If the person who has died leaves a Will:
The Will normally names one or more people to act as executors of the Will. It is their job to administer the estate. An executor may need to apply for a Grant of Probate.
If the person who has died leaves no Will:
This means the person has died intestate. The process is likely to be more complicated than if a Will has been left. The State directs who will inherit the deceased person's estate and who can act as administrator, that is the person who has the right to deal with the administration of the estate.
A person entitled to be administrator may need to apply to the Court for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is an official document which allows the administrator to administer the estate.
A Grant of Representation
This includes a Grant of Probate (when there is a Will) and a Grant of Letters of Administration (when there is no Will).
This expression means the executors or the administrators.
When a Grant of Representation is needed
A Grant of Representation may not be needed particularly if the estate is very small or when the person who has died owns everything jointly with someone else.
Different financial organisations such as banks and insurance companies have different rules as to when they will be prepared to pay funds out without a Grant of Representation.
Duties of Personal Representatives
Personal Representatives are responsible for making sure that the estate is administered correctly in accordance with the terms of the Will and the general law. They are also responsible for establishing what Inheritance Tax is due and making sure that it is paid. The amount of Inheritance Tax payable depends not only on the size of the estate but also on whether any gifts have been made by the person before they died and the value of any trusts from which the deceased person benefited.
We can explain these duties and calculate the amount of Inheritance Tax that will be payable and advise you as to the possibility of mitigating these liabilities.
How long will it take?
Dealing with the affairs of someone who has died can take a long time. How long it takes will depend on what needs to be done. It is not unusual for it to take up to a year and even longer if things are not straightforward. There are many other organisations involved in the process, for example information needs to be obtained from those with whom the deceased person held property, such as banks or insurance companies. If there is tax to settle then HM Revenue and Customs is involved. If there are any disputes involved or claims brought against the estate this will cause delay.