This process is concerned with applying for a Grant of Probate to enable to administer the deceased's estate, pay debts and expenses and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries. Inheritance tax, if due, is payable prior to obtaining the Grant.
An application for a Grant of Probate is not always required to administer the estate of the deceased person as this depends on the size of the estate and the type of property and assets within the estate. A Grant of Probate may be required, however, even if there is a valid Will.
Once the Grant of Probate has been obtained the administration of the estate follows in which assets are collected and distributed to the beneficiaries. If a trust has been set up or arises by law special rules apply. A deceased's person estate has its own tax rules as well a trust has.
When the deceased person has not left a Will, the law give is pecking order of people who can apply to obtain what is called "letters of administration". For instance, if the deceased what married, the spouse can apply for a letters of administration to administer the estate of the deceased's spouse. When the deceased was not married, then their adult children or their parents may be able to apply to the court to administer the estate.
When the deceased person has left a valid Will, then the executors appointed in the Will must apply for a Grant of Probate to be able to administer the estate, that is to collect all the deceased's assets, pay debts, taxes (inheritance, capital gains and income tax), and funeral expenses, preparing and submitting the estate accounts with HMRC, and distribute the estate according to the Will. If the Will contains a Trust, then a separate set of arrangements will be required for the trustees including registering the trust with HMRC and administer the trust, which has its own legal and tax treatment.
The administration of the estate would require handling legal and tax matters which the executors may not be familiar with, thus requiring legal advice on how to deal with the administration in a legal and tax efficient way.