GUIDE: The estate administration process

The death of a loved one is an upsetting time. You may find the thought of dealing with their estate overwhelming. We’ve put together this short step-by-step guide to starting the estate administration process. And, hopefully taking some of the stress out of what will already be an emotional time…

Estate Administration: Without a Will

Next of kin can apply for a Grant of Representation. Sometimes called Letters of Administration.

Once taxes, funeral costs and bills are paid they can distribute the estate according to the government defined rules of intestacy.


Estate Administation: With a Will

The named executors should apply for a Grant of Probate. If the named executors are all dead interested parties should contact the Probate Office for guidance, order granted is residual beneficiaries then legatees*.

The probate application is made on Form PA1 (Probate Application), or C1 (Confirmation) in Scotland.

The executors must also complete an Inheritance Tax return, Form IHT205 normally, or Form IHT400 for larger, more complex estates.

Once the tax forms are completed the probate application can proceed. You need to send the following to the probate office:

  • the probate application form PA1
  • the Inheritance Tax form
  • an official copy of the death certificate
  • the original will and 3 copies – and any codicils (additions or amendments to it)
  • the application fee of £215 – a cheque made payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (there’s no fee if the estate is under £5,000)

The probate office will send you an oath and details of how to arrange an appointment. You’ll need to swear the oath at either:

  • the office of a commissioner for oaths (usually a solicitor)
  • a local probate office

The oath is a promise that the information you’ve given is true to the best of your knowledge.

Once all taxes are paid (if any) you should get the grant through the post within 10 working days of swearing the oath.

If, when the times comes, you feel your loved ones would benefit from some assistance Future Legal Services offer probate support and full estate administration services. To discuss which option would be right for you please call us on 01322 664885.


*Extracted from HMRC’s online guidance
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