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Bank Accounts & Probate

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  • Bank Accounts & Probate

    Hello. I am sole executor of my recently deceased mother's estate. She has a will, with myself and four siblings being equal beneficiaries. The value of the estate does not reach the threshold for Inheritance Tax. I am aware Grant of Probate is required before the sale of the property can commence. She has 2 bank accounts, both of which are able to transfer funds to a nominated account without needing Probate as the balances are under their threshold for this. My question is this - as no Probate is required for these funds to be transferred, (I already have an separate bank account I can nominate for this) would I be able to distribute this money as per the terms of my late mother's will before I obtain the Probate, which I will need before I commence the sale of the property? I am concerned that if this money is shared before I apply for Probate then there may be problems arising later. Thank you for any help
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  • #2
    I would wait, especially as you are likely to have expenses with the house. is one of the beneficiaries desperate for an interim payment?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 2222 View Post
      I would wait, especially as you are likely to have expenses with the house. is one of the beneficiaries desperate for an interim payment?
      Thank for replying. No, they are all happy to wait - just interested to know any legal implications of distributing it before probate.It's a relatively straightforward estate to manage in all respects.

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      • #4
        I'm fairly sure that you shouldn't distribute the estate at all before probate.

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        • #5
          Even if you are pretty sure that there are no creditors to crawl out of the woodwork it is worth waiting 6 months after obtaining probate to draw up the final accounts and distribute.

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          • #6
            Hi 00018,

            Usually if a bank/building society knows that probate will be needed (as is the case here due to the property sale) they may refuse to transfer until the Grant is obtained. IMO it would be safer to obtain the values and get the property valued so you can apply for the Grant and not distribute until you have a clearer picture of the estate. There may be debts that are due payment or DWP overpayments for example.

            At this stage just obtain figures for completing the IHT form. If the bank/building society insists on transferring the funds then that is fine but it would be advisable to 'sit' on them not make any distribution until such time as you are certain of the assets and liabilities of the estate. Funeral costs etc can be paid from these sums of course but no distributions for the time being.

            Where 6mths has been suggested this is the time limit for bringing a claim against the estate by a potential beneficiary. If there is no likelihood of any claim then it may not be necessary to wait the 6mths. However depending on how well you know the estate and any debts that were incurred by your mother it may be worth considering taking out a notice in the London Gazette and local paper to your mother's address for any creditors to come forward. The notice has to be in the papers for 2 mths but after that time the executor can't be found liable for not administering the estate correctly where there are debts to be dealt with. Taking this notice out only protects the executor not the beneficiaries. So if any debt comes to light at a later point the creditor can pursue the beneficiaries if needs be.

            Hopefully that makes sense but here if have any other worries. Sure we can point you in the right direction.
            I am a qualified solicitor and am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

            Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

            If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

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