Letters of Administration
Dealing with a loved one’s estate after their death is usually straightforward when they leave a valid will. In cases where there is no will, or there is a problem with it the next of kin will need to apply for Letters of Administration to take control of assets, transfer funds, pay debts, and share money or property.
Understanding what to do when someone dies without leaving a will
According to the rules of intestacy, when a person dies without leaving a will, the estate can be passed down according to a hierarchy of relatives or next of kin.
It’s not a simple case of the closest living relative assuming ownership of the estate. There is a legal process that must be followed.
Applying for Letters of Administration
If someone dies without leaving a will you have to decide if you are the appropriate person to deal with the estate, according to the rules of intestacy. If you’re not a spouse or civil partner, talk to a solicitor first to see how likely it will be for your application to succeed.
Then it is up to the person responsible to apply for Letters of Administration. The courts won’t automatically grant the authority after the person passes away.
There are certain steps you will have to take following the death of a loved one before you can apply for Letters of Administration. The first is registering the death within five days and obtaining the death certificate.
Next, you will need to get an accurate evaluation of the estate. Then you will have to report the total value of the estate to HMRC and pay any inheritance tax due.
Once this is complete you can apply for Letters of Administration by filling out form PA1A on the UK government website. It is essential this form is filled out accurately as any mistakes may have serious personal legal implications for you.
All matters related to Probate are complex and the process could be invalidated by a minor error which is why it’s important to get expert legal advice from the outset. If your application is rejected due to a mistake the estate could be left in limbo for some time.
In addition, you could pay a penalty if inheritance tax is not paid within 6 months.
Rowlinsons can help with gathering information and ensuring all paperwork is correctly completed.