Death and Personal Representatives: Distribution and vesting of assets: Personal representatives: beneficial ownership: England/Wales
If the estate is in England and Wales the personal representatives will have power to distribute assets in advance of residue being ascertained under the provisions of Section 41 Administration of Estates Act 1925. That section lays down rules that must be observed if the personal representatives follow this course of action. Amongst other things the personal representatives must have ensured that the distribution will not prejudicially affect any specific bequest and that they obtain the consent of any person or trustee to whom the distribution is made. Therefore when the personal representatives are acting in accordance with the powers provided by the Act there should normally be formal evidence that steps were taken to vest assets in the legatee in advance of residue being ascertained.
Certain wills may provide the personal representatives with powers additional to the powers provided in the Act. For example, the will may remove the requirement to obtain consents from the person or trustee to whom the distribution is made. In such cases there may be little formal evidence concerning the vesting and establishing the facts may become more difficult.