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It has always been the case that it is a good idea to prepare a Will and get your testamentary wishes written down and made legally binding and arguably never has a truer word been spoken given our modern lifestyles are making the task of locating potential beneficiaries increasingly difficult for Administrators of intestate estates.
An estate is intestate if the deceased did not leave a Will and in such circumstances somebody has to fill the role of an Executor; namely to collect in the estate, pay any liabilities and distribute the estate to the correct beneficiaries. In the case of an intestate estate, this person is known as the Administrator and they are usually a close relative.
An article published recently in The Telegraph explains that over half of UK adults do not have a valid Will in place. One could be forgiven for thinking that this number is so high because young adults are perceived to hardly ever prepare Wills, but alarmingly, 34% of over 55's do not have a Will in place, which amounts to over 7million people.
One major problem Administrators face is ensuring they have identified every individual who falls into a class of persons entitled to benefit from a deceased’s estate. The Telegraph article goes on to highlight some of the many ways Administrators can be caught out when attempting to do this. These include, name changes, divorce, estranged family members from previous relationships and increasing numbers of people moving to live in other countries.
Although lifestyles may change, one thing that hasn’t changed is that the liability to distribute the estate correctly to all the correct beneficiaries still rests firmly on the Administrator.
If you are concerned about ensuring your estate administration runs as smoothly as possible for your loved ones, contact our expert Private Client Team on 0800 988 3650, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text LAW to 67777.