Probate and the Administration of Estates

After a death in the family if the person who died left a will the executor will be responsible for ensuring the next-of-kin register the death. The executor will then have to arrange the funeral. If there is no will usually the next-of-kin will have to apply for Letters of Administration to give them the legal authority to make the arrangements.

The executor or administrator must then decide whether he needs to apply for probate of the will or for letters of administration if there is no will. This will depend on whether the deceased owned a house or any other property and also on the value of any savings and investments. There also could be inheritance tax to pay and in this case the executor or administrator must report the value of the estate to the capital taxes office and make arrangements to pay the tax.


The executor or administrator may have to deal with claims if, for example, a relative, or someone who was a dependant of the person who has died, does not think they have been treated fairly in the will, or if they think they have been unfairly left out of the will. An executor must strictly follow the legal rules when dealing with the estate.

Responsibilities of the Executor or Administrator

It is the duty of the executor or administrator to ensure that all of the debts of the person who has died are paid before any money is given to the beneficiaries. The debts may include:

  • The Mortgage on any property owned by the person who has died
  • The funeral expenses
  • Income Tax and Inheritance Tax
  • Social Security Benefit over payments
  • Personal loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Credit card debts
  • Council Tax and utility bills

It is also advisable to place an advertisement in the local newspaper and in the London Gazette asking anyone who is owed money, or who claims to be entitled to a share of the estate, to contact the solicitors who are dealing with the estate.

Contact Us Today

At Roberts and Smith we have a wealth of experience of dealing with the probate and administration of estates. Whenever you require expert advice please call at our office in Nelson or telephone us on the number at the top of the page. Home visits can be arranged if required.