Working With Various Professionals When You Are A Personal Representative In An Estate

If you have taken on the role of Executor or Administrator, there may be several professionals that you need to work with to properly administer an Estate.
UK Family and Matrimonial
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If you have taken on the role of Executor or Administrator, there may be several professionals that you need to work with to properly administer an Estate. The purpose of this article to highlight the likely professionals and their involvement in the process:

Solicitors and other Qualified Probate Professionals – these individuals will take you through the probate process and prepare the necessary calculations and paperwork that you will need to obtain the Grant of Representation and collect and distribute the Estate in accordance with the Will or rules of intestacy. At Ellisons, this process can be tailored to your needs depending on your level of involvement in the process:

  • Grant Only Service – If you need assistance with the inheritance tax forms and making the application for the Grant but are otherwise comfortable with collecting and distributing the Estate and working with other professionals then this service is a cost-effective way to use the technical knowledge of Probate Professionals. This service is particularly useful when there is no inheritance tax to pay and minimal assets to collect and distribute.
  • Full Administration Service – if you would prefer for Professionals to manage all aspects of the Estate, including the distribution of the Estate to the beneficiaries, then this service will result in the least amount of work for a Personal Representative.
  • BeSpoke Service– if you wish to help with some aspects of the Grant Only Service (for example, obtaining your own valuations) and require some assistance with latter aspects of the Estate after the Grant is obtained (for example, preparing Estate Accounts), then a bespoke service may be the right option. With this option, it is important to discuss upfront the overall process and clearly identify which aspects you require assistance with to avoid duplication and any confusion during the process.

Please see our Probate Guide for an overview of the probate process

  • Valuers – these individuals have different roles depending on the assets in the Estate. The most notable are Estate Agents and RICS valuers who provide a valuation of any property (residential or commercial) and can remain on board to assist with the sale. Other valuers include Auctioneers and other individuals who value the deceased's chattels. These valuations are relevant if the deceased has valuable possessions (eg, artwork, antiques, musical instruments, etc). Lastly, independent Stockbrokers can provide valuations of stocks and shares which can be useful if the deceased held numerous shares which are not part of a managed portfolio service.
  • Accountants – Accountants have an important role to play depending on the deceased's tax affairs during their lifetime and the type and value of assets in the Estate. Probate Professionals often work with Accountants to finalise the deceased's tax affairs up to date of death and report any income or gains during the administration period. Accountants can also register trusts that have been created in the Will or through intestacy with HMRC and provide ongoing assistance with tax returns (if required).
  • Conveyancers – if the deceased had a home or any other property which needs to be transferred or sold, Conveyancers will step in to complete this part of the process. Whilst Conveyancers often work in the same firm as the Probate Professionals, their fees are separate and not typically included in the probate fees.
  • Financial Advisors – these individuals may have assisted the deceased in managing and organising their assets during their lifetime. As such, they will usually have all the relevant valuations and other information to efficiently assist in the probate process. They can play an important role in managing any future trusts created by the Will or intestacy and provide invaluable advice to beneficiaries who may have inherited a large sum of money and would like to minimise inheritance tax in their own Estates.
  • Stockbrokers – if the deceased had individual shares or managed portfolios, Stockbrokers will be involved in selling or transferring the shares. Whilst Probate Professionals can sell the shares by using the company's Share Registrar, using an independent Stockbroker may be more cost effective and efficient particularly when there are numerous unmanaged shares.
  • Genealogists – a Genealogist may be required to carry out research into the deceased's family to establish the relevant heirs of an Estate. Their services are typically used in an intestacy where there is uncertainty over the extent of the deceased's beneficiaries. As beneficiaries can often be spread around the world, these services can be very costly to an Estate and highlights another important reason as to why individuals should make a Will. There may be situations where beneficiaries in a Will are unknown to family or have moved abroad and Genealogist, along with Private Investigators, can assist with contacting these individuals.

At Ellisons, we have formed relationships with many of these Professionals and can refer clients to ensure a seamless integration of their services throughout the probate process.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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