Why Are Letters of Administration Needed?
Letters of Administration are needed when a loved one dies intestate. They are letters which give the person administering the deceased’s estate permission to access their finances.
Does Everyone Need Letters of Administration When a Loved One Dies?
There are certain circumstances where Letters of Administration are not needed to access the deceased’s finances. For example, if your loved one has less than £5000 left in the bank after paying funeral expenses, you may not need the document to access their money. Some banks have increased this sum to £10,000 so you will need to check with the deceased’s bank.
Also, if you are married to a deceased and all their assets were held in joint names with you, you may not need to apply for a grant, as the financial institutions concerned should be able to transfer the assets into your name.
What If These Cases Don’t Apply to You?
If neither of these cases are relevant to you, and your loved one didn’t leave a will, you will need to find out who is legally entitled to apply for the letters. Then before they actually apply they will need to find out where all the deceased assets are held and work out who is entitled to receive them. The law has clear guidelines on who will benefit when someone dies intestate and in what order. But it may become complicated if someone appeals. For example, a common law wife, or another family member may appeal if she was financially dependent on the deceased.
An intestate death can be far more complicated than dealing with the estate when a will was left, and it could take years. Once you have received a grant of letters of administration you will need to pay any money owed by the deceased, and collect in any money owing to them, as well as liquidising their assets, calculating taxes and ensuring the estate is distributed correctly to those who are entitled to benefit.
Because this can be such a long, time consuming and drawn out process, you may want to appoint an expert probate service to deal with it on your behalf. Your best bet is to use a probate service that can offer you a fixed fee, that way the proceeds of the estate will not be eaten up by a huge legal bill.