One of the most common complaints directed against Solicitors is the length of time it takes to administer an Estate. Clients are at their most vunerable after the death of a loved one and naturally want to see the whole Administration process finalised so they can get on with rebuilding their lives.
It is usual for Estates to take between six months and a year to administer, although there are of course the exceptions, particularly when an Estate is complex.
Every Estate is different but some general rules govern every Estate.
In England and Wales, where an Estate exceeds £5000, a 'Grant of Representation' is usually required in order to deal with any assets. Payment of any debts takes priority. If the Executors fail to discharge all the debts before they distribute the funds, they could find themselves personally liable.
To protect themselves, they are wise to take out a statutory notice which gives Creditors two months to make themselves known. It is not unusual for the DWP to consider a claim if the deceased received Pension credit or benefits.
English Law also allows claimants for whom inadequate provision has been made in the Estate to have six months from the date of the Grant in which to submit their claim. If the Executors ignore this and distribute early then they will be personally liable if the claim is successful.
Executors have a difficult job balancing their legal responsibilities against the wishes of relatives for closure, however it is better to act responsibly rather than regret making premature distributions.
With offices in Barrow, Dalton, Ulverston, Grange and Kendal, Poole Townsend is one of the longest-established probate and estate planning solicitors in Cumbria. You can get in touch via your local branch of Poole Townsend Solicitors or complete our online enquiry form.