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.
Banner Jones have been appointed as the professional executors in the Will. Are you still able to act during the current circumstances?
Dealing with an estate is a complicated, time consuming, and difficult process, so it is common for people to appoint a solicitor as their professional executor, to reduce the burden on family and friends. As a long-standing law firm in the area, we have been appointed professional executors by many people over the years.
Please be assured that, whilst our offices are currently closed, our teams are all still working remotely and are fully able to continue in their roles of administrating the estate. The work involved in administering an estate is carried out by communications through e-mail, phone and post, all of which we still have usual access to. We are working with local contacts to ensure we are still able to deal with funeral and property arrangements, and are liaising with Government bodies to make sure we can still obtain Death Certificates and Grants of Probate.
How do I register a death?
We have been in touch with our local Registry Office who have confirmed that because they are classed as key workers, they will continue to remain open to register deaths. This will allow us to then progress your matter as normal.
We are however anticipating delays with the turnaround at the probate registry as things progress, but we will keep you updated as we know more.
I’d prefer to meet someone in person, is that possible during the Coronavirus measures?
We are making every effort to ensure that all work can be carried out remotely through phone calls, video conferencing, e-mail, etc, meaning you are not required to attend our offices as part of the process. That being said, we do understand that some clients may prefer a face-to-face meeting.
Whilst we are not currently in a position to meet clients in person, the process of administering an estate is quite complicated and can take several weeks to complete. Whilst we may have to speak to you remotely during the early stages of the process, we hope that the current restrictions may start to be lifted by the time we reach the later parts of your matter.
As soon as it safe for us to do so, we would then be more than happy to meet with you to talk about any matters you may prefer to discuss in person. In the meantime, we can still work on your matter and speak to you remotely, but hope to be able to see you in person soon.
My relative has made a Will with Banner Jones and they have passed away during the Coronavirus pandemic. What do I do?
Whilst our offices are currently closed, please be rest assured that our Wills & Probate team are still working remotely from home as per Government guidelines. Any Wills, Deeds, or other documents that we may hold for your relative are also still accessible from our secure, off-site storage facility. Please contact us on 01246 560560 or by e-mail at Wills@bannerjones.co.uk and a member of the team will be able to talk you through the next steps.
My relative has passed away and the executors named in the Will all live in different locations across the country. How do we all make contact with Banner Jones during the lockdown?
When a relative passes away, there will be a number of matters to discuss, and usually a large amount of paperwork and documentation to work through. Given the current circumstances, the logistics of getting everyone together to review and discuss everything can be quite challenging. Whilst our team are not currently able to meet you in person we are now arranging video appointments, through apps like Skype, Zoom and Facetime, where we can still speak to you from the comfort of your own home. These programs also allow for multiple people to be a part of the same video meeting, meaning that all executors can join-in, no matter where they might be in the country.
When it comes to documentation, our offices are closed to clients but we do still have a small team who are handling incoming post and ensuring it is passed on to the appropriate person. This means we are still able to take receipt of any documentation you send to us through the mail as usual. If you are worried about having to collect paperwork from the deceased’s home, we are also able to have your relative’s mail re-directed to ourselves, where we can take receipt and deal with everything for you.