Inventory and Account
Personal representatives have various duties when administering a deceased person’s estate, as set out in Section 25 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925. Personal representatives are the people responsible for dealing with estate assets, collecting in debts, keeping full account. They must also distribute the estate in accordance with the will (if there is one) or the intestacy rules.
In order to carry out these duties, often a grant of probate is required which provides confirmation of the legal authority to deal with the estate. Some smaller estates can be administered without a grant of probate.
As part of the application for a grant of probate, the personal representatives must sign a “legal statement” confirming they will keep full details (an inventory) of the estate and a full account of how it has been distributed.
Where estates are complex or there are difficult family relationships, tensions can arise between the personal representatives and beneficiaries. This often occurs where there is a lack of communication or transparency between the parties regarding the estate. The easiest way to resolve this is for a beneficiary to request a full breakdown of the assets and for the personal representative to provide this.
If estate accounts are withheld or are incomplete, a beneficiary can apply to the Probate Registry for an “inventory and account”, which obliges the personal representatives to provide the relevant information. On most occasions, receiving a court summons is sufficient to get the personal representatives to comply.
An alternative is to make an application under Part 64 of the Civil Procedure Rules for the personal representative to provide, and if necessary, verify the estate accounts.
We are able to consider the most appropriate course of action in administration disputes as specialists in this area of law. We can assist both personal representatives and beneficiaries.
Please contact us to discuss your case in more detail.