when there is no will

Letters of administration in brief

When a person dies without a Will, or if the will that they have left has been deemed invalid, they are described as being 'Intestate.' In this situation a relative, or other person, must apply for Letters of Administration to deal with the deceased's affairs.
Dealing with the estate of someone who has died intestate can be a complicated process. The level of difficulty depends greatly on the amount of money, assets, and property that the estate contains. Further complications are caused by the number of beneficiaries that may have a claim to the estate. Generally speaking the more people that are involved, the more complicated it is to sort out, particularly if it is difficult to find some of the beneficiaries.
The first step in the process is obtaining the right to administer the estate. In normal circumstances, when the deceased has left a will, there is a named executor who can obtain a Grant of Probate enabling them to administer the estate. In cases of intestacy there is no executor. The task of administering the estate will then fall to a relative of the deceased, who must apply for Letters of Administration. This person is usually a spouse, or child. An adopted child may make the application, but not a step child. The applicant must be over 18 years of age.
If the deceased is survived by a parent they are the next in line for the responsibility. After this the application can be made by siblings, then grandparents, then uncles or aunts. Other relatives that may apply for Letters of Administration are nieces, nephews and cousins. In cases where there are no surviving relatives the state will then make the application.
Once the applicant has established the right to apply for the grant of Letters of Administration the next step is to complete the application form. If the value of the estate is above £325,000 then the applicant will also need to complete the Inheritance Tax forms at the same time. Following this the applicant will be required to attend an interview at the Probate Registry to confirm the details in the application. The Letters of Administration will then be delivered by post shortly afterwards.
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