The person appointed in the letters of administration is called an administrator.
Where there is no will, professional assistance with the administration of the estate should be sought at an early stage, in order to ensure that the intestacy rules are properly applied.
We have considerable experience of dealing with estates where there is no valid will and we can guide you through the process.
The intestacy rules provide an order for those who are entitled to inherit. Those at the top of the list inherit with first priority, those lower down the list only inherit if those higher on the list have already died or do not exist.
Where the deceased was married or in a civil partnership:
If the deceased was not married or in a civil partnership:
If there are no living relatives the estate will pass to the crown.
There are some very important points to note about the intestacy rules:
The Intestacy rules set out who is entitled to apply for letters of administration to administer the estate. The order runs in the same order as the rules for inheritance. If the person applying is lower down the order – they must explain to the court why those higher up are not applying. As such, if there is a spouse/ civil partner, the spouse/ civil partner will apply unless they cannot do so.
The administrator must administrate the estate in accordance with the rules of intestacy in the same way that an executor must administer an estate in accordance with the will.
The intestacy rules cannot be ignored or dis-applied, but it is possible for a beneficiary due to inherit under the rules to vary their entitlement in order to pass assets to others instead. We can advise you as to whether this may be appropriate and how best to re-direct assets to those who may need them the most tax efficient manner. This is done by a deed of variation.
Where an estate falls to the intestacy rules, there may be people who the rules do not include as beneficiaries who might have otherwise have hoped to inherit. This can give rise to claims under the Inheritance Act. If such a claim is intimated, you should take professional advice as soon as possible. Our specialist disputed wills and estates team will be able to advise you further.