How long should I wait to distribute assets after a grant of probate?
I act for lay executors who are pressing me to release the estate funds. We only obtained a grant of probate and advertised for creditors a month ago. How should I advise my clients?
You should advise the personal representatives that they will be personally liable if they distribute assets without waiting for at least:
- two months from the placing of statutory advertisements in relation to creditors and unknown claimants to the estate
- six months from the date of the grant in the case of a family provision claim
Be aware that, as family provision claimants have four months from issue of the claim in which to serve it, waiting a further four months is required for absolute protection.
The personal representatives will need to be advised on the level of risk that an early distribution entails and, if appropriate, on the possibility of insurance.
Commercial insurance providers offer early distribution insurance that enables estate funds to be released to beneficiaries before the expiry of the 10-month period and protects the personal representatives from a family provision claim served during that period.
In addition, you may wish to consider if there is any risk to your firm if they distribute early.
For more information, see our Wills and Inheritance Protocol.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.
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