When a loved one dies without a valid will, they are said to be intestate. This means that their estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy.
The rules of intestacy are set out in the Succession Act of 1957. This act determines not only who gets what from an estate but who is entitled to apply to the probate office. The grant of a letter of administration is essentially the document that allows a loved one to administer the estate in the absence of a valid will. For the most part, once an application has been successfully made to the probate office, the role of the administrator is very similar to that of the executor.
As in the case of an executor, a proposed administrator will need to consider whether or not the services of a solicitor are required to assist in the process of applying to the probate office for the grant.
Responsibilities of Administrator
Where the estate in question is of any significant value, acting as an administrator can be a time-consuming task and the probate application involves a range of steps such as;
- Establishing the value of the estate.
- Corresponding with various financial and other institutions.
- Liaising with other beneficiaries.
- Preparing and submitting various documents to the Probate Office.
- Once the Grant of Letters of Administration issues, distributing the estate.
- Preparing accounts.
In the case of certain estates, it may be appropriate for the administrator to make a personal application to the probate office. This is perfectly valid but it is important that any proposed administrator wishing to make a personal application understands the level of responsibility they are taking on in doing so. Unless the estate is very straightforward, it is generally advisable to at least consult a solicitor first to ensure that no legal issues arise.
How Can We Help?
At Hoban Boino, we understand that this can seem like a daunting task for anyone who has recently suffered a bereavement and we are here to help you at every step of this process. As your appointed probate solicitors, we will work with you to ensure your application to the probate office is completed efficiently and will assist you in all matters in order to ensure the timely administration of your loved one’s estate.
In relation to the cost of probate, it is important for proposed administrators to note that it will be their sole responsibility to deal with the estate and as such their duty to agree the costs with the solicitor. If there will be multiple beneficiaries it is good practice to advise each of them when a solicitor is appointed. The extent of the costs will vary depending on the level of work required but same will be discussed and agreed prior to any work being carried on your behalf.