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Glossary

Assets

Any property or possession with monetary value.

Administration of an Estate

The steps taken by an Executor to deal with a deceased person’s personal and financial affairs; to establish the extent of assets and liabilities, pay any tax due and distribute money and assets to the correct people.

Applying for Probate

An application for Probate (or Grant of Representation/Letters of Administration – see below) can be made by a lay person (a personal application), or by a solicitors firm, Bank or Trust Corporation on behalf of an Executor or Administrator. If an Estate is sufficiently small, or if all the assets are held in joint names, it is not always necessary to apply for probate, even if there is a Will.

For personal applications, forms and advice can be obtained from whichever District Probate Registry is geographically convenient. For help and guidance including applying for probate / letters of administration / confirmation, please call the Lloyds Bank Estate Administration Support Line on 0800 0560171Call telephone number 0800 0560171.

Beneficiary

Any person, charity or organisation that is entitled to receive a gift from the Estate.

Codicil

A separate document altering or adding to the provisions of an existing Will. A Codicil should be stored for safe keeping with the original Will.

Confirmation (Scotland)

The equivalent of the Probate Application process in Scotland.

Coroner’s Interim Certificate

A certificate issued confirming the person who has died, their details and the date of death, but not normally the cause of death. This is because the exact cause of death may not be apparent and an inquest needs to be conducted to establish the facts. A Coroner’s Certificate can be accepted as notification of death but some companies may still need to see either the original or a certified copy of the Death Certificate when it becomes available.

Death Certificate

A certified copy of the entry in the Death Register issued when the cause of death is known or has become established.

Deed of Variation

It’s sometimes possible for all the beneficiaries to effectively ‘rewrite’ the Will by creating a legal document called a Deed of Variation. This can be done to reduce an Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability, or simply to benefit people who would not benefit under the terms of a Will or intestacy. Such a Deed can be made up to two years after the death, but independent legal advice should be sought about whether or not it is prudent to do so and the steps you need to take.

Estate

The total sum of all assets (minus any debts) after a person dies.

Executor

The person named in a will to carry out the wishes of the person who has died.

An Executor’s or Administrator’s role

An Executor or Administrator is responsible for dealing with the assets and liabilities of the Estate which may include some or more of the following:

  • Registering of the death.
  • Arranging the funeral.
  • Applying for a Grant of Representation.
  • Calculating and paying Inheritance Tax.
  • Informing financial institutions - banks, insurance companies, pension providers, etc.
  • Paying the funeral bill and all other liabilities.
  • Collecting in all the assets, including the sale of a property.
  • Drafting a statement to account for all assets, liabilities and expenses.
  • Paying any income tax due.
  • Distributing the Estate to beneficiaries.
  • Acting as Trustee if appropriate (where for example a beneficiary is a minor).

In Scotland an Administrator or Personal Representative is known as an Executor Dative.

Grant of Probate or Grant of Representation

The document issued by the Supreme Court via a District Probate Registry giving authority to an Executor or an Administrator to collect in a deceased person’s assets and administer their estate.

It will be issued only after they have received the necessary application forms, have assured themselves that the Will is valid (where applicable) and have received confirmation that any Inheritance Tax due has been paid. It is common practice for a grant of representation and the process to apply for one to be referred to simply as probate.

In order to apply for probate, an Executor or Administrator will need to complete application forms for both the Probate Registry and HM Revenue & Customs. For the latter, it will normally be necessary to obtain exact valuations for all assets and liabilities in an Estate.
The process is the same for both an Executor and an Administrator, and the only difference is the type of Grant of Representation. A Grant issued to an Executor is called a Grant of Probate, whilst the Grant issued to an Administrator is called Letters of Administration. Occasionally, an Executor may not be able to act, and in those circumstances Letters of Administration (with Will annexed) will be issued to an Administrator.

Grant of Confirmation

The laws relating to the administration of an Estate where a person was domiciled in Scotland are very different to other parts of the United Kingdom, apart from Inheritance Tax, and the equivalent process to Probate in Scotland is called Confirmation.
 
Advice and the necessary forms can be obtained from the Sheriff Clerk’s office.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

Depending on the size of the Estate and who benefits from a Will or intestacy, there may be an Inheritance Tax liability. This liability does not normally need to be paid in full, but a large proportion will need to be paid before a Grant of Representation is obtained.

You can contact HM Revenue & Custom’s Trusts and Estates, Inheritance Office direct for advice on any aspects of calculating and paying this liability.

Intestate

The term used when the person has died without a Will in place.

Letters of Administration

The document issued by the Supreme Court giving authority to anybody other than an executor to collect in assets and administer an Estate.

Liabilities

Those debts, including funeral expenses, attributable to a deceased person at the date of death. Any costs incurred by an executor during the course of administering the Estate are known as administration expenses. Liabilities reduce any Inheritance Tax liability, but administration expenses do not.

Personal Representatives

Collectively both Executors and Administrators are termed personal representatives.

Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths

This is the government department where a death is registered , using the medical certificate of cause of death from a doctor or an acceptable alternative from a Coroner. The registrar issues certified copies of the death certificate, which are the documents you need to legally prove that the death has occurred and which will be needed to notify all those companies where assets were held. It is a good idea to obtain several certified copies of the death certificate as you may need them for various financial institutions (there is a nominal cost for this and it is more cost effective to ask for copies at the time of registration rather than at a later date).

Rules of Intestacy

When a person dies without a Will in place, they are described as dying intestate. The intestacy rules govern who is entitled to benefit from a person’s estate in these circumstances.

Scots Law

The law in Scotland is different to that in England and Wales. The registrar’s role is similar, but deaths are investigated by a Procurator Fiscal and some cases may undergo a fatal accident enquiry in front of a Sheriff. The death certificate can be obtained from a registrar at an early stage for all deaths in Scotland, as a medical certificate is issued irrespective of the causes of death.

Statutory Notices

It is normal practice for notices to be placed in The London Gazette and a newspaper local to where a deceased person died. These advertise for any potential creditors to make their claims known to an estate, and protect the Executors or Administrators should a claim come to light after a specified time – normally two months.

Trust

A legal arrangement to hold money or property for someone else, usually a child.

Will

A document which, if validly executed, records the instructions for what should happen to the Estate of the person who has died. It may also contain details of their intended funeral arrangements.

If the person who has died leaves a Will, the person (or persons) named as the Executor takes responsibility for carrying out the terms of that Will, and dealing with a deceased person’s assets and liabilities - known as the Estate. In Scotland an Executor is known as an Executor-Nominate.

If the person who has died has not made a valid Will, this means that they have died intestate. A person (or persons) - known as the Administrator – will be responsible for dealing with the assets and liabilities. In Scotland an administrator personal representatives is known as an executor dative.