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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts & estates administrator's duties

Administration of Estates Act 1925

The administrators become the legal owners of the deceased’s estate, but not for their own benefit. They are required to sell the assets and meet all debts of the estate. They may postpone the sale if they think this is advantageous.

They pay for the funeral, and meet any debts (including inheritance tax), out of the proceeds of sale. Then they calculate the amount of ‘residue’. This latter process is known as the ‘ascertainment of residue’. The rules of intestacy provide for distributing the residue. They are primarily contained in the Administration of Estates Act 1925. Details of the rules of intestacy are at TSEM7800 onwards