When you receive your grant of probate it’s time to distribute the estate. That is, give the deceased’s possessions to the intended beneficiaries.
This process is known as estate administration.
Before you distribute the estate
You must make sure any outstanding tax, debts or bills and any expenses are paid before you begin distributing the assets.
To protect yourself, place a ‘Statutory Notice for Creditors’ in the press, allowing two months for any claims to be made. If you don’t, as executor, you are personally responsible for any claims that arise. If you place the notice, any future claims against the estate are made against the beneficiaries instead.
Get clearance from HMRC for any inheritance tax, income tax or capital gains tax liability.
Draw up estate accounts for all the assets collected, income built up and any bills paid since the date of death so you have a final record.
Distributing the estate
Now you can complete the wishes of the deceased as left in their will.
Firstly, you can give specific items of personal property to the named beneficiaries. Note, you can do this before the grant of probate is received as long as you value the item first.
Next, apportion the remaining assets among the beneficiaries.
If you use YouCanDoProbate, our Beneficiary Schedule will calculate what each person is entitled to for you, so you can use that as a guide to make sure the wishes in the will are carried out.
What if there’s no will?
Then the law decides who gets what. The Rules of Intestacy must be applied and the estate distributed accordingly. Read more about Intestacy here.
If you use YouCanDoProbate’s Intestacy Walkthrough, it will apply the Rules of Intestacy for you and calculate who gets what.
What about additional income accrued since the date of death?
Any additional income since the date of death should be distributed in accordance with the terms of the original Will or Rules of Intestacy.
This additional income is not included in the Beneficiary Schedule or Intestacy Schedule and will need to be accounted for separately, to the relevant beneficiaries.
Final accounts and paperwork
You should keep clear records of the work you’ve done, and any documents so you can answer any questions or challenges over how you administered the estate, for example:
- letters from HMRC confirming that you paid Inheritance Tax
- receipts showing debts paid, for example utilities bills
- receipts for your expenses from dealing with the estate
- written confirmation that ‘beneficiaries’ (anyone who inherited) received their share of the estate
Send copies of the final accounts to all beneficiaries.
You must keep all paperwork associated with the estate, including the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration for a minimum period of 12 years.