Personal representatives: period of administration
The period during which the personal representatives are settling the estate is called a period of administration. The period starts with the death of the deceased person. The date on which it ends is a question of fact which is often difficult to resolve. During this period the liability for Capital Gains Tax on sales of assets from the estate falls on the personal representatives unless they have taken specific steps to vest the ownership of the assets involved in legatees in advance of the sale, see CG30910.
When considering when administration is complete the Courts look for a construction of the law that leads to an early conclusion of administration. The leading case in this respect is CIR v Sir Aubrey Smith 15TC661.
In his judgement Lord Hanworth MR set out a principle of general application when he said, at the bottom of page 675, top of page 676
`The question is, in all cases: has the administration of the Estate reached a point of ripeness at which you can infer an assent, at which you can infer that the residuary estate has been ascertained and that it is outstanding and not handed over merely for some other reason’.
On this basis we would normally argue that the period of administration ends when residue has been ascertained, see CG30780+.