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12/08/2020

Why use a professional to administer an Estate?

Zoe - Colour

It dawned on me as I gazed out of the window of my dining room/office that I have now been helping families administer Wills and Estates for over half of my life! Without giving my age away, that time spent has been challenging, surprising, fulfilling and satisfying throughout.

I particularly enjoy receiving suitcases full of old paperwork and piecing together someone’s life and financial situation; taking the burden off grieving loved ones, friends and neighbours. Inquests, run-ins with Armed Police and re-homing animals aside, finalising someone’s affairs and fulfilling their last wishes is, for me, a privilege.

Aside from the caring approach and attention to detail all of the Wills & Estates team at Thursfields have, there are many practical reasons why instructing a Professional Firm to administer an Estate would be beneficial.

1. Standards!

The majority of our lawyers are STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) members or affiliates and so are qualified to guide you through administering an Estate using highly regarded industry standards and practices.

2. Up to Date Knowledge

Our area of law has seen some far reaching changes in recent months, particularly in light of the Covid 19 pandemic. Thursfields’ Wills & Estates team has adapted and embraced the changes concerning online applications for Grants of Representation and receive direct updates from HM Probate Registries concerning timescales and procedure.

3. The Last Word… a Deed of Variation

Varying the terms of a person’s Will after their death is very much possible as long as certain circumstances are met. It may make financial and practical sense to redirect an asset or money to a third party or a trust. This is a discussion I often have with families by way of future proofing assets.

4. The Income tax position of an Estate

Income tax can be a minefield! A Personal Representative is obliged to wind up the income tax affairs of the deceased from the 6th April in any tax year to the date of death AND deal with any income produced by banks accounts/dividends/rental income after the date of death. This is something that can get overlooked and different rules apply to Estates and individual beneficiaries. I regularly advise on the best timing of transferring assets and look at the personal tax position of a party, with the input from a trusted accountant where appropriate.

5. Searches

A Professional Firm will always give you your options on what is available to protect Personal Representatives in administering an estate correctly. These include prescriptive legal notices to warn any unknown creditors, bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries with money woes and reports into any unclaimed assets that might not have been known about otherwise. Sometimes insurance is an option to protect against future claims against the estate which can offer finality to an otherwise tricky situation.

6. Time and Stress

Lastly, but probably most importantly, it cannot be underestimated how much time and angst goes into properly administering someone’s affairs correctly if you are doing it for the first time. Thursfields has the experience, agility and processes to progress matters efficiently ensuring peace of mind for all involved.

For further information on how we can help administer an estate please telephone 0345 20 73 72 8 or email info@thursfields.co.uk

Zoe - Colour

Zoe Perry,

Associate Solicitor, Wills & Estates

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