Distribution of the Estate
Once the personal representatives have paid all the deceased’s debts and other liabilities they will be in a position to consider the distribution of the estate. In this chapter consideration is first given to the point in time at which the personal representatives can be compelled to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries and the position of the beneficiaries prior to distribution. As a general rule, if the personal representatives distribute the estate to the wrong beneficiaries, they will be personally liable. The chapter considers what steps the personal representatives should take to ascertain who is in fact to benefit and to protect themselves from personal liability in the event of distribution to the wrong person(s). A beneficiary’s entitlement to interest or income from the date of the deceased’s death to the date of distribution is then considered, before looking at the process of distribution. Finally, the chapter considers the important question of when a personal representative ceases their role as personal representative and becomes a trustee.
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