• 01616 966 229
  • Request a callback
Stephensons Solicitors LLP Banner Image

News and Events

Do I need a solicitor to administer an estate?

View profile for Charlotte Huxley
  • Posted
  • Author
Generation Z get practical not romantic ahead of tying the knot

In short, no, you do not need a solicitor to administer an estate however you may need to employ the services of a solicitor to assist you in certain circumstances, particularly if there is inheritance tax to pay, there are trusts or the deceased had foreign property or assets or was domiciled outside of the United Kingdom. 

The estate, however, may be simple and not comprise of many assets therefore a personal representative may wish to deal with the administration themselves.

Dealing with an estate and beneficiaries can be time consuming and may involve a lot of paperwork. This can be particularly stressful at a time of grief. There are also risks involved if someone has been left out of a Will or there is a missing beneficiary. There may also be added complications if the deceased has not left a Will and this will involve a different process of identifying the correct beneficiaries and how much they are entitled to.

As a personal representative of an estate they are required to act in the best interests of the estate, and there are many obligations of an executor to ensure they fulfil their duties, including collecting in all of the assets, paying any debts, liabilities and tax and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries or they could be personally liable if things are not done correctly, which may prove to be a costly mistake or oversight.

Where inheritance tax is payable the process of completing and calculating inheritance tax may not be straight forward. There are a number of reliefs and allowances that may be available in the estate of a deceased which can reduce any inheritance tax payable. Inheritance tax forms may still be required in certain circumstances even where there is no tax to pay. A personal representative must also ensure they do not distribute an estate before they have had confirmation or clearance from HMRC as they will be personally liable for any tax payable, which is to be paid within a six month time period from the date of death. 

There are many things to be considered when dealing with an estate therefore it is always preferable to speak to a solicitor before considering obtaining probate and administering an estate. Here at Stephensons we have solicitors with a wealth of knowledge in probate and administration of estates so call us today on 0161 696 6238.