Do I need to administer the estate?

Before an estate can be realised and distributed amongst the beneficiaries a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration will be required. The simplest way to ensure this is carried out correctly is to instruct a Solicitor or Bank to act for you. This need not necessarily involve you in great expense, but it will ensure that all the correct allowances are applied for, bills are paid, returns to the relevant tax offices are dealt with promptly, and any life assurance or pension entitlements are correctly claimed.

Probate is required where the deceased HAS left a Will. The Will must be ‘proved’ before the Probate Registry of the High Court. Upon completion the executors named in the Will are able to administer the estate.

Letters of Administration are required where the deceased HAS NOT left a Will. The deceased is said to have died Intestate and the question then arises as to who should administer the estate. Here again application has to be made to the Court, usually by the next of kin, and when the Court is satisfied, they will issue a document (Letters of Administration) appointing the applicant as administrator of the estate.

Where the estate is small it is possible for the assets to be realised without making applications for a Grant. The local Probate Registry Office (found in the Telephone Directory under Probate) will advise you of the maximum asset value applicable in such circumstances.

Motor Insurance cover on a vehicle owned by the deceased ceases upon death. The insurance company should be informed immediately and arrangements made for a transfer. The vehicle registration document should be returned for transfer of ownership and the deceased’s driving licence should be returned to the DVLC.

Any current passport should be returned to The Passport Office.