Administration of Estates – Collecting the Assets
Once the Grant of Probate has been issued, it is with this document that the assets of the estate can be collected together and any debts of the estate paid off with the collected assets. With the Grant of Probate comes “Office Copies”, which are photocopies of the front sheet of the original Grant, but with an impressed seal in the bottom right hand corner. It is this Office Copy that you need to collect the assets.
Some assets are easy, bank accounts need to be closed and the funds will probably need to go into an Executors Bank Account. Some things might need to be sold, such as property, but not everything needs to be sold, it can just be transferred to the Beneficiary – it all depends on the size and nature of the estate.
A Beneficiary might like to have an asset, most people like some kind of keepsake of a loved one, it might be jewellery or a piece of furniture. The value of a secondhand piece of furniture is often far less than the sentimental value, so Executors should have a conversation with the Beneficiaries about the assets of the estate. Depending on the powers given in the Will, the Executor usually has power to sell anyway, but why upset a Beneficiary unnecessarily?
Shares can be transferred to a beneficiary, as can property. At the point of sale or transfer, advice regarding Capital Gains Tax may need to be taken. There is paperwork to be completed and the Share Registrar or Land Registry can send the correct forms to you. They do not provide advice, so you might need to take advice.
The process of collecting in the assets is in part to pay the liabilities and there are always some of those. This is the reason why the Executors Bank Account is useful, as it will allow the funds to flow in with the collection and out to pay any liabilities, under the authority of the Executors.
This collection process can be both a physical collection and a virtual one, by knowing where everything is and then paying the debts. What is then left is the net estate, the estate that has to be distributed to the Beneficiaries.