Will Writing- Your Estate Management Questions Answered

  • Author: David Crosby
  • Posted on: 4th May 2020
  • Posted in: Blog

Estate Management Matters- Your Questions Answered

Over the past couple of months, we have received an influx of enquiries about estate management, what is and how it works. So we thought we would prepare you a helpful short guide to answer some of your key questions.

1. What defines an estate?

So, firstly there is the simple matter of what the term estate covers. In legal terms, an estate is defined as a person's net worth at any time, this can include any of the following:

  • Property owned
  • Personal possessions, including items such as; clothes, jewellery, artwork, books and other household chattels
  • Investments
  • Bank Accounts

Any debts or liabilities connected to the estate will be taken off the gross figure of your total assets, this will leave you with a net figure which is the amount that will be passed on after death.

2. How is estate management handled?

If there is a will in place, then the estate management plan will be set out here. The will should specify who the executors are, and this is the person/people who are responsible for dealing with your estate following death.

'The executors need to apply for a grant of representation at the local Probate Registry to give them the legal right to deal with the estate. The right to deal with an estate is known as ‘probate’.' Source: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/legal-issues/what-to-do-when-someone-dies/dealing-with-the-estate/

3. What happens if an executor is unwilling or unable to act?

In this instance, the court will appoint an administrator for the estate. This will take into consideration those people who are related to the deceased. In some cases, an executor may not have been appointed by the deceased, and this again means that the court will find an administrator to act on these matters.

4. What happens if there is no will?

If there is no written will, then this is known as 'intestate' and in this case, different rules about the estate will apply. The lack of a will can make the process take a lot longer because it is now up to the law to decide who inherits the estate. This is a key time to consider using a solicitor who specialises in probate to help avoid any costly mistakes.

5. As an executor will I be liable for any debts?

An executor can be held personally liable for any debts associated with the estate that have not already been paid off to creditors. The debt can be any amount up to the value of the estate. If a creditor is left unpaid, then a claim may be brought upon the executor to recover the monies owed. 

6. I am a beneficiary who is unhappy with the way executors are dealing with the estate, what can I do?

Each case of estate management is individual, and therefore there is not a one size fits all approach. If you are unhappy with the way an executor is handling administering the estate, you can apply to the court to have the executor/s removed and replaced with someone else. 

7. Why should I use a solicitor?

Estate management can be a very complex thing to deal with and although some cases may seem simple, it is always advisable to use a specialist solicitor to ensure you avoid any costly mistakes.

Using a solicitor can save you time, effort and the cost of a solicitor need not be high. Your solicitor can explain the legal jargon in a clear, transparent way, to ensure you understand the process from start to finish. 

I have more questions

If you have more questions that you would like answered about an estate management matter, or would like advice about preparing a will, then please get in touch with us today as we are happy to help.

We offer a free no-obligation initial chat, just call our team on 01273 734 600 or email advice@crosbywoods.co.uk