Wills, probate and inheritance

When someone dies, you’ll need to get the legal right to deal with their property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’).

You may be able to apply for a ‘grant of representation’ - known as ‘probate’.

You can apply yourself or use a solicitor or another person licensed to provide probate services.

Most cases follow the same basic process.

  1. Check if there’s a will - this normally states who sorts out the estate. If there’s no will the next of kin can apply.

  2. Apply to get a ‘grant of representation’ - this gives you the legal right to access things like the person’s bank account.

  3. Pay any Inheritance Tax that’s due.

  4. Collect the estate’s assets, for example money from the sale of the person’s property.

  5. Pay any debts, for example unpaid utilities bills.

  6. Distribute the estate - this means giving any property, money or possessions to the people entitled to it (‘beneficiaries’).

A grant of representation can sometimes be known as a ‘grant of probate’, ‘letters of administration’ or ‘letters of administration with a will’.