FAQs About Estate Planning – Who can apply for probate if there is no Will?



In this third mini blog in the series of FAQs about Estate Administration, Kat King explains who will deal with your estate if you die without a Will in place.

When someone dies without making a Will, or their Will is invalid for any reason, they die ‘intestate’. This means they die without appointing Personal Representatives, such as an Executor, to deal with their estate and without indicating who they would like to benefit from their assets.

If there is no Will, the Personal Representatives are referred to as ‘Administrators’. The document giving them authority to deal with the estate is called a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’.

So who can become an Administrator?

Well, the law provides an answer in the form of an order of priority by which certain people can apply.  This is the same as the order of entitlement to the estate in case of intestacy.  The order of priority is, as follows:

What if there is more than one person in one category?

Only if the persons in the category with the prior right have been ‘cleared off’ (they cannot or do not wish to act), the persons from the next category can act.

All persons in the same category have the same right to apply.  A maximum of four persons in the category can apply (on the ‘first come, first served’ basis). However, if there is a disagreement with regard to who should apply, the Court will have to make this decision.

What if I have no family?

Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the Crown will then be appointed. Alternatively, a creditor will be able to apply for the Grant.

What to do to avoid this?

To ensure that that you have the control of who will deal with your assets when you die, you have to make a Will.  Otherwise, the law will decide this for you, and you may end up with someone who you would not like to act.  Don’t leave it up to chance, make a Will!

If you have any questions or want to find out more about estate admin and Wills, please contact our Wills & Inheritance team on 01225 750000.