Wills, Probate and Tax
Advice on wills, probate and tax.
All issues surrounding wills, inheritance, tax and the winding up of the affairs of the deceased can be very complicated and can differ from person to person.
Many of these issues need some form of legal advice, either from a solicitor, the Citizens Advice Bureau or the government's Community Legal Advice service.
The personal representative
The person who deals with everything owned by the deceased is known as the personal representative (also known as the executor if they are named as such in the will, or the administrator if there is no executor named or no will).
The personal representative is responsible for paying all the deceased's debts, taxes and expenses, from the deceased's estate and not from their own income or savings.
Once all these payments have been made, the personal representative can then share out the rest of the estate.
If there is a will
It is important in all cases to locate a person's will as soon as possible after their death.
The will is a legal document or signed letter left by the deceased giving instructions on what should happen after their death and how the estate should be divided up.
It may state any of the following:
- What the person wanted to happen to their body
- Whether they wished to be buried or cremated
- Whether they wished to donate their organs
- What sort of funeral they wanted
- Which person(s) should be appointed as executor(s), responsible for paying debts and dealing with the estate of the deceased
- What should happen to the deceased’s money, property and possessions
- Which person is nominated to act as a guardian to any children.
If there is no will
If there is no will, the personal representative shares out the estate according to rules that consider the rights of a surviving spouse, children, parents and other close blood relatives.
For details, contact the probate registry:
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
Tel: 020 7947 6983
Do you need a grant of probate
If you are the personal representative you may have to apply to prove the will (or probate) or, if there is no will, apply for letters of administration.
This will give you authority to pay the bills and deal with the deceased's estate.
A leaflet is available called 'Do you need a grant of probate' which explains when a probate may be required.
This and other information can be obtained from the Court Service, from the Lambeth Register Office or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Tax after death
In the event of a death, the tax office should be notified as soon as possible.
The Inland Revenue produces a Contacting the Inland Revenue when someone has died leaflet.