Our Falling out over Finances series continues and today we’re looking at inheritance issues and estate disputes…
Distribution of the Estate
The death of an individual is a sensitive, emotional matter, but in some cases, Estate beneficiaries disagree on the distribution of assets.
Sometimes, individuals believe their share of the assets is insufficient or not distributed in accordance with the intentions of the deceased.
Complex Estates involving large amounts of assets, land and property, business interests or intangible assets cannot be resolved quickly. Expert skills are required to value the whole or part of an Estate.
Even simple Estates with minimal assets are not guaranteed to be resolved quickly; it can be a drawn out process needing an independent third party to distribute assets fairly.
Third Party Administrator of Estate
Our Forensic Services team has acted in cases where disputes have been detrimental to the completion of the Estate. In these cases, the Court has appointed a neutral, independent third party to act as Administrator. Professional advice is vital to ensure that all aspects of Estate administration are dealt with efficiently.
It is essential to have prepared financial statements. Funds held on trust for the beneficiaries need to be fully reconciled on a regular basis, even if they are held independently by a solicitor in a designated Estate bank account.
Appointing an Executor
We often see Executors that are appointed due to their family connection, with no financial or legal expertise.
It is vital to appoint specialists that can provide the necessary advice in terms of inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax, and in claiming the correct reliefs for the categories of assets owned by the deceased. It is important that they have a detailed understanding of business assets and liabilities to include a partnership or business as an asset of the Estate.
Experienced, qualified individuals must deal with Estate matters, which avoids unnecessary delays and excessive costs incurred as a result of poor administration.
We have seen cases where solicitors, an estate agent, and an auctioneer have dealt with Estates, but there is no guarantee that all aspects of Estate administration were addressed. This lack of specialist financial knowledge may prove costly if distributions are made incorrectly.
Our Forensic Services team deals with all aspects of Estate management and taxation, including liaising with third parties to report on personal tax implications.
Please contact our Forensic specialists on 0191 285 0321 to discuss further.
Next Week’s Episode….
In Episode 4, ‘Marital Matters’, we will look at recent matrimonial disputes where spouses have hidden assets and diverted funds to attempt to protect their personal wealth.