Dealing with a deceased estate can be a tricky task especially at a time when you may be grieving your loss, so knowing what to do and how to do it is both important (so you do it right) and helpful (so you know what to do in the first place).
If you are facing dealing with probate after the loss of a loved one then have a read of our other supporting blogs on the subject. Our blog explaining what probate is, is a great place to start, and if you need more detailed information regarding the more intricate steps then our blogs 'How do I establish the value of a deceased's Estate?' and 'What is the Grant of Probate?' can arm you with useful information.
One of the very important steps is to gather the assets in readiness for them to be distributed to the beneficiaries.
What assets do I need to gather?
When a person dies, they will inevitably leave things behind, whether that be cash, property, or personal possessions, it all needs to be dealt with and passed to whoever is the rightful beneficiary of the assets. Typically, the most important assets will have been considered in the deceased’s Will, meaning that there should be no issue in getting the assets to the right person.
As the Executor, it is your role to gather the assets (unless you have employed the services of a solicitor). But what assets do you need to gather?
- You will need to collect all cash, whether that be cash in hand (as in physical cash held by the deceased) and cash from bank and savings accounts.
- You’ll need to have the relevant sale or transfer documentation completed for the sale or transfer of any property.
- You may need to sell or transfer shares or investments held in the name of the deceased.
- You may need to decide whether to cash premium bonds in now or allow them to stay in the draw for 12 months from the date of death.
- You may need to complete forms to claim life policies or lump sums due from pensions if these are payable to the estate.
- You may need to employ a house clearance property to clear the home and sale the personal possessions that the beneficiaries don’t want.
How do I gather the assets?
Gathering assets is both a physical activity and a virtual activity, depending on what the asset is. For example, it’s quite reasonable for you to pick up and care for an expensive watch, but far more difficult to ‘have in your possession’ a house.
Gathering physical assets should be quite simple to complete. Once you have identified the assets you need to gather you simply need to collect them and keep them safe until the time comes when you are permitted to distribute them to the beneficiaries.
Immovable assets are a little harder to gather, such as the deceased’s home. In such situations, you will need the assistance of a solicitor to deal with either the transfer of the home or the sale.
Gathering in assets from financial companies can be simple and also complex. Banks will often require the completion of a closure form before they will release funds. You will also need to request information from them such as statements as there are often payments in and out of the account after the date of death and before the account is frozen you therefore often receive a different amount to the figure listed on the tax forms.
For some assets you will have a choice whether to sell them or transfer them. You will need to decide, sometimes with the beneficiaries, which would be best in the circumstance. As part of this you will need to consider whether you need to sell the item to pay the liabilities of the estate and what the tax implications of a sale would be. You will then need to complete the relevant forms and send in any other documents such as share certificates and policy documents.
If you didn’t pay all of the inheritance tax before obtaining the Grant of Probate then you will need to pay the balance from the assets you gather in.
Even if all of the inheritance tax was paid before the Grant of Probate was issued, there may still be tax to pay. If the estate receives interest on bank accounts or investments or dividend payments then there may be income tax to pay. Should any of the assets sell for more than they were worth when the person died then there may be capital gains tax to pay. This is most relevant when dealing with property, land, shares and investments.
As well as gathering in assets, you also need to pay the liabilities of the estate. These may be liabilities that were outstanding when the person died such as an unpaid credit card bill or may have arisen since such as utility bills.
How do I get in touch?
Call us at any of our four offices to discuss your needs and to make an appointment.
Westbourne House, 99 Lidgett Lane, Garforth, Leeds, LS25 1LJ
Tel: 0113 246 4423
25 Bank Street, Ossett, WF5 8PS
Tel: 01924 586466
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6 Finkle Hill, Sherburn in Elmet, Leeds, LS25 6EA
Tel: 01977 350500
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Tel: 01924 290029
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