Frequently Asked Questions.

Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked most about estate administration.

Estate administration

Who is responsible for estate administration?

The executors or administrators are responsible for the accurate distribution of the estate. This means that if you are named in either role, you will assume legal and financial liability for all of the work that is involved. Should any mistakes be made in the administration process, you will be personally responsible for rectifying them. If you appoint Kings Court Trust, we assume all of these liabilities on your behalf.

What is probate (confirmation in Scotland)?

Probate (or confirmation in Scotland) is often required to enable a person’s estate to be distributed after their death. It is often used as a generic term to refer to the entire estate administration process. Probate is sometimes not required – for example, if all assets are held in joint names or if the estate that has been left is worth less than £5,000. However, the vast majority of estates do require probate.

What is estate administration?

Estate administration is the process of dealing with a person’s estate after they’ve died. This normally means dealing with all of their assets (such as property and personal possessions) and liabilities (such as outstanding debts) before transferring whatever is left to the beneficiaries.

Read our guide to estate administration.

Wills

What happens if the person dies without a valid Will in place?

If there was no Will in place when the person died, they are said to have died ‘intestate’ and the estate will be distributed in line with the rules of intestacy. A close relative of the deceased will be able to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration from a probate registry. They then become administrators of the estate and have the same legal responsibility as an executor for its distribution.

What happens if the deceased left a Will?

The executor named in the Will will need to apply for a Grant of Probate from a probate registry. The Grant of Probate is the document that provides the legal authority that is required to deal with the estate.

Our Service

How do I make a complaint?

In the event of a query or complaint about our website or our services, please contact us in one of the following ways:

  • by telephone on 0300 303 9000
  • in writing to the Head of Risk and Compliance at Kings Court Trust Ltd, Spectrum House, Bond Street, Bristol, BS1 3LG
  • via email complaints@kctrust.co.uk

A copy of our complaints procedure is available on request. We have a strict internal complaints process that we adhere to, whereby a comprehensive and impartial response to any complaint will be completed within 28 days from receipt. However, if you are still dissatisfied once we have concluded our final review, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman directly to ask that they consider the complaint further. The Legal Ombudsman regulates the service we provide to our customers and more information can be found on their website (www.legalombudsman.org.uk). Kings Court Trust is regulated by the CLC which is a Licensing Authority for Probate. Our managers are Tom Curran, Andrea Pierce (an Authorised Person) and Sarah Bird.

Can I administer the estate myself?

Yes, you can. Estate administration is a time consuming and labour intensive process, one where 80% of clients tell us that they underestimated how much work was involved. If you are considering doing the work yourself, you should be confident that you can:

  • Complete all of the legal work, tax calculations and paperwork and spare several hours a week to administer the estate from start to finish
  • Contact all of the third parties involved in the administration processes
  • Take on legal and financial liability for the process

Don't I need to use a solicitor?

We recommend that you seek professional legal advice but this doesn’t need to be from a solicitor. In fact, many solicitors only deal with a small number of estates each year and therefore don’t possess specialist knowledge of this area of the law. Kings Court Trust can offer free legal guidance with no obligation – contact us if you have any questions.

How long does an estate take to administer?

Estate administration is a long and complex legal process, so expect it to take months rather than weeks. As each estate is different, it is almost impossible to tell how long the process will take without knowing more about the specific nature of the estate.  We offer one of the most efficient services available.

How do we hold client monies?

Kings Court Trust holds client monies in segregated and separate client accounts with strictly controlled access. We are fully regulated which means we contribute to our regulator's compensation fund. In the extraordinarily unlikely event of our ceasing to trade, our regulator takes on responsibility for estate completion/client monies. Our client monies are independently audited by our auditors and our regulator on an annual basis. We have been in business 15 years and of course, have professional indemnity insurance. In fact, we don’t need to be regulated but have chosen to be so to ensure consumers get the protection of our regulator in addition to access to the Legal Services Ombudsman for any services issues, should they arise.

What is estate administration?

Probate is just a small part of administering a loved one’s estate once they’ve passed away. Estate administration is so much more. It’s the process of sorting out a deceased person’s legal and tax affairs. Everything from bank accounts, belongings and property to debts, pensions and Inheritance Tax.

Our fixed fee price.

We are completely transparent with our pricing structure. We will tell you the fee to administer the estate upfront, giving you time to carefully consider and compare.