People can amass a range of assets in different places throughout their lifetime and can also have a range of debts and policies too, all of which have to be managed and dealt with after they have died.
In most cases, people don’t keep detailed lists of their assets or their debts and so it becomes a time-consuming challenge for executors. Despite the difficulties they may face it is important that all affairs are handled in the right way by the executors. Everything that a person owns is considered to be part of their estate and this is what executors will need to manage and deal with once they have obtained a Grant of Probate.
The deceased will hopefully have created a Will otherwise their estate will be distributed by the strict rules of intestacy. However, to gain a clear understanding, it is important to obtain the following information:
• Determine whether they held any cash at their home as this will form part of the estate.
• Did they own any premium bonds?
• Did they have any shares? Can you locate share certificates?
• Where did they bank?
• Did they lend any money to others and if so, where?
• All possessions which would include the likes of cars, jewellery and even furniture.
• Do they have any other property?
• Check insurance policies.
• Did they have any credit cards, store cards or purchase anything on finance?
All organisations will need to be contacted and provided with the death certificate and an accurate valuation of the asset at the date of death must be obtained. It will also be necessary to freeze all banks and building societies accounts as well as any pensions or shares they might have been receiving an income from.
You will also need to contact the DWP so that any future benefit payments can be stopped to prevent an overpayment.
If there is no surviving joint tenant of a house then the property will form part of the estate. This will then be passed to the beneficiary as per the wishes in the Will. If individual possessions are specified to pass to a beneficiary then this will need to be done too, otherwise, they will be sold and will become part of the general residuary estate.
With all of the asset information in place, it’s wise to make a summary of it and produce accurate estate accounts. You can then show all debts and expenses that will need to be paid from the estate before the residue can be finalised and distributions made. Inheritance tax can then be calculated against the value of the estate and the correct IHT form completed for submission to HMRC. Once HMRC provides a receipt for the payment, and the Grant of Probate has been received, it is then possible to request the transfer of assets into the new executors account so that the administration can correctly be carried out.