Executor – What if there is no will? Who sorts things out?

The Administrator

If someone has died and not left a will, someone still needs to sort out what to do with everything left behind.  This person is known as the ‘administrator’.

You can apply to become the estate’s administrator if you were the:

spouse (husband or wife) – even if you were separated

civil partner

child

BUT

You cannot apply to be the estate’s administrator if you were the partner of the person but were not their spouse or civil partner when they died, i.e living together, even if it has been years and you had children together, gives you no legal recognition (there is no such thing as a ‘common law’ wife or husband).

Citizens Advice has a more detailed list on the link here.

How to apply to be the administrator

To apply, you follow the same steps as applying for probate.  I’ve written another blog to help with this.

There are several steps you need to take before you can apply for ‘letters of administration’, again in other blogs I have explained what you need to do.

Once you are in a position to apply, this page on the Gov.uk website is helpful.

If you are applying by post you will need to fill in form PA1A – linked here.

You will need to send it, with supporting documents to your district probate registry – the Gov.uk website has the addresses – link here.

Cost of Letters of Administration

There is a cost to this.

But, and this is a faff, you need to pay before you send the form.  The costs are £215 if the value of the ‘estate’ (all possessions and money)  is £5,000 or over. No fee if the estate is under £5,000. Extra copies are £1.50 each.

You will also need to factor in the cost of recorded delivery for posting the precious evidence documents that you need to send with the form.

By the way, there is some brilliant double-speak on the Gov website that says you must pay before you send the form, but you can send the money with the form.  Breathe out, let your shoulders drop and know that you are not alone in finding the bureaucracy silly.

You need to pay before you send the form.

You can pay by either:

  • calling the card payment phone number of your district probate registry between 9:30am and 3pm to pay by debit or credit card – you’ll be given a reference number to send with your documents
  • sending a cheque payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service with your documents’

Also don’t be put off by the fact that the form talks about Grant of Representation rather than Letters of Administration.  The Letters of Administration are a type of ‘Grant of Representation’.

You’ll eventually receive ‘Letters of Administration’ to prove you have the legal right to deal with the estate.  They should be with you within eight weeks.

Before you go, here’s a question:

Continue reading Executor – What if there is no will? Who sorts things out?

Executor – Step 4 – Money in and out


As the executor of someone’s will, you work through certain steps before you can distribute the ‘estate’* that they left behind.

Step 1 The Death Certificate

Step 2 Inheritance Tax

Step 3 Probate

Step 4 Collect in money and settle debts

Finally then, you will be in a position to carry out the wishes in the will.

What do you need to do to sort out the money?

Continue reading Executor – Step 4 – Money in and out

Executor – Step 3 – Probate

You are the executor of someone you care about.  You have obtained enough copies of the death certificate and you have made a payment (if needed) of Inheritance Tax.

The next step is arranging probate.

Probate gives you the legal right to deal with a person’s estate: their property, money and possessions.

At the end of this piece there is a list taken from Citizens Advice about circumstances when you may not need to apply for probate.

How to apply

Continue reading Executor – Step 3 – Probate

Executor – Step 2 – Inheritance tax.

As executor, you do not have to arrange the funeral, however, it is likely that you will be involved.  You need a green certificate to allow a funeral to go ahead.

When the registrar issues the death certificate, they will also hand over the green certificate.  You then pass on the green certificate to the funeral director.

Inheritance tax

The next task as executor is to sort out Inheritance Tax.  You have to do this before you can start to apply for a ‘Probate’ and sort out their property, money and things they own.

You need to work out if there is Inheritance Tax to pay.

Continue reading Executor – Step 2 – Inheritance tax.

Executor. Step 1. The Death Certificate.

So, you’ve agreed to be executor for someone and now it’s happened, you have to actually carry out your promise.

Probably you are feeling wretched, as it may well be someone you care for; yet you have to think clearly and start sorting out the estate.

Continue reading Executor. Step 1. The Death Certificate.

Executor. What are you taking on?

 

It’s flattering if a friend asks you to be an executor for their will.  It shows that they trust you.  (It probably also means that you will be inheriting something.)

But. Do you know what you are taking on?

It is a huge responsibility with legal strings attached.  It may take up a year or more of your life.


 

When a person dies there are several practical things you have to do immediately, such as making sure their property is safe.  In the longer term, the detailed paperwork takes over.

Continue reading Executor. What are you taking on?

To My Executor

Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

Have you written a will and asked someone to be your executor? If you have, do you know quite what a huge ask that is of someone?

Have you been asked, by someone you are close to, to be an executor of their will? Assuming you said yes (as it is a privilege to be asked), do you know quite what a huge ask it is?

Continue reading To My Executor