Letters of Administration
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IWC offers a low-cost, fixed fee probate service in the event of a spouse, partner or relative dying intestate. A fully qualified legal professional or STEP member will complete all necessary papers in order to apply for the letters of administration on your behalf and take care of everything. Call us free on 0800 612 6105 for a quote or get free impartial advice, help and support from our qualified advisors.
If you would like to arrange a home consultation either call us on 0800 612 6105 or 020 8150 2010.
What are Letters of Administration
This is a document which grants the same rights as a Grant of Probate. It bestows control of the deceased person's assets to the applicant. Different to a probate grant, letters of administration apply to intestate deaths (where the deceased did not leave a will). You may also need to apply in the event where there is a will but it is not valid, there are no executors named or executors cannot or refuse to act.
Applying for a Grant of Letters of Administration?
The application is the same as when one applies for probate. The difference is that the personal representative (applicant) is not an executor (as named in the will) but is an administrator according to the rules of Intestacy. A PA1 probate form must be completed and sent off with a cheque to cover the administration fees, along with an IHT205 or IHT400 relating to inheritance tax. You'll then be required to attend an interview at the probate registry where you'll swear an oath to confirm the information provided.
Who can apply for Letters of Administration?
Intestacy rules will determine who has the right to apply for the letter of administration. This is normally their next of kin; the rules of intestacy set out the following order of priority.
- Husband, wife or civil partner (Note that common law partners cannot apply for probate)
- Adult children including sons or daughters adopted by the deceased, not step-children
- Brothers or sisters
- Uncles or aunts
A person must be over the age of 18 to apply. If the person entitled to the estate is under 18, 2 people are legally required to apply for the grant.If you're confused about who can apply, why not call our Freephone number for help on 0800 612 6105. We're open 7 days a week until 10pm, offering free, expert advice.
What does the Administrator have to do?
The person granted is the personal representative of the estate. They have the legal responsibility of managing estate and the deceased's affairs, just as the executor of a will would do. The letters are used to approach financial institutions to gain access to funds, property, shares etc.
Managing the Estate
With this, the personal representative can complete their legal duties which include paying debts, settling solicitors and probate fees, finding out details of money owed to the estate, calculating inheritance tax and dealing with HMRC. Then finally they'll distribute the assets of the estate in accordance with the rules of intestate. Unlike an executor, the administrator has no instructions to follow; they have to find out exactly who is entitled to share the estate.Applying for letters of administration as an administrator is a serious responsibility and the holder of the grant could be held liable for misinterpretations of the law and other mistakes made. Dealing with the deceased estate can be extremely complicated and drag on for months. As well as time consuming and difficult, the emotional aspect can make it distressing and troubling.
The rules of intestacy determine how a person's estate is distributed in the event that they did not leave a will. Obviously, this is not ideal. It is all too often that case that that difficulties will arise where relatives and family members are not included in the estate or feel they are not sufficiently provided for. For example, the intestacy rules often mean that an un-married partner of the deceased is not provided for.
Another serious issue with an intestate death is the tax implications. For example, if the deceased's assets exceed the current nil rate band (£325k); everything above this limit will be subject to inheritance tax at 40%. There are measures that can be put in place to mitigate this, speaking to an expert in this field is invaluable.
If you're dealing with an intestate death, it is recommended that you seek legal advice or assistance. While DIY probate and applying for letters of administration as an individual may be pretty straight-forward, you may not have the time or be able to offer the commitment it requires. If someone is likely to contest probate and make a claim on the estate, you'll need to know where you stand.
IWC can help, we offer free advice either at a confidential, no-obligation appointment in person or over the telephone on 0800 612 6105.