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When a relative or close friend dies, you may be involved in winding up their estate or sorting out their affairs.
If you are their next-of-kin (where no Will exists) or named as an executor in their Will, it will be your legal responsibility to perform these important duties.
After a death, the assets of the deceased person have to be distributed. This is relatively straightforward when there is a well-drafted Will in place. In most cases, you will need to apply for Probate which then gives you the necessary authority to administer the estate.
Where there is no Will or what is drafted is not legally valid, the next-of-kin will need to apply to the Family Division of the High Court for Letters of Administration. Without a Will, there is a set legal formula for distributing assets to beneficiaries which includes spouses, children and grandchildren.
If the total value of the estate, minus expenses, comes to more than £325,000, inheritance tax or death duties may need to be paid to the Inland Revenue. Bequests to spouses and charities are exempt from tax but for anyone else, this means any assets over the £325,000 threshold will attract a 40% tax rate. Married couples and registered civil partnerships can transfer their unused allowance to their surviving partner, effectively meaning a married couple will have a joint threshold of £650,000 before their children need to pay tax.
At FDR Law, our sympathetic, professional solicitors can give you expert advice on how to comply with all the legal responsibilities of winding up an estate. We can even shoulder the whole burden for you and act as estate administrators, if you wish.
If you need support administrating an estate and you aren’t sure what to do, let FDR Law guide you through the process with straightforward, jargon-free English. Contact us on 01925 230000 today or view our Estate Administration Client Guide.