If your loved one died without leaving a will – often referred to as dying ‘intestate’ – you will need to apply for a grant of letters of administration rather than a grant of probate.
A grant of letters of administration is a legal document that gives you authority to administer someone’s estate following their death. This includes things like collecting funds, closing bank accounts, paying off debts and taxes, selling or transferring property, and distributing any remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
To get a grant of letters of administration, you need to send an application to the probate registry and wait for around 30 days for it to be approved. This might take longer now because the COVID-19 pandemic means that the probate registry has a backlog of applications to get through.
Once you have a grant of letters of administration, you can get started with the estate admin. This takes most people around three months to a year depending on the size and complexity of the estate.
The laws of intestacy determine who is entitled to the majority of someone’s estate when they die intestate. This person is also responsible for applying for a grant of letters of administration. Up to four people can apply for a grant together, but you can also apply on your own.
In most cases, the person who stands to inherit the most is the spouse or civil partner of the deceased. If not, then it might be their children or parents. The rules of intestacy can be complicated if your family is not structured traditionally – for example, if your loved one had a partner, but they were not married.
The first step to your application will be figuring out the value of your loved one’s estate. This includes their bank accounts, savings accounts, investments, pensions, life insurance policies, stocks and shares, property, unpaid debts, and taxes. It is important that you get this information right on your probate forms to ensure your application is not delayed even further. You will also need to find sufficient legal documents to prove your relationship to the deceased. This might include birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce certificates.
If this sounds like it might be too complex or simply too much work for you, Kwil offers a probate service in which our specialists will collect this information for you and fill out your application forms on your behalf. If you choose to hire a professional probate service such as Kwil, you can rest assured knowing that your application will be approved as quickly as possible.