A grant of letters of administration is similar to a grant of probate. It is an official court document issued by the probate registry that gives the handler authority to deal with someone’s estate after their death. If you acquire a grant of letters of administration, you become the administrator of your loved one’s estate and are therefore able to sell or distribute their assets to beneficiaries.
There are several reasons why a grant of letters of administration would be required rather than a grant of probate when it comes to handling someone’s estate following their death. First, if someone dies without leaving a will then no executor has been named, which means that someone needs to step in and act as administrator to deal with their estate. Another reason might be that the person left a will, but the named executors are unable to undertake the responsibility of probate. Similarly, if no executors were named in the will, or if the will was deemed invalid, someone will need to apply for a grant of letters of administration to act as administrator.
A grant of letters of administration is not required if your loved one died and left a will with named executors who are able to undertake the responsibility. In this case, the executors should apply for a grant of probate instead. Additionally, a grant of letters of administration is not required when the estate is valued at less than £10,000, only includes assets and property that are jointly owned, only includes physical possessions and cash, or includes debts that are valued more highly than the assets.
It is usually clear who should apply for a grant of probate, but if you need a grant of letters of administration instead, things are a little more complicated. Usually, whoever is due to inherit the most from the estate according to the rules of intestacy is responsible. If the deceased has a living spouse or civil partner, it will most likely be them. If they didn’t have a legal partner, it will usually be another relative. This might be children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews, half-siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles, or children of aunts and uncles. It should be noted that only those over 18 years of age are able to apply for letters of administration.
If you are responsible for getting a grant of letters of administration, the first thing that you should do is figure out the value of your loved one’s estate and assets. This includes property, pension funds, bank accounts, and more. Once you have this information, you can start filling out the necessary paperwork and tax forms for the probate registry. These forms can be incredibly complex and time-consuming, so many people choose to hire a probate specialist. If you take this route, your specialist will gather all the information you need and fill out the forms for you, speeding up the process and ensuring that no mistakes are made. Once they have filled out your forms, they will send them to you to be signed. Your application can then be submitted to the probate registry who, if they approve it, will post your document to you.
This whole process should take around one month if your estate is relatively small and simple. For more complex estates, it can take longer.
Once you have received your grant of letters of administration, you can start handling the estate, which includes collecting funds, closing accounts, claiming life insurance, selling property, and more. This often takes between three and twelve months depending on the size of the estate. If you are worried about not having time for this responsibility or are concerned about making mistakes, you might want to consider hiring a professional such as Kwil for a full estate administration service. This means that everything will be handled for you in as little time as possible.
If you are applying for letters of administration on your own, it will cost you £215. If you choose to hire a solicitor or organisation to apply for you, this price will be lowered to £155. Of course, if you hire a professional probate service, you will be paying their fees on top of this, which usually take the total price to around £750. If you choose to go down this route, all responsibilities for preparing your application and filling out forms will be taken off your shoulders and your application will usually be approved much quicker as probate professionals are far less likely to make mistakes.