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Dealing With Intestacy

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 2 Dec 2019 | comments*Discuss
Intestate Intestacy Death Deceased

When an individual dies, the first port of call is generally their will. This outlines their intentions with regard to the disbursement of their estate, and other arrangements such as their funeral or guardianship of children. In an alarmingly high number of cases, however, individuals pass away without having made a will. This is known as dying 'intestate'.

Dealing with intestacy can be a difficult, time-consuming process. In most cases it is advisable to seek the help of a solicitor who is experienced in such matters; it would be particularly helpful to find one who specialises in probate law. You will be able to find such solicitors by using the Law Society website.

Letter of Administration

Whether or not you choose to use a solicitor, the intricacies of the process are the same. Rather than the disbursement of the estate occurring according to the will, it will take place under the direction of the laws of succession. In the first instance, you will need to work out who is legally entitled to take on the responsibility for dealing with the estate of the deceased individual. In most circumstances this will fall to the nearest relative; this is most likely to be a surviving spouse, followed in precedence by the children, and then by the parents of the deceased. Once the individual has been identified, they must apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is a legal ratification of that individual's right to take control of the affairs of the estate, including the assets of the deceased. This is the equivalent of a Grant of Probate (which would be required by the executor of a will), and is required before a bank or other relevant institution will hand over control of the assets.

Inheritance Tax

It should also be noted that Inheritance Tax may be payable on the estate. If this is the case, a Grant of Letters of Administration will not be made until a proportion of any such tax has been paid. As a result, it is advisable to begin to make a valuation of the estate while your application is in progress.

The rules around who will inherit are strict. These are also covered in more detail in another article elsewhere on this site, but the basic principles are outlined here. In the first instance, if the estate is valued at less than £125,000 and the deceased was either married or in a civil partnership, then the entire estate falls to the surviving spouse or partner. If, on the other hand, the estate is worth more than this, the surviving spouse or partner will be entitled to a £125,000 tax free, as well as personal effects and a life interest in 50% of the remainder of the estate. The other 50% will fall, in order of precedence, to the children, followed by grandchildren, followed by parents, followed by brothers and sisters. If none of these relatives exist, then the entire estate will fall to the surviving spouse or partner.

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Hi, I am trying to get prepared for when my time comes when my mother passes on. There is a will and I am the sole person who will inherit, there is property involved which is partially owned, the other half of it is owned by a housing association, one bank account and a car with no payments left on it. I live abroad (EU) and am the executor of the will. Knowing that I would have to no doubt apply for Probate I worry what would happen to the property and the contents while waiting for 6 to 12 Months, plus any bills, Council tax utilities etc... when I would not be living there... Is there a service which could help me in dealing with these issues ? I would want to make sure the property be sold asap and bills be paid etc.
Someone - 2-Dec-19 @ 4:26 PM
My mum died two years ago she owned a house with my step dad who I cared dearly! He recently done a draft will with his friend whose an ex judge the afternoon they were going to go to a solicitor to get it signed my stepdad died that morning! So he died intestate what he had written was he wanted the house split 6ways myself my brother and sister and his 3 children he hardly ever saw. He also wanted me and my daughter to be left some money. What I would like to know is do we have a leg to stand as nothing was signed the judge friend said that it was is last wishes and that he would stand up and testify in court if need be
Smaggsy - 27-Mar-16 @ 3:56 PM
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