When someone dies somebody has to deal with their estate (the money, property and possessions left) by collecting all the money, paying debts and distributing the estate to those entitled.
Is There a Will
If there is a will, it will name the executor (s). They are the persons responsible for administering the estate. It may be necessary to apply for a grant of probate, which is an official document issued by a section of the court known as the probate registry.
What happens when there is no will?
This is known as intestacy and the process is more complicated. The person who has the legal right to deal with the affairs of the person who has died is known as the personal representative and who can apply to the court (probate registry) for letters of administration, which is authority for them to administer the estate.
Generally, if the person who has died had more than £5,000.00 and / or owned a property, it will be necessary to apply for either a grant of probate or letters of administration.
Organisations holding money in the deceased's name need to know to who the money is to be paid. The distribution of the estate is the responsibility of the person named on the deed.
A grant is sometimes not needed and money may be released without the holder seeing a grant, when the deceased's estate is small and there are no complications.
You can obtain the application forms from the nearest probate office. You may have to attend an informal interview to confirm the details on the form and discuss any queries.
Consult A Solicitor
In most circumstances it is advisable for you to consult a solicitor both to relieve you of many worries and to take control of wills, problems of intestacy (where death occurs without a will), outstanding debts, grants and letters of administration. This might be unfamiliar ground for you and could prove particularly burdensome at this time. A solicitor could save you a great deal of unnecessary trouble and eventually save you money.
If it is known that a will was made it is important that the contents be ascertained as soon as possible after death as it may contain certain instructions regarding the funeral arrangements.
A will may be among personal papers, with the bank or solicitor for safe custody. If the deceased has consulted a firm of solicitors in the recent past, it is important that you contact them without delay.