The passing of a loved one is an emotional time for all involved and unfortunately, some deaths occur without the deceased having had a legal Will in place, calling for the use of a letter of administration, an aspect of probate often confusing. For our ease, we have created a simple guide into the use of a letter of administration and the roles associated with doing so.
What is a letter of administration?
If someone passes without having previously formed a Will, the duty of arranging that persons estate will fall onto the relative designated as the administrator, but before they have the ability to make any decisions, they will first need an official letter of administration. This document will provide the appointed administrator with the legal rights needed to gain access to the deceased’s assets and form any decisions such as the distribution of assets. This document is commonly confused with a grant of probate, however, this document will only be issued if the deceased did have a valid and legally binding Will in place before their passing.
However, if the estate is minimal, a letter of administration is not always required after a persons passing. For example, if their bank account only holds a small amount of money, the bank may agree to close the account without the need of this documentation present. These limits vary between banking corporations so you will have to enquire with them personally before concluding.
If no legal Will was in place, the role of the administrator should fall to the next of kin, whether that be partner, parent, child or sibling. As the administrator, you will be responsible for the duty of arranging any outstanding payments for taxes or bills, distributing money and objects to the rightful beneficiary or claiming any funds. Often, problematic and sensitive issues are raised during the administering process and as this will likely be an emotional time, it may be wise to hire a professional to assist you in applying for the letter of administration and settling on your behalf.
How do you apply for a letter of administration?
To apply for a letter of administration, you must first assess the value of the deceased’s estate. You may have imported an outside, qualified source to carry this task out accurately on your behalf. The information found will be used to fill out the application form (PA1) before sending it on to your chosen Probate office along with accompanying documents such as the death certificate and calculated inheritance tax form. There will also be an application fee. Over a few weeks, you will need to meet with the solicitors at the Probate office to go through legal details before receiving a letter of administration, or a written explanation of why you were not granted one at this time.
Administrating a loved one’s estate can be an emotional and confusing time. Allow our professional team at Probate to offer you sensitive and effective support throughout any challenges you are facing. Contact us by calling 020 8017 1029 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.