You may need to apply for the right to deal with the estate of the person who’s died (also called ‘probate’).
If you already have the right or have probate (as an executor or administrator) you can start dealing with the estate.
Check if you need to apply for probate.
Get access to financial assets
You can ask for financial assets to be transferred to an agreed ‘executorship account’.
This can be either:
- an executor’s bank account
- an account that’s been set up only for dealing with the estate
Every executor named on the grant of probate may need to be present when you withdraw assets. Different asset holders have different rules, so check with them first.
Pay any debts and taxes
As the executor or administrator you must pay off any debts or outstanding payments before distributing the estate. This could include:
Place a notice in The Gazette to give creditors the chance to claim anything they’re owed. This will protect you from responsibility for any debts.
You can use money from the estate to pay any solicitor’s fees as part of the probate process.
You may also need to pay Inheritance Tax.
Jointly owned property and bank accounts
Money in a joint bank account automatically passes to the other owners. You still have to include this money as part of the estate when you work out Inheritance Tax.
If the person who died owned the whole of the home with another person (‘joint tenancy’), ownership passes to the other owner. Otherwise, their share goes to the beneficiary named in the will.
Distribute the estate
Once all debts and taxes have been paid, you can distribute the estate as detailed:
Beneficiaries may have to pay Income Tax if the assets they inherit generate income for them.
After this you can prepare the estate accounts. These must be approved and signed by you and the main beneficiaries.