If a loved one has passed away, you may be wondering how long it might take to wind up the estate. However, there is no simple answer to this question. The length of time it might take to wind up an estate will depend on many factors, but you can expect the process to take at least six months.
In this article, we set out some of the factors that can impact the length of time the process might take to help you plan effectively.
Confirmation (known as Probate in many countries) is a legal document which gives the executors authority to uplift money or other property belonging to the deceased. You will require confirmation to ingather and distribute the assets of the estate. However, to obtain confirmation from the court, you must make a detailed list of all of the assets and liabilities of the estate.
Obtaining confirmation can be a lengthy process, as you will need to contact the various institutions where the deceased held assets. After the executor has created an accurate inventory of all of the deceased's assets, they must then submit an application. After an application has been submitted to the Sheriff Court, it will generally take a few weeks to process.
Using a solicitor to obtain confirmation can ensure the process is efficient, and there are no unnecessary delays.
After confirmation has been obtained, the executor will need to gather and distribute the assets in line with the Will, or the rules of intestacy if the deceased did not leave a Will.
If the deceased owned a home, this might need to be sold, which can take some time. Furthermore, the executor may need to find and contact the beneficiaries named in the Will. Where the executor cannot find any beneficiaries that have been named, the process of distributing the estate may be delayed.
Many factors can have an impact on the length of time that it may take to wind up an estate, some of which we have touched on above.
Gathering details from banks, insurance companies, and even HMRC can take some time. If these institutions fail to get back to you promptly, this can hold up the entire process. Professional valuations of certain assets, such as antiques and jewellery, may also be required.
Selling a property can take time, particularly if the property is overseas or if it is owned jointly with another party.
If the deceased died without leaving a will, this can cause complications in distributing the estate.
These are claims against the estate from those entitled to a share but not named in any Will.
As discussed previously, the executor may need to find and contact the beneficiaries named in the Will
If Inheritance Tax is due to be paid from the estate that will significantly increase timesales. The Inheritance Tax position requires to be agreed with HMRC before the estate administration can be concluded. HMRC Inheritance Tax processing times are currently very slow and negotiations with them often take more than a year to conclude.
To ensure that the estate of a loved one is wound up with minimal delay, you may wish to instruct the services of an experienced solicitor. Our specialist executry solicitors have an excellent understanding of the process and how to avoid unnecessary delays.
At Murray Beith Murray, we're more than just lawyers - we're trusted advisors. We clearly outline the executry process, providing straightforward, practical advice and assistance. Our approach to client service is friendly and responsive, and we operate with the highest standards of integrity and professional expertise. For more information on the issues raised here, or any other Executry matter, please call us on 0131 225 1200 or complete our online enquiry form.