As each applicant’s circumstances vary, it is hard to predict the length of the process. However, as a rough guideline it can take six to nine months for assets that include property.
The reason for the long waiting times have to do with needing the Confirmation first and foremost before it is possible to start collecting assets or paying any liabilities out of the accounts. This is normally not a problem if the accounts are joint, then the assets are automatically transferred to the surviving partner. Most financial institutions including banks, building societies, stockbrokers and estate agents will not allow access to the assets before the Executors can provide a Grant of Confirmation.
Sometimes what seem like a simple estate matters can prove to be complicated down the line. Conversely, large estates can be fairly simple and straightforward when dealt with in an organised manner.
Some complications and problematic factors include but not are limited to:
Locating and sorting through various old documentation
Tracking down and evaluating various lifetime gifts which the deceased person may have made
Settling any outstanding taxes, bills and other liabilities
Tracing beneficiaries and evaluating their eligibility factors such as age and relationship to the deceased person
Any properties and assets in foreign countries, as well as liaising with foreign solicitors
Any trusts in which the person had interests in
Agricultural properties such as Lloyd’s which cannot be terminated for at least 3 years
Agreeing upon the values of certain assets with Inland Revenue
When all of the assets have finally been accounted for and any outstanding liabilities settled, the net worth value can be obtained. Once achieved, the balance can then be shared out to the appropriate beneficiaries in accordance to the terms of the deceased’s Will.
The Executors are advised to not distribute the estate for at least six months. This gives enough time for any companies and individual with interest or ties to the deceased to come forward and lay their claims to the estate. After six months, the estate can be released and distributed without further delay or complications.
If the services of a solicitor or lawyer are called upon, they should prepare an account of the estate which break down a full, detailed account of the administration of the estate.