What Are Letters Of Administration in the UK?
Letters of Administration are documents that are issued by the Probate Registry in the UK.
It means you’re authorised to act as the Administrator for the estate of someone who has died if it’s not possible for the executor to take on the role.
A Letter of Administration is sometimes referred to as a Grant of Representation, but the official title is Letter of Administration, which is an official legal document.
When Is A Letter Of Administration Required?
When someone dies, you need a grant of probate to confirm that the executor of the will has the authority to administer their estate.
The process involves distributing assets to beneficiaries as outlined in their will as well as handling any affairs.
Before you can do that, you need the legal authority to act for the deceased.
But if the executor of the estate cannot fulfil the role, for whatever reason, then a Letter of Administration is required.
It might be that the will hasn’t been updated in some time and the executor has since passed away or perhaps they no longer live in the UK.
The probate process consists of five key stages:
- Step one is to gain a valuation on the estate
- You’ll then file inheritance tax (IHT) forms
- After this, probate applications will be filed
- Then probate fees will be paid
- And finally, IHT will be paid
That can only be completed once the Administrator has been appointed, which means applying for a Letter of Administration.
There are other situations where a Letter of Administration might be required, such as:
- If no will has been made and the person has died intestate
- The will has been declared invalid
- No executors were named in the will
It might also be necessary to apply for a Letter of Administration if you are the sole beneficiary of the estate, since that wouldn’t require an executor who is not yourself to administer the estate.
Who Can Receive A Letter of Administration?
Usually, the administrator is the next of kin of the deceased, and there’s a specific order of priority that this takes.
A spouse or civil partner will always be preferred first but any unmarried partners (or those without a civil partnership) won’t be eligible ordinarily unless they’re the sole beneficiary.
The order of preference is then as follows:
- Niece or nephew
If none of these relatives exists or if they’re not able to receive Letters of Administration, then it will go to the next available relative in order of closeness.
You don’t have to apply for Letters of Administration if you believe that the estate can be distributed without an administrator.
But if the estate is particularly complex or involves many assets such as properties, bank accounts, pensions, life insurance policies, and other investments, it might be prudent to seek legal advice and look to obtain Letters of Administration.
Applying For Letters Of Administration
If a close relative or loved one has died without a valid will or without executors to administer the will, you’ll need to decide who you’d like to be the administrator.
If you’re a surviving spouse or civil partner, this is most likely to be you, or if it’s a parent who has passed away and they weren’t married or in a civil partnership, this is likely to be you.
Whatever the situation, seeking legal advice from an expert probate solicitor can simplify the entire process.
Applying for Letters of Administration will involve reporting the value of the estate to HMRC, paying any Inheritance Tax that’s due, and filing key legal documents.
At Solicitors Near Me, we’re here to help.
Finding A Probate Solicitor Near Me
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While it can be complicated, many situations are more straightforward, and Solicitors Near Me can help you connect to a solicitor near where you live; so the process is much simpler.
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