The administration of an estate, sometimes referred to as probate, is a legal process that occurs after an individual passes away. The aim is to settle any debts and distribute the assets in an orderly manner.
While the specifics can vary by jurisdiction, this article provides a general overview of the administration process and its key components.
What Is The Process Of Administration Of An Estate?
Below, we will break down the common steps involved when going through the estate administration process.
1. Identifying And Valuing Assets
The first step is to create an inventory of the deceased person’s worldwide assets (joint and sole).
This includes property, bank accounts, investments, personal property, and any other belongings. The total value of the estate is crucial for tax purposes.
2. Paying Debts And Taxes
The estate is responsible for settling outstanding debts and taxes.
This includes funeral expenses, outstanding bills, and any other taxes owed. The executor must ensure that all financial obligations are met.
3. Verifying The Will
If the deceased person left a Will and probate is required to administer the estate, the Probate Registry needs to verify its authenticity.
This involves ensuring that the document meets legal requirements, such as being properly signed and witnessed and that no caveat has been lodged. If the Will is proved, probate is granted and becomes a public document.
If there is no Will or the Will is invalid, the next of kin must instead apply for a grant of letters of administration from the Probate Registry.
4. Distributing Assets
With the grant issued and debts settled, the remaining assets can be distributed according to the terms outlined in the will or, in the absence of a will, according to the laws of intestacy in the jurisdiction.
5. Challenges To The Will
It’s not uncommon for family members or other interested parties to contest the validity of a will.
Challenges may be based on allegations of undue influence, lack of capacity, or improper execution of the will.
These disputes can significantly prolong the probate process and may require additional legal proceedings.
When Does The Administration Period Of An Estate End?
The administration period of an estate ends when all responsibilities of the executor or administrator have been fully discharged.
This typically involves settling all debts and taxes owed by the estate, distributing the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries according to the will or the rules of intestacy if there is no will, and completing any other legal or financial obligations tied to the estate.
The precise duration can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the estate, the existence of any legal disputes, and the efficiency of the executor or administrator.
Once all these tasks are completed and the final accounts have been prepared and approved, the estate can be considered closed, concluding the administration period.
Get In Touch
If you’re looking for a solicitor experienced in estate administration, get in touch with our Wills And Probate team.
Disclaimer: The information on the TV Edwards website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication.