If you are set to inherit money, property or other assets from an estate, you may be wondering how long the process takes from someone passing away, to receiving inheritance.
In reality, this question is hard to answer; the timescale can depend on a number of factors, including how complex the estate is.
However, as a general rule, most estates are settled in around six to nine months, with simple estates, (those with no property to sell and only one bank account), settled in around three months.
What is the inheritance process?
If the deceased has left a will, they will have named an executor. This is the person, (or persons), responsible for seeing that the deceased’s wishes, as laid out in the will, are adhered to.
In order to do this, they will need a Grant of Probate, a document which will give them access to everything they need in order to sort out the estate, including bank accounts. The Grant of Probate will also allow them to pay off creditors and sell any assets.
Where a will has not been left, the deceased’s next of kin will be called upon to deal with the estate. To do so they will need to be granted Letters of Administration.
What is a Letter of Administration?
Granting access to a deceased person’s estate, Letters of Administration provide legal confirmation that the person to which they have been issued has the right to access the deceased’s finances and deal with their estate.
Factors which can delay inheritance
No two estates are the same and as such some will take longer than others to sort. Factors such as having to sell property, stocks or shares, waiting for a pay out from insurance and finding all creditors, takes time to sort and will impact how long it takes before inheritance is paid.
Some estates can be delayed by the simple matter of gathering together the relevant paperwork, something that can be time consuming if documents have been misplaced over time.
Another factor which can delay inheritance is finding all of the beneficiaries. In some cases, a beneficiary may be hard to locate. However, it is important that reasonable attempts are made to find them. This could mean using a specialist tracing agent to find the missing beneficiary.
Receiving your inheritance
Once all assets have been sold or transferred, and all funds have been received, the executor can confirm the value of the estate. The estate can then be distributed as defined by the will, or by the rules of intestacy, where there is no will.
In some cases, where the majority of assets have been received, but the estate isn’t 100% complete, it may be possible for executors to arrange an interim payment to beneficiaries. This will see executors pay some money to those set to inherit, while holding back enough to cover any further costs the estate may incur. Once everything has been paid, any remaining funds can then be given to complete the entitlement of the beneficiaries.
Help is on hand
If you have been named as an executor through a will, or via the rules of intestacy, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead of you.
Here at Smith Partnership, our wills and inheritance solicitors are experts in all inheritance matters. From helping with probate to advising on inheritance tax and the distribution of funds, the team is on hand to help and support you through this difficult time.
If you’d like to find out more about the legal services offered by Smith Partnership, don’t hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, speak to a member of our team directly on 0330 123 1229.