We now live in a digital age where a whole host of resources and information are available at our fingertips and so more people are attempting tasks that they may have taken professional advice on in the past. However, one thing that you should be wary of attempting to do yourself is an estate administration. Whilst the forms are readily available online, there are a number things that not explained and can lead to traps for the unwary.
Am I exposed, or just the estate?
Executors can be held personally liable in a number of circumstances, even if they have unknowingly make a mistake. This could mean that their own assets (and not just those of the estate) can be at risk.
This can be the case when a creditor comes to light once the estate has been distributed, or if an absent or aggrieved relative later appears and wants to make a claim. Likewise, many people will take a Will at face value and not be aware of provisions applied by law that exist in statute, rather than in the Will itself.
Have you considered the emotional, as well as administrative burden?
When a person dies, emotions often run high and minor things can easily be blown out of proportion. Even the closest of families can fall out and problems can surface that were not there before. Taking on the burden of administering an estate whilst grieving a close friend or family member can be extremely challenging and onerous. People often underestimate just how long the grieving process can take. In some instances it can be better to allow a professional to deal with the estate, so the family can allow themselves the time they need to grieve without any additional stress.
I’ve sorted the tax bit, haven’t I? Why have I received a HMRC penalty? I have a large capital gains tax bill, could this have been avoided?
Executors have a tendency to focus on Inheritance Tax however there are other forms of tax involved in the administration of an estate. In an environment of self-assessment, executors can often fall foul of reporting rules and duties to HMRC. Additionally, planning opportunities to save or reduce tax can often be missed or overlooked.
It’s expensive, isn’t it?
DIY undertakings can often be a false economy. You may expose yourself or the estate to additional costs, if matters are wrong or overlooked. The legal fees for administering an estate come out of the estate value itself. Glanvilles publishes our estate administration fees on our website and we will always issue clients with confirmation of our fees in writing at the outset, and keep clients informed along the way.
Glanvilles Estate administration advice services
It is for these reasons it is best practice to seek the assistance of a qualified, professional advisor. They will be able to highlight the ways an executor can protect themselves, and they can ensure all provisions of the will are considered – both express and implied. Taxation planning can be put into place and the professional can maintain a level of independence to prevent any issues from arising.
Here at Glanvilles our team of experienced lawyers are ready to assist you, to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help with the process of applying for probate and administering an estate by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01329 282841.
If you've been appointed as an executer, you can read our latest article here exploring options that may be available to you.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice, and should not be relied upon as advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. All content was correct at the time of publishing. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.