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Administering an estate during the COVID-19 crisis

Administering an estate during the COVID-19 crisis

Suffering a bereavement is incredibly difficult at the best of times, but having to also deal with the administration of that person's estate can be extremely daunting, especially during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you have been appointed to act as an executor for your loved one or have the responsibility of dealing with their estate, there are various matters you will need to attend to, despite the government restrictions.

The most pressing matter is registering the death, which must still be done within 5 days. This is usually dealt with in person although currently, telephone appointments are being arranged. Registering a death is not necessarily an executor's responsibility and it should be done by a relative if possible.

There are various steps to take when dealing with the administration of an estate:-

  • Obtaining information as to the assets and any debts or liabilities
  • Paying any inheritance tax due to HMRC
  • Applying to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate if there is a Will or a Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will
  • Calling in the assets, paying the liabilities and attending to the distributions in accordance with the terms of the Will or Intestacy Rules

Estate administration can be complex and unfortunately, these matters have not been put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic; time can be of the essence.

Inheritance tax in particular needs to be paid within 6 months and with the current need for social distancing and isolation, this can prove challenging.

Our experienced Probate Team are here to help and support you during these emotionally difficult and uncertain times. We are happy to offer a free half an hour telephone appointment to executors and administrators to discuss their duties and the estate administration process.