Once Probate has been granted, the Executor must collect the deceased’s assets and take steps to pay any debts or taxes – including income tax – owed by the deceased.
Funeral expenses are to be paid first and there is a particular order in which any other debts must be paid. Legal advice is required to ensure that the proper assets/beneficiaries bear the burden of these liabilities. After funeral expenses are paid, the Executor is entitled to claim any expenses relating to the administration of the Estate before other debts are paid.
Once debts have been paid, assets are either distributed according to the terms in the will or they are sold so that money can be divided among the beneficiaries. The Executor might have to contact financial organisations and companies in which the deceased had money invested in order to realise those assets, and become involved in selling various pieces of the deceased’s belongings such as jewellery, a boat or car.
A bank account will have to be opened, in the name of the estate, into which all funds owed to the estate must be deposited and from which debts must be paid.
Distributing the Assets
When all assets have been identified and, if necessary, sold to raise cash, and all debts have been paid, the remainder of the Estate can be distributed to the beneficiaries.
The Executor must prepare a report and statement of the beneficiaries – given to them when they receive their share of the Estate – showing what the assets were, how much money they raised and what expenses and debts were paid from the proceeds.
Finally, the Estate is wound up. This involves drawing up accounts – showing money paid into the Estate and money paid out – which are sometimes required to be lodged with the Probate Registry.
If you have a query relating to any of the information in this piece, or you would like to speak with one of the lawyers in Coleman Greig’s Wills and Estate Planning team with regard to your own estate administration matter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.