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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:

  1. 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. 
  2. The deceased’s bank (some people store important documents with their banks)
  3. A will search company.
  4. 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:

Intestacy rules