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Published On: May 2, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

How long do I have to wait to get my inheritance?

Inheritance from a deceased estate is not always something you will have control over, even when you have an entitlement to receive a gift of personal effects, money, or a share of the estate. When you are left something in a persons will, it is the responsibility of the executor appointed by the person who passed away. If there was no will left, then your inheritance will be determined by the rules of intestacy and distribution will be managed by the person who applies to be administrator of the estate – usually one of the beneficiaries.

Being a beneficiary of the estate gives you a right to receive the legacy or portion of the estate, but does not necessarily give you a say in how the estate is dealt with and when you receive your entitlement. This is under the control of the executor or administrator.

It is generally accepted that executors or administrators have at least 12 months to deal with the estate without expectation of distribution by beneficiaries – this is known as the executor’s year. In this period the executor would deal with liquidating assets and payment of inheritance tax and debts, and then prepare estate accounts so that a final distribution figure is ready. This year can pass very quickly however, particularly in the current climate, when some estates include sale of property and business assets.

Executors have a lot of responsibility and so it is important that they act in a timely way to deal with assets, liabilities and the making of distributions. However, they must also take careful steps and act diligently in their roles as there can be repercussions for them personally if they don’t deal with debts and tax correctly, or if they don’t get the best advice in managing the estate. Complexities in the drafting of the will, potential claims against the estate and missing beneficiaries can all be hurdles an executor may need to seek advice for and make further enquiries – which can be time consuming.

If there is a risk of a provision claim against an estate, then executors will generally be advised that they should wait 10 months from the issuing of the grant of probate or letters of administration before making a distribution. This is because eligible applicants under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 can make a claim for further provision from the estate up to 6 months after the grant has issued, and can delay serving their claim for a further 4 months. As it can take some months for a grant of representation to be obtained, this can easily push the distributions beyond the executor’s year.

It is also good practise to also run a notice in The Gazette and local paper if there is a risk of other claims against the estate, and an executor should wait 56 days before making distributions in case claims are made. If the executor waits that two months, they are then given some protections against the claims personally.

With the above in mind, it is not uncommon for even fairly simple estates to take just over a year to be distributed; although a diligent executor in a simple estate with the right legal advice can often act much more swiftly. If you believe that the executor or administrator in your estate is not taking appropriate steps to deal with the estate, then you should seek legal advice and consider the possibility of have them removed and replaced. You can contact one of our specialist contentious probate solicitors to discuss the options available to you.

*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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6 thoughts on “How long do I have to wait to get my inheritance?

  1. Hi been waiting over 2 years for a deceaseds flat to be sold so i can get what has been left to me, what happens if the flat is not sold or how long do i wait. thanks in advance, Sharon

    1. Dear Sharon,
      Thanks for your comment. A member of the team will get in touch with you shortly. Kind Regards

    2. It’s been 10 months since dad died no probate done yet and property still got tenants in..and now there are saying another year so they can evict tenant so they get housed

  2. Anthony Gold’s article on “How Long Do I Have to Wait to Get My Inheritance?” provides useful insights into the legal process of probate and how long it can take to distribute an estate. The article highlights the importance of seeking legal advice to ensure that the process runs smoothly and efficiently.

  3. Hi,my mums estate is finely sorted beginning of June,I do not get on with my brother who is in charge of the mums estate,I backed down when I found out my brother got mum to take my sister-in-law of as joint with me sorting mums estate long do I have to wait for my inheritance as my brother is so nasty..thanks Martyn.

    1. Dear Martyn, thank you for your comment. A member of the team will get in touch with you shortly to see if we are able to help.

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