When someone dies the first question which needs to be asked is whether there is a valid Will. If there is a Will the “Executors” (the people nominated by the deceased in the Will to administer the estate) must locate the original Will. Sometimes the Will is at the deceased’s home, but usually a firm of Solicitors, Will Writers or perhaps a Bank will hold the original Will. In order for the Will to be released you will need to provide authority from all Executors named in the Will together with 2 forms of identification for each Executor and the original death certificate of the deceased.
It may well be that the deceased never made a Will and if this is the case the Rules of Intestacy will apply. These rules govern who may apply to administer the estate (“the Administrators”) and who the beneficiaries are.
Having established if the deceased died with a valid Will or Intestate, you will need to consider whether you will need to apply to the Probate Court for a Grant of Probate (where there is a Will) or for a Grant of Letters of Administration (Intestacy).
There are two stages in dealing with an estate:
- You will need to find out what the deceased owned at the date of death and any debts owed. Even if there is no Inheritance Tax to pay, you will need to fill out an Inheritance Tax form and swear an “Oath” (a written statement of truth by an Executor or Administrator to the Court). If there is Inheritance Tax to pay this must be paid to HMRC before you apply to the Probate Court for a Grant. Please see the following for further information:
If the Probate Court approves your Oath and is satisfied that any Inheritance Tax has been paid (or is not payable) it will issue the Grant.
- Once the Grant has been issued by the Court you will have the authority to deal with the estate (“the administration of the estate”). This means you will be able to request banks etc to release money to you and you will be able to sell any property of the deceased. Once you have realised the estate you can then pay out to the beneficiaries.
- You can choose to instruct us to only obtain the Grant or to carry out the full administration of the estate.