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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35054
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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This is a probate question. I am the administrator of an

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This is a probate question.

I am the administrator of an estate and need advice regarding the paying beneficiary.

The sole beneficiary died after the estate deceased and without leaving a will. He was not married but has 1 son who is around 2 years old. Intestacy law dictates that this son receives the inheritance. However, I have 2 problems.

1. The mother of the deceased beneficiary has advised that he had no money and she had to pay his funeral costs. She would like to claim those costs back now that his estate was due to inherit. How should this be dealt with?

2. When I finally pay out the inheritance to the 2 year old, as he is a minor how should this be dealt with? I am not in a position to hold the money myself until he reaches 18 and the amount of the estate is only approximately £3,500 and so not worth paying excessive court fees to pay it into court. Please advise.

Many thanks,
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Did the deceased make any stipulation about the beneficiary surviving them by a specific number of days - if so did he do so?
Does the mother of the minor agree that there were no assets in the estate and that the mother paid the funeral costs
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,


The estate I am working on is an intestate one and therefore no will exists. He died in 2006.


The beneficiary's mother and the mother of the minor do not speak with each other but I am sure she will agree that he did not have any money and his mother had paid the funeral costs. However, a headstone was purchased that included the beneficiary's father as no headstone was bought for the father at the time of his death several years before.


Many thanks,


In fact since the beneficiary died AFTER the person whose estate you are dealing with then the money passes to HIS estate to be dealt with by the Administrator of his estate - either the mother of his child or his own mother or father.
His funeral costs are the first claim on the estate - this does NOT include any headstone.
The balance should simply be invested in a safe investment - Premium bonds or a National Savings Account in the child's name.
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

From what I gather, I would need the minor's mother to agree for me to pay the funeral costs to the deceased beneficiary's mother prior to paying the balance into a suitable account for the minor. Obviously, I would make sure that she is aware the funeral costs are the first claim on his estate and so really this is just a matter of formality. Is this correct?


Also, I presume I would need something in writing from both?

Yes both suggestions are good in terms of protecting yourself
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am concerned that the advice given is incorrect.


Firstly, from the HMRC website they state:


"You can deduct funeral expenses from the value of the estate, plus a reasonable amount for mourning expenses. Expenses can include a reasonable amount to cover the cost of:


  • flowers

  • refreshments for mourners

  • necessary expenses paid by the executor or administrator when arranging the funeral

  • a headstone to mark the grave"


Also, from the Govenment website here: it states:


"If an entitled relative survived the deceased but has since died, that relative’s personal representative must make a claim to the deceased person’s estate. A personal representative is either the executor of their Will or the person entitled to share in their estate if they did not leave a Will."


This would mean that the deceased beneficiary's mother would NOT be the personal representative of his estate as she is not an entitled beneficiary. However, the mother of his child (as parent and legal guardian) would be acting as the personal representative on their son's behalf.


Finally, any investments with National Savings & Investments for children are not suitable as they can be accessed by the parent.

In terms of Inheritance Tax - yes a headstone can count - in terms of what bills have first claim on the estate it does not.
If the mother of the child chooses not to Administer the Estate then the next in line are the parents
Since you would NOT be dealing with the Investment (you have no right to do so) the joint account would be held by either the grandmother or the mother - who are personally responsible;e to the child for any loss
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you