Dealing with the affairs of someone who has died can take a long time. It is not unusual for it to take up to a year, perhaps longer if things are not straightforward. Many organisations may be involved in the process, for example, banks, building societies, insurance companies and HM Revenue & Customs.
The estate cannot be dealt with until all claims to it have been received. Individuals have six months from the date when probate was granted to make claims against the estate.
Other things that may affect the time taken are:
- whether the financial affairs of the person who died were in order;
- what the person who died owned and where it is;
- whether the person who died had an interest in a business or a farm;
- what the will or the rules of intestacy say;
- whether there are any legal disputes (claims against the estate or claims by the estate);
- whether inheritance tax needs to be paid; and
- making sure that all HM Revenue & Customs files are closed and that matters relating to income tax, benefits agencies and pensions have been sorted out.
Arguments between family members, beneficiaries or personal representatives can also delay matters. Any disagreements must be sorted out before the affairs of the person who died can be settled.