Q. What happens after a Grant of Probate has been issued?
A. Once the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration where there is no Will) has been issued, the Executors or Administrators have permission to deal with the assets of the person who has died. In practice, this means that they can now take steps to collect in the assets – by closing bank accounts, cashing in life policies and selling the deceased’s property.
Q. What do they do when they have collected in all the money?
A. Once the Executors have the money it is their responsibility to make sure that any bills, taxes and other debts are paid and to divide the estate in accordance with what is in the Will (where there is one) or in accordance with the rules of intestacy (where there is no Will). They need to look at the deceased’s income tax and Capital Gains Tax and fill in any necessary tax returns. Although a lot of people think that the administration is straight forward, the Executors or Administrators have a lot of responsibility. The Executors can be held personally liable if anything goes wrong. For example, it is their responsibility to make sure that the deceased’s house is insured, up to the day it is sold. Sometimes, Executors think that just keeping the existing policy is alright – but it isn’t. Unless the Executors have notified the insurers that a house is empty because the person has died and complied with any additional terms that the insurance company might apply, the policy can be invalid, and the insurance company can refuse to meet any claim. If there is a burst pipe which leads to the house being flooded, or an electrical fault which leads to a fire, if the Executors have not made sure that the house is properly insured, then they have to pay for any loss from their own pocket. In the case where there is an electrical fault which leads to a serious house fire which could even spread to neighbouring properties, the costs to the Executors can be enormous. This is why it is so important not to take anything for granted and just think that it will be alright.
At Poole Townsend we have a team of experts who are here to help with practical advice and support every step of the way. We are local, so you don’t end up having just one face to face meeting and then having to deal with everything else down the phone. This is what happens with a lot of large organisations such as banks and certain undertakers. They will see you the first time to get your business, and once you have signed up they will pass you on to one of their call centres.
The last thing that those people want when they have just lost someone close to them is the added worry of large solicitors bill or unexpected fees. Knowing where you are before any work is carried out with no hidden future costs is reassurance and certainty. At Poole Townsend we offer free initial advice and can give you a fixed price for sorting things out before we start any work.
For a free appointment without obligation telephone Michelle on (01229) 402229 or Marie on (01229) 402230.
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter