probate and administration of estates

To administer an estate is to deal with the assets and liabilities of someone who has died.

Some terminology:

  • Personal representatives (PRs) – means executors appointed by a will or administrators (when there are no executors appointed by a will) who administer an estate.

  • Assets – investments, land, property or anything of value.

  • Liabilities – debts or money owed by the person who has died i.e. unpaid taxes and bills.

  • Grant – an official document issued by the high court which confirms the authority of the PRs to deal with the estate.

What do PRs do?

No one has to act as PR. If you choose to take on the role of executor or administrator, then you have a number of obligations under general law, as follows:

  • to secure any property (collect keys, check insurances);

  • identify the assets;

  • identify the liabilities;

  • calculate and pay any inheritance tax due;

  • pay the liabilities and distribute any remainder according to the will, if there is one; otherwise according to the law which applies on intestacy.

The law holds PRs responsible for administering an estate correctly. If PRs pays the wrong person, they are personally liable, up to the value of the net estate, even if the PR did their best or did not realise they were making a mistake.

Some estates are straightforward to deal with; others are not. It is not always easy to tell which is which.

This firm has been undertaking administration of estates since the 1830s. We have a wealth of experience and practical knowledge.

We offer:

  • pro-active advice on efficient administration

  • advice on how to maximise tax exemptions and reliefs and identify tax saving opportunities

  • ensure proper precautions are taken to protect you from personal liability

  • a fast and efficient service working to the highest professional standards.