Considering end of life arrangements can be daunting, but being prepared for them will help to make the process as easy as it can possibly be. Estate administration is the term used to describe the collation and sorting of the assets of a deceased person and then the distribution of them. How that happens largely depends on whether there is a valid Will or not.

If a valid Will exists, the estate can be distributed according to the wishes of the deceased. However, if there is no valid Will, then the Rules of Intestacy will apply, and the estate administration will need to be handled by the deceased's statutory next of kin.

Having solid legal advice will help you to act swiftly and accurately. Oratto member lawyers have a wealth of experience in handling all aspects of estate administration and will bring a knowledgeable, sensitive approach to your personal situation.

What exactly is a person's estate?

It is the sum total of all their assets, minus any debt. What this actually consists of depends on the person; what they owned and how they kept it. Usually, an estate is comprised of some or all of the following:

  • Property
  • Car
  • Bank or building society account(s)
  • Any possessions
  • Any further assets

Who administers an estate?

Estate administration will be done by the executor or executors of the Will. These will usually have been appointed by the deceased prior to death. If there is no Will, then the deceased's statutory next of kin becomes the one to deal with the estate.

What does estate administration involve?

This is a complex area and one best explained by a solicitor skilled in the relevant law. Oratto can put you in contact today with the right lawyer for you, who is fully experienced in handling Wills and Probate and who can begin advising you immediately.

Put simply, estate administration involves everything relating to the estate. Legal processes, tax, administration processes, valuation and distribution of the estate – which must all be done, if possible, according to the wishes of the deceased and within the law.

It can be a very difficult time when dealing with the death of a loved one. Seeking constructive, sensitive advice from Oratto member solicitors can help to put your mind at ease and provide valuable support through a stressful period. We are skilled in handling issues such as inheritance tax, settling utility accounts and consolidating any further assets.

Our member lawyers have many years of experience in handling estate administration, and they will be able to apply that experience when guiding you through the necessary procedures and decisions that need to be made. We can make sure that all processes are approached and dealt with properly, from registering the death, to the final reference to the Will.

Probate – full estate administration

The full administration of an estate involves the personal representatives – either the executors or administrators – and/or their probate solicitors taking all the steps inherent in the probate process. These steps include ensuring the registration of the death, through to obtaining the Grant of Representation and, ultimately, to distributing the estate among the beneficiaries, whether this is in line with the instructions of the will or the rules of intestacy.

Probate solicitors can help take the stress, inconvenience and administrative burden away from executors and administrators by handling the process confidently and efficiently from beginning to end.

If the executors or administrators don't have the time, or perhaps if they are wary of potential contention or sensitivities among family, beneficiaries or other interested parties, then they may feel that a full estate administration service would be a better option. This would certainly help to alleviate the following common concerns:  

  • Personal liability for losses arising as a result of errors – even those made in good faith
  • The complexities of Inheritance Tax and other tax arrangements
  • Ensuring the correct processes are in place for lifetime gifts or trusts
  • Contested probate

Full estate administration – what is provided

If you instruct one of Oratto's member probate solicitors to carry out a full estate administration service on your behalf, you can expect to receive the following:

  • Full information relating to the estate's assets and liabilities
  • Preparation of the HMRC tax return
  • Applications for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
  • Payment of tax liabilities
  • Tax efficiency
  • Payment of debts and other expenses
  • The finding of creditors
  • Payment of legacies
  • Estate account preparation
  • Administration of trusts
  • Distribution of the estate

This is an example of the services provided and not an exhaustive list. Please check with your chosen member lawyer for full details of the bereavement and probate services available.

Seek out an Oratto member for full estate administration services

A full estate administration service can help you achieve peace of mind. While having specialist probate solicitors representing the best interests of the beneficiaries of an estate enables you to feel confident that things are being handled correctly.

Not only can instructing a probate solicitor protect you from personal liability from any losses arising from errors you might make, it will also ensure that you have full and proper documentation to fall back on in the event of any contention or queries that arise in the future.

Browse through our member profiles today or try our Match Service so we can help you find the probate solicitor who is best suited to you.

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