Administration of Estates

In previous articles we have indicated, What is Probate? 

The details of the administration that is required. This third part outlines the options available to an Executor, or Administrator, in connection with the general administration of the estate. 

There are traditionally three main options open available to an Executor or an Administrator, when dealing with the estate of a deceased person. They can opt to do it themselves, work with a firm that provides these services (including most solicitors), or use an estate administration service. 

There are pros and cons to all the methods, and which method you want to use will depend on the circumstances of each case. 

  1. Do It Yourself (DIY)

With the DIY approach, there is potential for you to save money from professional fees, whilst remaining in full control. This method can suit those who have the time on their hands, and understand the legal jargon. However, this method has plenty of hindrances and risks. It can be time consuming, it requires a large amount of paperwork, you face legal and financial responsibility for administering the estate correctly, and expertise is required as it is not an easy task, so plenty of  research is likely to be involved. 

You are not entitled to charge for any time that you spend in connection with the administration, including correspondence with the asset’s holders or debt holders. Only a professional firm can make charges in respect of the administration.  

You are however, entitled to claim back any reasonable expenses that you have paid for. 

  1. Solicitor or Legal Professional.

There exists in today’s market substantial firms who now deal with these matters, who are not technically solicitors, including ourselves, which can provide the services under the Legal Services Act 2007. They take on the same responsibility as would a solicitor’s office.  

These people are often the first place people will look, and there are some benefits to using their services, including being available to answer any questions that you may have. Additionally, they should be able to issue, at the beginning, a reasonable estimate of their charges, provided they have sufficient information, and they often charge a percentage of the estate and/or hourly fees, which could appear cheaper and easier to understand in the first instance. 

It is important to understand and be clear with your instructions, there can be many misunderstandings in that these firms have quoted for a fee to obtain the actual Grant of Probate, rather than the full estate administration service, you may still be legally and financially responsible for the estate. 

Please ensure that whoever you appoint has the appropriate level of experience and legal knowledge, to conduct the administration. 

  1. Estate Administration Service.

An estate administration service, like that provided by 3CLegal Services and Three Counties Legal Services, can provide usually a fairly close quotation at the beginning of the works, so there is no concern over the final costs. Some estates are extremely complicated, and it is unreasonable to expect a quotation to be given for the whole administration, sometimes firms will quote up to the point of  obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, and then it is for the family to decide whether they wish the firm to carry on and complete the  administration. 

We handle all aspects of the estate, including taking on full legal and financial responsibility, providing a dedicated personal estate manager, who will keep you updated throughout the process, and offering piece of mind with their extensive experience. 

It may be that these firms will require an upfront payment, to ensure that they do receive payment, rather than waiting on the estate assets to be collected. This can be established from the outset. 

If you wish advice on any aspects relating to the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.