When someone passes away, the task of dealing with the estate left behind will fall to one or more ‘Personal Representatives’. The term used for these Personal Representatives will depend on the circumstances, though their roles and responsibilities will largely be the same.
If the deceased had a Will, they will usually have left instructions for particular individuals to act as an ‘Executor’ and settle their affairs. If there was no Will, or if the named Executors are unable to act, then the Law will assign a family member (usually the next of kin) to act instead as an ‘Administrator’.
Regardless of the outcome, the Executors/Administrators will be responsible for dealing with the full administration of the estate or for appointing a Solicitor to handle this for them.
The key responsibilities of a Personal Representative include:
- Applying to the Court for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
- Completing Tax returns for Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax; and then paying the relevant tax amounts to HMRC
- Arranging for the sale/transfer of all assets in the estate, settling any liabilities, and distributing proceeds to beneficiaries as directed by either the Will or rules of intestacy as applicable.