Checklist for administration of an estate in Jersey
Updated 20 December 2018
Words you may need to know
Checklist - a list of things that need to be carried out to complete a task
Administration/ Administrator- the management of business or affairs / the person doing it
Estate - the property of a dead person. It might include, property, shares, money jewellery, rights to something etc.
Executor/ Executrix - this is the person who has been given the task of winding up the dead person's estate, paying the bills and making sure that property left to others is given to them.
Beneficiaries - these are people who are going to benefit in some way from the dead person's property
Codicils - This is a document that adds something to a will. It might be making a change or adding something in. If there is too much to add or change it is better to make a new will.
Spouse - husband, wife or civil partner
Next of kin - this is the dead persons nearest blood relative or husband, wife or civil partner
Intestacy - this means the person died without leaving a will
Application for Letters of Administration - this gives someone a legal right to manage the dead persons affairs
Assets and liabilities - this is what the person owns and what debts they have
Deceased - the dead person
Realise the assets - sell the goods and property
Chattels - things (belongings) which the dead person owned
Inventory - a list of items
Distribute - give out
Residuary bequests - this is things which have been left to someone after everything else has been given out. What is left over e.g.; the remainder of the estate.
The following checklist is to help anyone who finds themselves in the role of Executor or Administrator of an estate and feels happy to carry out the duties involved.
If, having looked through these notes it seems too difficult, it is possible, with the beneficiaries' approval, to get professional help from an accountant, lawyer or bank. All will charge the estate to do so.
You can get further advice and help from Jersey Citizens Advice, or the Probate Registrar at the Judicial Greffe, Royal Court House, Royal Square, telephone 441300.
The next of kin or close friend:
What to do first
Check Wills and Codicils for any medical or funeral directions, and the name of the Executor(s).
Contact the Funeral Directors who will organise the death certificate, death notices and funeral and will organise the Death Grant claim form from Customer and Local Services.
Make sure all property and valuables are safe, secure and insured. Check the care of any animals.
If there is a Will, notify the Executor(s) named, or;
If there is no will, find who the Administrator of the estate is, normally the eldest son or daughter, eldest brother or sister, or sometimes spouse, depending on the circumstances. Contact the Probate Registrar at the Judicial Greffe for any help.
Duties of Executor or Administrator
Contact the Judicial Greffe, Probate Section for a leaflet explaining what to do.
At this stage it is possible for either the Executor(s) or the Administrator to get professional help. The charges can be taken out of the estate, depending on the circumstances.
Guidelines 'How to administer an estate' will be provided by the Judicial Greffe when you are given the Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration.
Initial letters / contacts
- Beneficiaries - advise them you are administering the estate
- Bank(s) - to register Death Certificate (obtained from the Funeral Directors)
- Insurance companies - life policies, house and contents, car and personal health insurers
- Customer and Local Services to claim Death Grant (usually part of undertaker's duties)
- DHSS and / or UK occupational pension company
- Post Office - re-direct mail if appropriate
- Passport Office - cancel passport
- Services - gas, electricity, water and telephone
- Parish - re: rates and driving licence
- Comptroller of Income Tax
- Credit card companies
- Registrars of Stocks and Shares
- Stockbrokers for valuation of investments
- Creditors - may need to advertise in Gazette section of the Jersey Evening Post
- Employees - e.g. gardener, cleaner - will they be retained temporarily?
- Valuers for the personal estate - furniture, jewellery, etc.
- Valuers for the property - Estate Agent
- Landlord or Landlord's agent if deceased was in a rented property. Any rental deposit forms part of the deceased's estate. Rent will be payable by the Executor / Administrator until the accommodation has been cleared of all the deceased's property and the keys returned.
Application for Letters of Administration (Intestacy)
You can apply for Letters of Administration at the Judicial Greffe and you will be told in advance what you need to do. You can also get legal advice or assistance from a law firm but that will have to be paid for.
You swear an Oath to administer the estate in accordance with Jersey Law. Full details will be given to you at interview with the Probate Registrar at the Judicial Greffe.
If there is property involved, you may be advised to use a lawyer for advice.
Full details of assets and liabilities of the estate of the deceased are required.
Application for Grant of Probate
Assets will include:
- Bank accounts - updated to death
- Insurance policies - updated to include bonuses
- Value of furniture, jewellery, car, etc.
- Shares (if applicable) valued as at date of death
Debts will include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
- Income Tax due at date of death
- Household (utility bills)
You should make an appointment with Probate Registrar, Judicial Greffe when all the information is ready.
You then attend the Judicial Greffe to swear the Oath of Executor.
The stamp fee will be calculated by the Judicial Greffe and an advice note will be given for the States Treasury. You then give this to the Treasury Cashiers.
The Executor or Administrator will receive Grant of Probate about seven days to ten days after the application (you can get extra copies for a fee).
Gathering the assets
You should open a bank account in name of the estate. If the account accrues interest, income tax may be payable.
The Administrator uses the Letters of Administration to register their authority to realise the assets of the estate from banks, insurers, and all debtors. The Executor uses the Grant of Probate to register their authority to realise the assets of the estate from banks, insurers and all other debtors. Get bank statements from the date of death.
Pay the funeral costs and other expenses.
Get refunds of insurance premiums paid since date of death if that applies
Shares held in Jersey registered companies can be re-registered in the name of the beneficiary by contacting the company secretary, producing the death certificate and Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration).
Arrange the auction of chattels (e.g. furniture) if applicable.
Check that all assets have been collected.
Keep accurate accounting records of everything you have done and make an inventory of the estate.
Settling the estate
Pay debts, bills and administration expenses. Keep receipts.
Check that all utility services have been transferred and insurance policies cancelled.
Complete Income Tax return to date of death, if appropriate, and pay any tax due. If an Income Tax liability is likely, sufficient money must be kept back in the estate for tax to be paid before any final distribution.
If there is to be a gravestone, leave enough money to pay the bill.
Begin to distribute the estate:
Give, bequests of specific items e.g. jewellery, personal effects. Get receipts from anyone you give something to.
Beneficiaries can be told of the value of what is left.
The estate accounts
Prepare a Statement of Administration which can be sent to all beneficiaries, detailing all receipts and payments.
Any residue remaining in the estate's account can now be given out, if all beneficiaries approve the Statement. Get receipts from beneficiaries .
NB. It is possible to arrange a funeral without the use of Funeral Directors but it requires careful planning and research. Advice can be sought from the Superintendant Registrar at the Crematorium.