Estate Administration or 'Probate'

Duncan Turner Associates have partnered with Kings Court Trust as our preferred provider of estate administration. They are one of the leading specialist estate administration service providers in the UK.

This unique service means you can leave all the challenging tasks involved with estate administration to them for a fixed price with no hourly rates.

Download our guide to Estate Administration or 'Probate'


What is Estate Administration?

Estate Administration specialists Duncan Turner Associates
  Estate Administration is the process of dealing with a person’s legal, financial and personal tax affairs after they have died. The process is sometimes referred to as ‘Probate’ or ‘Confirmation’ in Scotland.

All estates need to be administered. This normally means dealing with all of the assets (such as personal property and personal possessions) and liabilities (such as outstanding debts; bills etc.) before transferring what’s left to the beneficiaries.


Executor or Administrator?

Executor's Role
If there is a Will, it should state who is responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate.

They are called the ‘personal representatives’ or ‘Executors’. There can be several Executors but only four can apply for a Grant of Probate.

The Executor’s role is to locate all assets, pay tax and debts, and distribute any remaining money, possessions and property in accordance with the instructions in the Will. This can be time consuming and a stressful experience.


Administrator's Role
If there is no Will, the personal representative is called an ‘administrator’. This is usually a close relative. An administrator will need to apply for a grant of representation before they have any authority to deal with the estate.

Small estates worth £5000 or less may not need probate or letters of administration but a grant of representation is almost always needed when the deceased’s estate includes property or land held in their own name or jointly with another person as ‘tenant in common’.


The Estate Administration Process

If you have been appointed as an Executor in a Will, or the next of kin if there is no Will, you may need to think about the points below to determine whether you should act or whether you should appoint a specialist legal firm to act on your behalf.  

A demanding role
These are some of the common things you must deal with when administering someone's estate. The list is not exhaustive.

• Gathering all information

• Contacting all people due to inherit

• Answering all questions and queries

• Applying for the Grant of Probate

• Closing bank accounts and paying debts

• Ensuring the family tree information is correct

• Dealing with shares and investments

• Completing Inheritance Tax forms

• Completing Income Tax forms

• Dealing with Capital Gains Tax

• Dealing with specialist legal work

Complicated estates
Certain estates may be more complex and you may decide to use a legal advisor with specialist knowledge and experience in the administration of estates.

Consider these situations: 

• Estate attracts Inheritance Tax and forms needed

• Doubts over the validity of the Will

• No Will and the estate is valued over £270,000

• Handling claims against the estate

• Complicated Will clauses

• Insolvent estates

• Estates with foreign property

• Deceased domiciled outside UK for tax purposes


Inheritance Tax (IHT)
Inheritance Tax is payable at a rate of 40% on estates whose value exceeds a threshold of £325,000. Estates below this value do not pay tax.

In most cases the total IHT liability (once calculated by the Executor(s) must be paid before a grant of representation is issued. If there are insufficient funds available to pay the liability, it may be necessary to take out a loan or arrange with banks to pay money directly to the HM Revenue & Customs.

Residence nil rate band (RNRB)
Some estates may qualify for the residence nil rate band (RNRB). If someone dies and their estate is worth more than the basic Inheritance Tax threshold, their estate may qualify for the RNRB before any Inheritance Tax is due.

For example: If someone dies on or after 6 April 2017 and they owned their own home or share of one, their estate may be entitled to a higher threshold. This is the residence nil rate band (RNRB). The extra amount for 2021 to 2026 is up to £175,000.

To qualify, the person who died must have left their home, or a share of it, to their direct descendants.

A person does not have to leave the whole of the home to direct descendants. If they only inherit a share of the home, you calculate the available RNRB on the basis of the value of that share.


Important Considerations

Time consuming and responsibility
Dealing with the administration of someone’s estate can take many months (not weeks), depending on the complexity of their affairs. If you think you can do it yourself, make sure you can cope with the demands on your time.

If you choose to administer the estate yourself you can reduce costs but you must deal with a lot of paperwork and take on a lot of responsibility.

Liability for errors
You are legally responsible for meeting ALL legitimate claims (including tax).

If you don’t act correctly, you could become personally liable for any errors and be sued by one or more of the beneficiaries.


Your Options

Do it yourself
You can choose to administer the estate by yourself (together with any other appointed Executors) and assume the responsibilities and risks of the position.


Appoint us
For your total peace of mind at such a sad time, you may prefer to appoint a specialist legal firm to do the work on your behalf. We have partnered with Kings Court Trust to offer you a unique fixed fee estate administration service.

They have a variety of solutions to support you. Estate administration is all they do and can take care of all the complicated matters. Their Tax and Legal team can give you advice on any situation. Whether or not there is a Will, their team of experts can take care of it all. They know how to handle intestacy, locate missing beneficiaries, deal with foreign shares and reseal a Grant of Probate.

Kings Court Trust - specialists in estate administration

To discuss Estate Administration call us on 0330 311 0910