A Guide to Probate - Is there a will

If there is a Will the estate will usually be dealt with by the person named as the executor in the will. The executor’s job is to gather in the assets of the deceased, to pay any tax and other debts and liabilities left by the deceased, and distribute the balance in accordance with the terms of the Will. The executor will usually need to obtain a grant of probate to deal with the estate. This is explained below in the section on procedure.

If there is no Will then the estate will be distributed amongst the deceased’s relatives in accordance with a set of rules called the intestacy rules. Who gets what depends on the size of the estate and which relatives survive the deceased. The estate will be dealt with by an administrator who will usually be one of the relatives entitled under the intestacy rules. Their role is very similar to that of an executor. The administrator will gather in the assets of the deceased and pay any tax and other liabilities and distribute the balance in accordance with the intestacy rules. An administrator will usually need to obtain letters of administration to deal with the estate. This is explained below in the section on procedure.

Executors or administrators are often referred to as the deceased’s ‘personal representatives’ or ‘PRs’ for short. The grant of probate or letters of administration is often referred to as the ‘grant of representation’.

There is no general rule preventing a beneficiary under the Will or the intestacy rules from being a PR.


Complete Guide to Probate

We have prepared a complete guide that is intended as an introduction to probate and estate administration, i.e. the steps that need to be taken to deal with a person’s assets and affairs after he or she has died. To download this guide please complete the webform below.

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The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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