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Probate: Warning for Personal Representatives

Probate: Warning for Personal Representatives

06 Jan 2021

Under section 25 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925, the duties of Personal Representatives include a duty to collect and get in the estate of the deceased and where appropriate to convert any assets of the estate into money. This may involve selling the deceased’s home.

 

Commonly, clients find themselves appointed as Personal Representatives of a deceased person’s estate where the deceased person may have lived miles away from them in a wholly unfamiliar area and possibly in an area under tight Covid lockdown restrictions. This may present obvious practical difficulties.

 

Personal Representatives owe a duty to the beneficiaries and any creditors of the deceased to perform their duties with due diligence and where it is appropriate for them to sell the deceased person’s home, this will involve ensuring that the price obtained is the open market value.

 

Personal Representatives run the risk of being sued by beneficiaries or any creditors of the estate if it can be shown that they have failed to discharge their duty and have sold any property at an undervalue.

 

In this situation, Personal Representatives will be heavily reliant on local agents in providing advice and assistance as to the sale of the property and the appropriate price to sell for. Beneficiaries of the deceased may be desperate that the property is sold as quickly as possible to realise their interest but this may leave scope for unscrupulous agents to operate.  Therefore, it is important that Personal Representatives research carefully which professionals to engage and ensure that they appoint properly qualified valuers or other professionals to obtain appropriate and accurate valuation advice in respect of the property that is being sold.

 

Here is a link to the Government’s brief guide about valuing the estate of a deceased:

https://www.gov.uk/valuing-estate-of-someone-who-died

 

and here is a link to the RICS guidance on best practice for registered valuers:

 

https://www.rics.org/uk/upholding-professional-standards/regulation/valuer-registration/best-practice-for-registered-valuers/

 

If you are a Personal Representative and would benefit from any specific advice or assistance as to your duties and responsibilities in administering an estate, please contact Ian Pringle by telephone on 0207 486 5131 or by email to ian.pringle@mwh-law.co.uk or make an online enquiry here.

 

This blog was prepared on 28 October 2020. It is not intended to be advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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