26 Jan 2015
Why live-in care is a great alternative to a care home
Live-in care offers many advantages over residential care homes.
When a person dies, someone has to take responsibility for dealing with their property, debts and distributing the estate.
The person dealing with the estate administration will normally be required to provide proof that he has the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s affairs, in order to close bank accounts, sell shares and otherwise deal with the deceased’s assets. A grant of representation (usually a grant of probate or letters of administration) is proof of that authority.
However, there are circumstances when the assets can be collected without a grant of probate.
Money held in a joint bank account will pass automatically to the surviving account holder, when one of them dies. The bank will arrange the transfer on sight of the death certificate and no grant of representation is required. The same applies to shares held in joint names.
Where the joint property is a house, you need to check the type of joint ownership.
Where the estate consists only of small amounts of cash in bank or building society accounts (typically less than £5,000) plus some personal possessions, a grant of representation may not be needed. Banks will often release small balances to the executor (or if there is no Will, to the next of kin) without a grant, but the claimant will be required to give an indemnity. The maximum amount which will be released under such ‘small estates’ procedures varies from organisation to organisation, as each has its own requirements.
Some life policies (e.g. those written on trust) can be paid out without a grant of representation. The deceased may have nominated a beneficiary to receive pension death benefits.
Where the estate assets are not sufficient to pay debts and expenses, a grant will not be needed (unless a personal representative is required so as to pursue a legal claim on behalf of the estate).
The deceased may have been a beneficiary under a trust. The trustees will be able to distribute the trust assets, in accordance with the terms of the trust, without a grant of representation.
A grant of representation is likely to be needed if the estate includes any of the following assets:
The need to apply for a grant should not be confused with the duty to submit an inheritance tax return, as HMRC has its own rules as to when an inheritance tax return is not required. An estate may still be liable to inheritance tax even if a grant was not needed to collect the assets.
We would like to thank RHW Solicitors in Guildford for providing this content. If a loved one has died and you are unsure whether a grant is needed, please contact Edward or Rachel in RHW Solicitor’s Tax, Trusts and Estates team for an initial no-obligation chat.