Administering An Estate
Remotely? Help Is At Hand
While lockdown slowed down many areas of life, administering an estate cannot be put on hold. Senior associate solicitor Charlotte Cooper, a specialist in probate, explains how the industry has responded to the needs of those who are having to administer estates remotely
Here at Napthens our specialist teams have been working together (remotely) and making good use of technology to help clients through the process:
• All postal communication is scanned and stored electronically so lawyers can consider and process post from the office or home
• Client identification is now quicker and secure through our new app
• We are registered for the online probate registration service so simple probates can be sent electronically
• Notification to banks is largely processed through electronic portals so we can obtain financial information, pay funerals and obtain Inheritance Tax funds all online
Our Probate Asset Search service is an online search facility to locate records of any assets or liabilities in the name of the deceased for the last 10 years. So, even if self-isolation means family cannot enter a property to find paperwork, we can locate details remotely. Our relationship with Certainty Will Register means we can still search for missing wills anywhere in the country. This is a great relief to many who are in greater distress because they were possibly unable to see loved ones before they passed away.
While HMRC and the Registry struggle with large numbers of applications with reduced staff, there has been no amendment to the time period for filing papers and clients are relieved we have the facility to help and support them even though face to face meetings may not be possible.
We’re here to help
The stamp duty holiday has made many people who were postponing a sale, decide to place property on the market and our residential conveyancing team is seeing a high number of instructions.
Clients are much more considered about how an inheritance should be invested as they are concerned about future economic conditions and many are seeing the benefit of taking professional financial advice to ensure their financial objectives are met.
Throughout these strange times, our Probate team has been working closely with our colleagues in Estate Planning to ensure our clients have the best tax and succession planning in place.
Of course, the reality is, while technology helps the process along, the personal touch will always be important. Please speak to one of our advisers to get the specialist advice and help you need.
Charlotte Cooper is a senior associate solicitor in the Wills and estate planning team at regional law firm Napthens