Dealing with probate, legal & tax

Dealing with the legalities, finances and tax issues of a loved one’s passing can seem a convoluted and confusing landscape, particularly as you’re facing the emotional upheaval of grief. So here we provide a straight forward introductory guide to dealing with such issues with as little stress and uncertainty as possible. From here you can then read into further detail with links through to full articles upon each topic.

Probate and Estate Administration

Probate simply means the process by which a will is ‘proved’ in court and is deemed to be the true last testament of the person who has deceased. The administration of an estate is then undertaken by the named executors upon the will, unless there is either no named executor, they are themselves now deceased, or there is no will.

Estates: Wills and No wills

If the person left a will

If a person has left a will then the named executor, or executors, will deal with the estate. The probate registry will explain the steps that must then be taken.

If the person left no will

An administrator will be used for estates where there is no will – generally speaking a loved one can apply for the position if they are the next of kin. However it is the law that defines who inherits the estate when no will is left. Most notably an administrator or executor are not automatically entitled to a person’s estate, whether a will is left or otherwise.

Insolvent Estates

Insolvent estates are where the assets left by the deceased (such as property and money) fail to cover that which is owed by the deceased (their debts). Most notably an insolvent estate may also refer to one in which the funeral costs cannot be met. The order of priority for any estate’s assets is: 1. The funeral and administration expenses of the deceased; 2. Other debts in accordance with a bankruptcy order which must then be sought.

Read more about insolvent estates

Useful Contacts

Simplify Simplify provide complete services for bereavement, including advising upon tax and legal matters.

The Probate Service This Governmental service provides help and guidance with issues surrounding probate, as well as plenty of useful forms and a list of local probate registries.

Probate & Inheritance tax helpline T: 0300 123 1072 Mon-Fri 0900-1700 This official HMRC website provides answers to all of the main questions that may be asked around probate and the legalities of death. They also provide a pool of useful forms.

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