Death on Active Service Probate Case Study

28 July 2017

Client Situation

Mr. S died without leaving a Will. He never married and did not have any children. His parents had died before him, which left his two sisters as beneficiaries of his Estate.

We were contacted by Mr. S’s two sisters who wanted help administering his Estate. The process was complicated by the fact that Mr. S and his sisters had inherited the family home from their parents. However, the property was not registered with the Land Registry and was legally in the name of Mr. S’s late father who was lost at sea in World War 2, and the only documentary evidence of this was a letter from the Admiralty.

After their mother died, Mr. S had obtained Letters of Administration for her Estate, but had not dealt with the property.

With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for obtaining Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excl VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs*.

How We Helped

We obtained Letters of Administration for Mr. S’s Estate on behalf of his sisters. We then applied to the Court for a Grant de Bonis Non in regard to their mother’s Estate. This is an application for a Grant to be reissued where the previous Administrator did not deal with all the assets of the Estate.

Once the Grant for their mother’s Estate had been issued, we submitted a further application to the Court for Letters of Administration for their father’s Estate. His Estate in 1942 was above the nil-rate band threshold, therefore Inheritance Tax would ordinarily have been due. However, as he was killed on active service his Estate was entitled to a total exemption to Inheritance Tax.

When the Grant for their father’s Estate was issued, our in-house property team prepared the paperwork necessary to transfer legal ownership of the property to the deceased’s sisters. An application was submitted to HM Land Registry for ownership of the property to be registered.

The Outcome

Legal ownership of our clients’ property was transferred and the property registered with HM Land Registry. Legal ownership passed from our clients’ father who died in 1942 through the Estate of his wife and son to our clients. No Inheritance Tax was paid as we successfully claimed an exemption due to the father’s death on active service in World War 2.

*We can also pay all the costs of a Co-op Funeralcare funeral, providing the Estate owns sufficient assets which can be sold in due course to repay our costs.

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