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How long after probate does it take to receive an inheritance?

How long after probate does it take to receive an inheritance?

How long after probate does it take to receive an inheritance?

For beneficiaries of small, simple estate probate can take as little as 3 months and then it is simply a matter of the executor or administrator handing over the inheritance.

Unfortunately for many estates, things aren’t quite so simple.

There are lots of duties for the executor to perform and some of these can take a considerable amount of time and often be out of their hands.

Need to write a Will? Write your’s on the Smart Will App in 10 minutes for just £19 or £29 for couples.

Waiting for probate

The first thing that the executor needs to do is to find out if there is a Will or not.

If there is then it is likely that the executor has been informed in the past and asked if they would consent to serve but if there isn’t a Will then things get a little more complicated.

A family member or close friend will need to act on behalf of the estate and of course this may take time to agree with all those involved.

Where there is a current Will the executor must apply for a Grant of Probate and if there is no Will then the person chosen should apply for ‘Letters of Administration’.

These are the official recognition that the person concerned has the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate.

From the point of application to granting these processes will take around three months at a minimum but there are some steps that need to be taken before this.

The executor will need to work out the total value of the estate. Although this sounds simple it can start to get a lot more complicated and time-consuming when property, investments, pension pots, life assurance and any ownership of businesses are concerned.

Often assets are held in joint names and the executor must work out the value of an asset and the percentage held by the deceased.

They will also need to get values from banks and other financial institutions for current accounts and investments held.

And of course, there will need to be an inventory of the deceased home and personal effects.

Once this is all done a return needs to be made to HMRC and any inheritance tax paid.

Only once this is all complete can the person concerned apply for a grant of probate and so we can see that even getting to the point of applying may take quite a long time.

Need to write a Will? Write your’s on the Smart Will App in 10 minutes for just £19 or £29 for couples.

Once probate is granted

In addition to all of the above tasks, the executor is responsible for managing the estate of the deceased.

This could simply be a matter of informing the local authority and utility providers about the death and obtaining final bills but there may be other responsibilities that the deceased had that now fall to the executor.

Finally, once probate is granted the executor can start to begin the process of distribution.

Given that all estates are different then we can see that this may take a very short amount of time or might drag on for a while.

For an estate that has a Will and that consists simply of cash and a few personal effects then it is probably little more than dividing up the cash and effects and handing them over.

However, many estates will have property and this can take time to organise the sale. It may be that the value has been split between siblings, one of who wants to buy out the other which again will take time. Smart Will is also a registered estate agency and can arrange property sales for FREE when instructed to arrange probate.

Other aspects of the estate, such as selling or transferring shares or investments may be more of an administrative task but still take time as does disposing of specialist items like valuable jewellery, antiques or classic cars.

The executor may make interim payments as long as they are certain that the instructions given in the Will are clear and that there will be no further debts that accrue to the estate and it may be that the beneficiaries receive their inheritance in stages.

And a final work about selling assets. We’ve written mainly about UK based assets but it is more common nowadays that people will have foreign assets such as holiday homes or investments.

This can be a particular headache for executors as they will need to abide by local laws regarding permission to sell and actually realising a value may take some time. Of course, they won’t know the final value of the asset until the money is repatriated and suffers the exchange rate.

It can be a frustrating time for beneficiaries who are waiting on an inheritance and the time it takes can appear to be unduly long but when you understand just how many things have to be done by an executor (who may not have any experience of this) then you can see why.

If you’d like to talk to us about our professional executor service then contact us now and we’ll talk you through all the issues and let you know how we can help.

Need to write a Will? Write your’s on the Smart Will App in 10 minutes for just £19 or £29 for couples.

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