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Estate Administration

We recognise that the loss of a loved one is a difficult and stressful time and offer a full estate administration service, founded on the principles of sensitivity and care and of providing practical and straightforward advice.


It's not easy to think about a time when you won't be able to make your own decisions, but it can help to be prepared.

When someone close to you dies, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the tasks to be considered and the unfamiliar language associated with them. Firstly, it is important to understand the basics so this blog post aims to answer some of the most common questions associated with handling an individual’s estate after they have died including ‘what is probate?’, ‘what is estate administration’ and ‘what is the difference between probate and estate administration?’.

You may be aware of ‘probate’ but you have probably not heard of the term estate administration. They’re both related to dealing with the deceased’s estate but they have different definitions and people often get the two confused.

The executors of an estate might find the responsibilities of their duties a little overwhelming, either because they are deeply affected by the bereavement or where the estate is particularly complex. Or it may be that the named executors are no longer alive, or otherwise unable to carry out the role, for example, due to illness. In these circumstances, it is comforting to know that the job of estate administration can be handled by a professional firm if required. At Protego we can offer a service that identifies your assets & liabilities, submits inheritance tax forms to HMRC, and deals with the various official channels involved in registering a death. On receiving the grant of probate, we can then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries. The role of an executor is likely to be unfamiliar to most people, which is why a friendly professional service can be enormously reassuring at the relevant time.

What is probate?

Probate may be required when someone passes away. It refers to the ‘grant of probate’, officially known as the ‘grant of representation’ in England and Wales and ‘confirmation’ in Scotland. Probate is required by law if the estate is worth more than £5,000 in value, if the deceased owned any property or if a financial institution (e.g. a bank or building society) needs to see the ‘grant of representation’ in order to release the funds. Probate will not be needed if the assets were held jointly as they will automatically pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner.

Applying for probate involves

Completing the application via a PA1 form in England or a C1 form in Scotland. Submitting the application by sending all of the details, including the death certificate, to the probate registry. Once the probate registry has received the application, you’ll be required to swear an oath which is a promise that the information you have given is true to the best of your knowledge. You’ll need to do this in person at a local probate office or at the office of a commissioner for oaths. Probate is often mistaken for all of the tasks to be completed following a bereavement but it actually just refers to obtaining the grant to enable you to carry out these tasks.

What is estate administration?

To put it simply, estate administration is the process of handling a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died. This means dealing with all of their assets (e.g. property, personal possessions, shares and bank accounts), paying any Inheritance Tax and Income Tax and distributing inheritance to the estate’s beneficiaries. Estate administration can often be extremely complex, time-consuming and an added stress at an already difficult time for the Executor or Administrator.

Obtaining the grant of probate is usually a part of estate administration but it is so much more and could involve:

Applying for probate of confirmation Completing all Inheritance Tax forms Income Tax work for the year of death Postal redirection Registering unregistered properties Valuing assets Property valuation and sale Cancelling or transferring utilities Arranging for a pet to be re-homes Distributing funds to beneficiaries And much more The Executor or Administrator does not have to take full responsibility, they can choose to appoint a professional to handle the estate on their behalf.

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Business Succession

If you own and run a family business, have you thought about who was to take over your business upon retirement or death or disability? Depending on the legal structure of your business, it’s entirely possible that your family could be left with responsibilities they are ill-equipped to take on. If the business is a partnership, the surviving partner could find themselves in a difficult position as they are unable to continue to run the business without the involvement of the deceased partner’s family. Talk to us about the options available to you, tailored to your specific requirements.

Document Storage

Having made a Will, it makes sense to ensure that it can be easily accessed when needed. We offer secure storage of your Wills, Title Deeds and Lasting Powers of Attorney. As long as your Will is stored with us and you pay an annual subscription, we provide you with unlimited updates to your existing Will, whenever required as and when your circumstances change, at no further charge.

Your Will is an important legal document and if you choose to store it yourself, make sure you store it safely and securely. If you lose the Will you may die intestate and if it is defaced or appears to be tampered with, it may be deemed invalid. We will register and store your original signed will at a secure facility and provide you with a certificate of registration, along with a copy of the will.

Estate Administration FAQs

What is estate planning?

Deciding and documenting how you would like your assets to be distributed can be encompassed by the broader term “estate planning“. An estate plan covers all aspects of the administration of your estate and associated matters. Whilst this is not a nice topic to think about, creating a plan is vital to ensure that your wishes are honoured and to prevent disagreements between your relatives. Making a will, valuing your estate, planning who will take over your business (if you own one) and creating a lasting power of attorney are all important parts of your estate plan. If executed correctly, you can rest assured that all your wishes will be respected.

What is inheritance tax?

Inheritance tax is calculated based on the value of the estate - the property, money and possessions - of a person who has died. There is very often no inheritance tax to pay if:

• The value of your estate is below the £325,000 threshold • You leave all your assets to a spouse or civil partner, a charity or a community amateur sports club

What is my estate?

Your estate includes everything you own in terms of money, property and possessions, eg cash, shares, real estate and cars. Anything you owe, eg on a credit card, must come out of your estate when you pass.

Who should handle my estate?

This will usually be a surviving family member or close friend and is normally named in your will as an ‘executor’. If there is no will, the person who handles your estate will be appointed by the court (called an ‘administrator’).

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