What is a Section 27 Notice in Probate?
Posted on 9th June 2020
Section 27 notice:
A Section 27 notice is an advertisement that can be placed by the Personal Representatives of an Estate, to inform any potential creditors that the Estate is going to be distributed shortly. The Section 27 notice gives the deceased’s creditors an opportunity to make a claim against the Estate for money or property that they were owed by the deceased, prior to it being distributed to the beneficiaries.
The Personal Representatives (you can find out what a Personal Representative is in our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston’s blog, here) of an Estate are the people (or person) responsible for administering the Estate after someone has passed away. These people could be the executor named in the deceased’s Will or the people entitled to deal with the Estate under the Rules of Intestacy.
One of the responsibilities of the Personal Representatives is to ensure that any outstanding debts are settled prior to distribution of the remaining Estate (known as the Residuary Estate) to the beneficiaries.
Section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 is where the basis for Section 27 searches can be found, the name being derived from this section of the law. When the Personal Representatives place a Section 27 Notice in the Estate, it provides them with a protection against any claims by potential creditors who do not make a claim within the time limit.
Where are Section 27 Notices?
Generally, the notice should always be placed in The Gazette. If there is a property or other assets (such as a business) in a specific area, quite often the Notice will also be placed in a local newspaper.
For our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Lancaster, this would normally be the Lancaster Guardian, or for our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston, this would potentially be the Lancashire Evening Post.
When our Probate Solicitors place these notices on your behalf (as Personal Representatives of an Estate), we would place the notices via Legalads.co.uk, who would then chose the best local paper to place the notices in.
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How long does it take to receive a response to the notices?
Section 27 Notices are sometimes referred to as Statutory Advertisements, as they are set out under the law, and section 27 of the Trustee Act allows a two-month time frame for any potential creditors to come forward and claim their interest in the deceased’s Estate.
What happens after the two months?
If a creditor does not come forward within two months of the notices being placed, the Personal Representatives would be free to start distributing the Estate to the beneficiaries. If any creditors come forward after this time, they cannot claim against the Personal Representatives for any unpaid debts, and they would, instead, follow the money into the hands of the beneficiaries. The benefit of placing these notices as a Personal Representative is that, if they are not placed, you could be held personally liable for any outstanding debts.
Do I legally have to place Section 27 Notices?
Whilst there is no legal requirement for these notices to be placed, they can protect the Personal Representatives from being personally liable to any creditors for the deceased’s debts. It can also help to make sure that, as far as possible, any outstanding liabilities are settled prior to distribution of the Estate. This can give the beneficiaries peace of mind that – as far as is reasonably possible – all enquiries have been made to try and pay everything that needs to be paid.
Do Section 27 Notices prevent any claims against the Estate at all?
No. As explained by our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston above, if the creditor does not come forward within the statutory period, this does not prevent them from claiming their money back, it just means that, usually, they will need to claim the money back from the beneficiaries, rather than the Personal Representatives.
It’s also important to note that Section 27 Notices do not prevent any claims being made against the Estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which you can read about in more details in our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Lancaster’s blog, here. In brief, claims can be made under the 1975 Act by dependents or individuals who feel that they are legally entitled to make a claim from the deceased’s Estate if they do not feel that they have been adequately provided for.
How do you place Section 27 Notices?
Generally, Section 27 Notices are placed by professionals, such as our team of Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston and Lancaster. However, it is possible for anyone to place these notices. You can find a comprehensive guide on how to place these notices on the Gazette website.
How much do Section 27 Notices cost?
The cost of placing Section 27 Notices will generally be in the region of £200.00, but this can vary depending on the local newspaper. As this is an administration expense, the costs of carrying out the searches can be claimed from the Estate by the Personal Representatives.
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