When will I receive my inheritance?
Probate is a lengthy process, and those with little or no experience of it would be justified in feeling frustrated at the time it takes. Following the passing of a loved one and a period of mourning, it’s natural to want to move on with your life. For most people, however, the wait takes around 6-12 months. So why does it take so long and what factors can affect the wait? We spoke to a Kent accountant for Probate services to find out more.
What affects the wait for inheritance?
When somebody passes away, a number of administrative tasks must be carried out. The length of time this takes depends on what assets the deceased had and whether they left any instructions about what needs to be done. For example, bank accounts must be closed, shares must be transferred or sold, and any property held in their sole name must be transferred or sold.
In order to carry out these tasks, a legal document must be obtained. For those who have left a Will, this is called a Grant of Probate. For those that haven’t, a Grant of Letters of Administration is required. For the purpose of this article, we’ll refer to both as ‘Probate’.
Gathering together all the necessary information to obtain Probate, and completing the application, can take 4-12 weeks. It then takes 6-8 weeks in order for Probate to be granted.
Why might it take longer to receive inheritance?
There are a number of issues that can delay the receipt of inheritance. These might include:
Selling shares – Shares may need to be sold through a stockbroker or registrar, which can involve lots of paperwork. You may also need to find share certificates in order to sell.
Selling property – If the deceased has one or more properties to sell, this can add to the delay. Finding a buyer and completing conveyancing typically takes several months.
Selling foreign assets – Any property or other assets held abroad will need to be sold or transferred in compliance with local laws, which again can take time.
Finding missing beneficiaries – Sometimes beneficiaries are missing, and reasonable investigations must be carried out – often using a tracing agent – in order to find them.
Finding a Will – Sometimes the Will itself is missing, or the deceased hasn’t left instructions on where to find it. This means that efforts must be made to locate it, or in some cases, a copy of a previous Will must be used. Failing that, the estate must be dealt with as if there is no Will.
Placing statutory advertisements – If the deceased has left outstanding debts, their creditors must be given opportunity to claim repayment from the estate. Placing a statutory advertisement in the London Gazette and local papers gives them this opportunity, and the minimum time offered for claimants to come forward is two months.
To learn more about obtaining Probate, administering an estate, and paying Inheritance Tax, you can speak to experienced Kent tax advisors, who will be able to guide you through the process.