With the recent onslaught of companies claiming individuals could receive thousands of pounds through missold PPI claims, we are now experiencing the inevitable problem of what happens if a person dies with an outstanding PPI claim?
In order for a claim to progress despite the individual now being deceased, the next of kin must apply for probate.
In cases where a Will has not been prepared, the rules of intestacy state that only the next of kin can apply for probate and so it follows that only they can then progress with the PPI claim.
Even individuals with few or no assets, who think they may be liable to make a PPI claim, must consider the potential value of that claim when preparing a Will. To avoid writing a Will at all, particularly if there is no next of kin, could mean that thousands of pounds are lost when that claim cannot be continued after death.
When a person dies without a Will, or if the will that they have left has been deemed invalid, they are described as being 'Intestate.' In this situation a relative, or other person, must apply for Letters of Administration to deal with the deceased's affairs.
Dealing with the estate of someone who has died intestate can be a complicated process. The level of difficulty depends greatly on the amount of money, assets, and property that the estate contains. Further complications are caused by the number of beneficiaries that may have a claim to the estate. Generally speaking the more people that are involved, the more complicated it is to sort out, particularly if it is difficult to find some of the beneficiaries.
The first step in the process is obtaining the right to administer the estate. In normal circumstances, when the deceased has left a will, there is a named executor who can obtain a Grant of Probate enabling them to administer the estate. In cases of intestacy there is no executor. The task of administering the estate will then fall to a relative of the deceased, who must apply for Letters of Administration. This person is usually a spouse, or child. An adopted child may make the application, but not a step child. The applicant must be over 18 years of age.
If the deceased is survived by a parent they are the next in line for the responsibility. After this the application can be made by siblings, then grandparents, then uncles or aunts. Other relatives that may apply for Letters of Administration are nieces, nephews and cousins. In cases where there are no surviving relatives the state will then make the application.
Once the applicant has established the right to apply for the grant of Letters of Administration the next step is to complete the application form. If the value of the estate is above £325,000 then the applicant will also need to complete the Inheritance Tax forms at the same time. Following this the applicant will be required to attend an interview at the Probate Registry to confirm the details in the application. The Letters of Administration will then be delivered by post shortly afterwards.
If you would like to find out more information you can call our confidential free phone 7 days a week until 10pm on 0800 612 6105
As with many other price increases that we have seen in recent times, the basic costs of probate fees have also risen. From April 2011 the cost of probate applications went up by more than 10%. Currently the probate application fee for non-solicitors or lay applicants is £105 up from its previous figure of £90. This amount comprises £45 for the application for grant and a further £60 for the personal application which is effectively the cost of attending the probate registry.
Here’s a breakdown of Government will and probate fees:
The fee for depositing a will for safe custody in a district or principal registry is £20. The price of an inspection of a will or any other document in the presence of a registry officer is also £20.
An Application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, where the assessed value of the estate exceeds £5,000, is £45. Resealing a grant costs the same.
A Personal application fee where the assessed value of the estate exceeds £5,000 is £60, this is essentially the cost to attend the registry.
A special application or duplicate/subsequent application in respect of the same person is £20. This includes an application following a revoked grant and excludes a grant limited to settled land, part of the estate, or to a trust property.
Copies of all documents involved have a surcharge regardless of whether they are provided as certified copies or not. For the first copy the charge is £6 and for every subsequent copy of the same document is £1 if they are supplied at the same time. If the documents are provided in electronic format the price per copy is £4.
You can view the Government report here which details all probate charges including searches, oaths and entering in a caveat.
If you have any other questions about the various costs involved, don’t hesitate to call us free on 0800 612 6105
If you have been named as the executor in a will you have the responsibility for dealing with the assets of the deceased. It is also your duty to distribute the proceeds of the estate according to the wishes of the will. If, like many lay administrators, you have little experience in dealing with these types of matters, the administrative requirement may appear somewhat overwhelming. probate advice.
For most people the initial advice in dealing with probate is to appoint a solicitor to handle matters. There are many solicitors that are experienced with this type of work. They can offer an inclusive service dealing with aspects from obtaining the Grant of Probate to the payments of taxes and liabilities. Some executors may be advised to consider handling the administration themselves. This advice is usually given if the estate is small and relatively simple in terms of the assets and beneficiaries.
Whichever solution you opt for the first step is to seek out some good probate advice. There are a wide variety of locations online where you can obtain advice and guidance. As with any advice, when it comes to matters involving property or money, any recommendations are best observed with a degree of caution.
There are some websites that have been designed to offer completely impartial advice with regard to matters of probate:
Government direct.gov.uk has an informative death and bereavement section with full advice on what to do when someone dies.
The National Probate Advice Centre offers some clear guidance in sections dedicated to property clearance, solicitors, accountants, estate agents and more.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has a section dedicated to probate advice which offers helpful information on debts, tax and benefits, jointly-owned property, inheritance tax and more.
For indepentdent advice, you can also our free helpline on 0800 612 6105.
On average the Treasury department absorbs a massive £10 million annually from unclaimed estates in the UK. This is despite the fact that there is plenty of support available for heir hunters to track down their inheritance.
There are many reasons that these fortunes remain unclaimed. In some cases there are simply no living relatives and the deceased is the end of the line within their family tree. This is not that common and for most of those who pass away there are usually some living relatives, however distant.
In order to have a rightful claim to an inheritance the family line can be connected via a grandparent of the deceased. Disparity of family spread is often a problem in connecting the estate to a relative. In some cases relatives of the deceased have relocated abroad and have had little or no communication with the deceased over a long period of time.
Whatever the reasons for not making a claim, with such a large amount of money at stake, there are a number of specialist firms that make a living out of reuniting people with unclaimed inheritance before the treasury can lay its hands on the money.
From the point of death the clock is ticking on an estate. Relatives have 12 years to come forward and claim the inheritance. If they do so within that period they can also collect any interest that the estate has accrued. Ultimately the claimant must come forward before 30 years has elapsed, but a payment during this period is at the discretion of the Treasury Solicitor. No interest can be collected on the estate for the final 18 years.
When someone dies intestate The Treasury Solicitor advertises in national and local newspapers. They give out the details of the person's name, the value of their estate, and the location and time of death. At this point the genealogists, employed by the big heir hunting law firms, will begin to piece together the family tree of the deceased.
These firms do not come cheap and will charge anywhere between 25% and 40% of an estate for their services. They will ensure that a contract is signed before any of the details of the deceased is given to the relative.
If you would like to find out more about our low-cost genealogical research service contact us free on 0800 612 6105
If you own woodland as part of the portfolio of your estate, it can help to reduce your final Inheritance Tax bill.
Woodland relief means that the value of the timber on that plot of land can be excluded from the overall value of your estate. Bear in mind however, that this only applies to the timber itself, and not to the land on which it is planted.
Under the rules of Woodland relief, should your beneficiaries then sell the timber after your death, they may find that IHT then falls due on the monies raised from the sale.
If the woodland does not quality for Woodland relief, it may then qualify for Agricultural Relief, or Business Relief, if it can be classed as a business investment.