People often ask whether an estate will ‘go to Probate’, although many are unclear exactly what this means. A Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration if there is no Will) authorises the Executor to administer the estate by collecting in...
I have been appointed as executor, what must I do?
You have a duty to administer the estate of the deceased person. This includes finding out what assets and liabilities the deceased had, paying any tax due and liabilities, gathering in the assets and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will.
I would rather not act as executor, what can I do?
There are various options open to you. If you are a sole executor you could appoint someone to act as an Attorney for the purpose of taking out the Grant. Alternatively, you could renounce executorship, in which case you give up your right to act as executor. Alternatively, you could have power reserved to you which means that you allow the other executors to take out the Grant and administer the estate, however you reserve the right to become the executor if the other executors are unable to do so in the future.
Does inheritance tax have to be paid before I can get a Grant?
You must pay all of the inheritance tax in relation to all non-property assets before you can obtain the Grant and one tenth of any inheritance tax due with regard to property. The remaining inheritance tax on the property will need to be paid annually in instalments or on the sale of the property, whichever is earlier.
What is a Grant of Probate?
This is a document issued by the Probate Registry which gives executors the legal authority to administer the deceased’s estate. A Grant of Letters of Administration is the equivalent document when someone died intestate (without a Will).
Are there any time limits relating to probate?
An executor is under a duty to send an inheritance tax account to HMRC within twelve months from the date of death. If there is inheritance tax to pay. Interest starts to run on any unpaid inheritance tax after six months from the end of the month in which the deceased person died. There is a duty on executors to pay legacies under the Will to a beneficiary within one year of the date of death. After that date, interest must be paid on that legacy. Generally, executors must act in a timely manner. This depends on the nature of the estate.