help
Helen Salisbury is a Partner in our Wills, Trusts and Probate team.
At Nelsons, our team of specialists can assist with the administration of an estate. We are able to advise on the full range of estate administration, including any inheritance disputes brought against the estate or any business asset considerations. Our costs are charged by the amount of time spent administering the estate, instead of a percentage of the overall worth of it, which we find a much fairer way of charging for this type of work.
Our service includes:
- Speaking with you to take your instructions and advise you regarding the estate administration.
- Agree with you what work you require us to undertake in the estate administration and what work you wish to carry out yourself.
- Consider all of the necessary paperwork to identify the actual or potential estate assets and liabilities.
- Contact the institutions with whom the estate assets and liabilities are or may be held or owed to obtain the information and paperwork required from them.
- Collate the information we receive from those institutions into an Estate Account.
- Prepare the Probate application paperwork and any Inheritance Tax accounts required by HMRC. Claim any Inheritance Tax allowances available and calculate the amount of Inheritance Tax due.
- Liaise with you to complete the paperwork and to provide you with an update regarding the estate administration.
- Arrange to pay the Inheritance Tax due from the deceased’s bank accounts.
- Obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
- Once the Grant has been issued, collect in the monies due to the estate and pay out the estate liabilities.
- Contact the estate beneficiaries to check their identity and, once funds are available, to pay out the legacies/distributions due to them.
- Submit a corrective account, if needed, to HMRC to finalise the Inheritance Tax position.
- Prepare Final Estate Accounts and provide the executors/administrators and residuary beneficiaries with a copy of these.