When someone dies, their net worth (all that they leave behind) is referred to as their estate.
If you are named as an executor of someone’s will, then it is your job to distribute their estate according to their wishes.
An estate can also be administered when there is no will, if a will exists but no executor is named, or the appointed executor declines the appointment. In this circumstance, the court will appoint an administrator, who is responsible for the distribution of assets according the dictates of the will or intestacy rules.
There are many aspects to dealing with an estate, and as such it is generally recommended to enlist the services of a knowledgeable solicitor to guide the process. Many legal procedures must be adhered to and financial matters must be sorted out. Human relationships are inherently complex, and death can complicate matters, particularly in the instance when there is no will, or if there are individuals who expected to be named as beneficiaries but are not.
A will can cause tension among family members and expose unresolved conflicts. In an effort to mitigate some of these tensions and avoid conflicts, it is important that you utilise the resources that are available to help you navigate through this process.
Inheritance disputes can sometimes lead to expensive and time-consuming court cases, and can distract from the legacy of the deceased. Should you feel compelled to pursue legal action, it is wise to obtain as much information as you can.
It is often helpful to employ a solicitor in order to help you navigate the sometimes complex legal protocols around wills and estates, or you can connect with the team here at What do I do? for guidance.