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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Legal background to trusts and estates: delays in paying specific bequests

Executors must satisfy creditors before they can pay out bequests.

They normally have a year to administer an estate. In some cases they can justify a longer period. Until then, they are not obliged to pay out legacies. They can do so if they choose. But this must not prejudice the interests of other beneficiaries. This depends on the size of the estate.

Legal formalities can delay handing over assets. This can happen even when personal representatives have finished administering the estate.