To get probate without a will, you need to apply for a grant of letters of administration. This allows the next of kin to access the estate and distribute assets in line with the rules of intestacy – which we’ll explain in more detail here.
When someone dies without a will, the rules of intestacy come into play. These are a set of laws that define what should happen to someone’s estate when they die intestate. They usually work reasonably well for traditional families whose circumstances are fairly straightforward, but things can be more difficult for unmarried partners and step-children.
You can find out more about the rules of intestacy here.
When someone dies intestate, the person who stands to inherit the most under the rules of intestacy is usually responsible for applying for probate.
In cases where two or more people are equally entitled to apply for probate – for example, the children of the person who died – you can either apply together (maximum of 4 people) or alone.
When applying for probate without a will, the document you need to apply for is called a grant of letters of administration.
A grant of letters of administration is an official court document that proves you have the right to act as the administrator of someone’s estate. Once the document has been issued, you’ll be able to close bank accounts, sell property, pay debts and distribute assets following the rules of intestacy.
This part of the process is known as ‘estate admin’. It can take anywhere between 3-12 months depending on the number of accounts, properties and other complexities in the estate that need to be dealt with.
You may also hear this document referred to as a grant of representation, which is the collective term for both a grant of letters of administration and a grant of probate.
You can find out more about a grant of letters of administration here.
It takes around 30 days from submitting the probate application to getting the grant of letters of administration delivered. This can take longer if the case is particularly complex or if there are backlogs at the probate registry.
Once you’ve worked out that you’re the right person to apply for probate, it’s a good idea to start making notes about your loved one’s estate. This includes things like:
If the estate is particularly complex and you’d prefer someone to handle this for you, our estate administration service may be right for you.
If you’re the next of kin of someone who died without a will and you believe you can apply for probate, you can get started by calling Farewill on 020 3695 1713. Here’s how it works:
You’ll then need to take care of the estate admin, which often includes paying off debts, selling property, closing accounts and distributing assets to beneficiaries following the rules of intestacy.
If the estate is fairly simple, you may be happy to deal with this yourself. However, if you’re worried about making mistakes or simply want to get things sorted as quickly as possible, let us know when you call and we’ll happily provide you with a quote for estate admin.
How to find a will
Our probate specialists are here to help and can offer you a free, no obligation quote over the phone.