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What Is Probate & How Does It Work?

Can You Get Probate When There Is No Will?

If someone dies without a Will they are said to be intestate. The rules of intestacy will dictate how their estate is divided up and who can inherit.

This can be stressful for loved ones and may mean the estate is subject to more inheritance tax than necessary. However, our solicitors are able to help and make sure your family are still provided for.

Here we answer some questions about what to do if a loved one hasn’t left a Will. Call today on 0370 1500 100 for a consultation with one of our experts – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

A Loved One Has Died Without A Will – What Do I Need To Do?

We recommend seeking legal advice before doing anything, as the intestacy rules will set out who can act as administrator and how the estate will be split up. In many cases the rules won’t reflect what the deceased would have wanted, or what’s best for your family.

You might want to distribute the estate differently and to help minimise inheritance tax.

Once you’ve taken advice, you will need to apply for “Grant of Letters of Administration”. This is a document that gives you the legal right to deal with the estate.

Our solicitors can help you throughout this process – call us today on 0370 1500 100 or use our online enquiry form.

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Can I Create A Will On Someone’s Behalf After Their Death?

You can’t make a Will after someone’s death, but you can alter your own share of the estate with a deed of variation.

A deed of variation allows beneficiaries to give up all or part of their inheritance in order to:

  • Make the inheritance split fairer
  • Provide for someone not covered by the intestacy rules
  • Minimise inheritance tax

Irwin Mitchell is very experienced in helping people manage a loved one’s estate when there is no Will. We can help you make sure everything is as fair and tax-efficient as possible.

Find out more about making a Deed of Variation.

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Can I Get Probate When There Is No Will?

You can’t get a Grant of Probate but instead you’ll get a document called a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is effectively the same thing and gives you the authority to administer the estate.

The Intestacy Rules determine who can administer the estate – this is usually the spouse, civil partner or a child of the person who has died.

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What Are The Rules Of Intestacy?

The rules of intestacy in England and Wales set out who can inherit (and how much) if there isn’t a Will. In brief:

  • The person’s spouse inherits all their personal possessions and the first £250,000 of the estate
  • For estates valued over £250,000 the remaining inheritance is split 50/50 between the spouse and children

These rules don’t provide for unmarried partners or step children, and relatives such as siblings or grandchildren only inherit if there’s no surviving spouse or children.

Intestacy not only means some people might not be provided for, it can also mean more inheritance tax to pay.

Contact us today on 0370 1500 100 to discuss your circumstances – or use our online form and we’ll call you back.

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Can I Contest How An Estate Has Been Divided Up Under the Rules Of Intestacy?

If a loved one has died without a Will, you might not be provided for under the rules of intestacy. This might be the case if:

  • You lived with them but weren’t married or in a civil partnership
  • An estranged spouse has inherited the majority of the estate

Even if you have inherited, you might not feel it’s enough, or reflect what your loved one would have wanted for you.

In these cases, it’s possible to make a claim for financial provision under the Inheritance Act 1975. We’re able to help you do this – we have the largest Will disputes team in the country have helped many people make successful claims when a loved one has died without a Will.

Read more about contesting probate when there’s no Will.

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How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?

Our Tax, Trusts and Estates team is very experienced in helping people deal with estates after a loved one has died without a Will. We can help you:

  • Apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration
  • Ensure loved ones are provided for
  • Make the estate more tax-efficient
  • Advise on trusts and gifts to charity – to make sure your share is used in the way you want

We’re not just solicitors but tax experts as well. We’ve helped many clients deal with complex estates and can advise on the best wealth structuring options for your situation.

We also have extensive experience working with international clients, especially those from the EU, Russia, and the Middle East. Our dedicated team of specialised partners can help with the multi-jurisdictional issues if the deceased had assets in a number of countries.

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Contact us today on 0370 1500 100 to discuss your circumstances – or use our online form and we’ll call you back.

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