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The bigger picture - estate administration

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Heather Lally, Associate Solicitor, Estate and Trust Practitioner and fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly from FDR Law, considers the issues Executors and Administrators of estates should be wary of.

Each day we hear or see on the news statistics rising for the UK death toll, a time of grieving and loss for some. With much of the UK work force furloughed or on reduced hours and having more time on their hands, more people may be tempted to tackle the estate administration process themselves.

For some relatively small estates, this may be fine, but for others it can lead to an array of problems and potential claims, so beware.

Heather Lally comments “we are seeing more and more that banks are releasing funds to people without thorough checks to ensure that they are the Executors or Personal Representatives entitled to deal with the estate.”  This is of increasing concern especially for beneficiaries who may then have to make claims against the Executors or Personal Representatives.

If you are dealing with an estate and receive money you’re not entitled to then you need to deal with it properly or you could find yourself subject to court proceedings. 

If a Solicitor is involved, monies can be released to them to then pay to the appropriate beneficiaries when the estate administration process is complete.

Administering an estate can be more complicated than expected.  Many issues can arise including :

  • Disputes between those beneficiaries entitled and those who believe they should have received a benefit and have not done so.
  • Trusts created by the deceased’s Will where it is important to ensure that the correct Trust documentation is put into place.  This may involve transferring property to Trustees and including appropriate restrictions on the Land Registry Title for the property.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions will often question the assets of an estate and will want to compare this, with information that had been provided during the deceased’s lifetime.  This is to check that the correct benefits had been paid and if not they will claim it back.  Unfortunately, this is not always a quick process and it is important to not distribute the estate until all investigations are finalised and resolved, otherwise Executors may find themselves personally liable.

At FDR Law we can assist in all aspects of estate administration.

For more information in relation to estates please contact Heather Lally on 01928 739300 or email Heather.Lally@fdrlaw.co.uk