01 June 2021

I have found with people spending more time at home during lockdown, more people are dealing with the administration of the estates themselves when loved ones pass away. The online probate system has certainly made it easier for individuals to deal with this process themselves. However, you should not hesitate to contact a solicitor if you do require assistance, or indeed to ensure that you do not fall into any pitfalls particularly if the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax (IHT).

I would always recommend that these are points to look out for:-

There is a deadline for the payment of IHT at the end of the sixth month from the date of death. It may be possible to delay paying some IHT by opting for the ‘instalment option’ if there is property in the estate. There are also deadlines for claiming refunds of IHT if a property or shares are sold for less than the probate value, so you must ensure you comply with these to fulfil your duties as Executors.

To protect yourselves as Executors it may also be advisable to place a ‘Statutory Notice to Creditors’ which gives any creditors a two month period in which to present any debts of the deceased for settlement.

Your job as Executor is not complete until you have accounted to all the beneficiaries and in respect of residuary beneficiaries, ie those receiving a percentage of the estate, then you must provide them with estate accounts.

If you would like any advice on estates, even if you are planning to apply for a Grant of Probate yourself, please do get in touch with Christine Butterfield on 01935 216205 or email for a free half hour appointment by telephone, Zoom or in person.