Step 1 - Ensure you are confident that there is not a valid will
If you cannot find the deceased’s will amongst their possessions then you should try contacting:
- The deceased’s solicitor. If you are unaware of who the deceased’s solicitor was then you may want to consider contacting the local solicitors to the deceased and make enquiries.
- The deceased’s bank (some people store important documents with their banks)
- A will search company.
- London Principal Probate Registry
If a will is not located then it is assumed that the deceased did not have a will when they died.
Step 2 - Notify the relevant institutions of the deceased’s death and collect information
You must notify all relevant government organisations that the deceased has died. Tell us once is a service that allows you to report a death to the majority of government organisations in one go. You must also notify all the relevant institutions which the deceased was connected with. When contacting institutions, you should also ask about the value of the deceased’s assets/debts.
Step 3 - Apply for authority to deal with the deceased’s estate
If you are either a close relative or the spouse/civil partner of the deceased then you should take steps to apply for a grant of letters of administration.
Step 4 - Ensure all of the deceased’s debts are paid and collect in their assets
Step 5 - Distribute the estate in accordance with the intestacy rules.
The intestacy rules are:
Probate is the word normally used to describe the process of dealing with the estate of a person who has died.. There are two different types of grants:
- Grant of probate- applied for if the person who died with a valid will
- Grant of letters of administration- applied for if the person who died did not have a valid will.
It is important to write a will if you would like to choose what happens to your assets after your death. If you do not write a will, you will have no control over your assets which would be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules.
If you do not make a will then the intestacy rules apply on your death. This can mean that those who you wish to benefit from your estate could lose out and it could cause considerable hardship to your family.
An application to the court for a grant of letters of administration will need to be made by the next of kin of the deceased.
A person can usually apply to be an administrator if they:
- Are the next of kin (close relative) of the deceased
- Were married or in a civil partnership with the deceased