Administering an estate

There are a number of different estate documents that are required by charities when administering an estate. Practice varies as to whether a copy of the Will should be provided before probate has been granted, but provision at an early stage is appreciated on the understanding that it remains confidential until probate. The documents that are required by charities after probate are as follows:

Pecuniary legacy – the name and address of the deceased, the date of death, the amount of the legacy and a copy of the clause containing the legacy in the Will;

Specific legacy – the name and address of the deceased, the date of death, a description of the legacy and a copy of the clause containing the legacy in the Will;

Residuary legacy

  • a photocopy of the Will and any codicils
  • a schedule of assets and liabilities (or copy of the HM Inland Revenue Account)
  • valuations of significant assets, such as property or an investment portfolio
  • a copy of the estate accounts – this is a requirement under law for any beneficiary who requests them and the Charity Commission requires charities to request these where they benefit from the residue of an estate
  • a statement of estate income Form R185 (Estate Income).

If a legacy is not paid within the executor’s year, beneficiaries are entitled to statutory interest as part of their legacy. Interest runs from the first anniversary of death. From July 2003, interest is payable at the basic rate of funds in court

If there are a number of charity residuary beneficiaries named in a Will, most of the larger charities will be prepared to act as the lead charity in co-ordinating a common view (as far as possible) or simply acting as postman. Generally, the first-named charity will undertake the task if requested.