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Estate, probate and wills

How do you sort out the estate?

The deceased person’s money, property, debts and possessions is known as their estate.

A will should name someone as the executor. It is the executor's job to deal with collecting the estate together and sharing it out to those entitled to it. They must follow the instructions in the will and may need to apply for probate.

You can also pay a solicitor to help you sort out the estate.

What is probate?

Probate, also called a grant of representation, makes sure that a will is valid, it gives access to collect and hand out the deceased's estate.

How can I apply for probate?

The Probate Office will give you a grant of probate if the person left a will, or will grant letters of administration if there isn’t a will.

You can apply for probate yourself, or use a solicitor. Find out how to apply for probate on the Gov.uk website.

If you need help you can contact the probate and inheritance tax helpline on 0300 123 1072.

Please note: Probate is not always needed, as sometimes a death certificate will be enough to release money without a grant.

What if there is no will or named executor?

If there is no will, the deceased person will have died 'intestate'. If this happens, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased’s affairs and who should inherit their estate. 

Find out more about who inherits if there is no will, on the Gov.uk website.

If there is a will, but no executor is named, or none of the named executors are willing or able to apply you should contact your local probate office.

If you need help, contact a solicitor as soon as possible and show them information about the deceased's estate. You should also put small valuable items away for safekeeping.

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