Intestacy is when a person dies without having made a valid will or other binding declaration.
If this happens, there are intestacy rules which will determine how your estate is distributed upon your death. This includes any bank accounts, securities, property and any other assets you own at the time of death.
More information on intestacy can be found on the gov.uk website.
Probate is the legal term given to the process that is followed after someone has died. Grant of Probate is the legal document issued by the Probate Registry. At this point the deceased persons’ estate can be administered.
If there is a will then there will be an Executor, who has responsibility for the administration of the estate.
If there is no will, then the estate will be subject to the Intestacy Rules which will determine who will be the administrator for the estate and inherit the assets. This is normally the next of kin of the deceased person.
Where there is a will then a Grant of Probate will be obtained following an application made to the Probate Registry and where there is no will then a Grant of Letters of Administration obtained.
If your spouse dies, you may not need to obtain probate in order to administer their estate, for example if you own everything jointly. You should, however still collate the necessary information in order to be able to claim your spouse’s unused Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band on your death and we can help you with this.
When someone dies, the general practice of most banks and building societies is to freeze the accounts until the Personal Representatives of the estate has received the Grant of Probate. Access to the accounts is only allowed to pay for funeral arrangements and any Inheritance Tax that is due.
This relaxation of the limits can ease the pressure put on families when waiting for the Grant of Probate as finances can become strained during a very difficult and emotional time.
Our experienced Private Client team in Milton Keynes can offer support in dealing with all aspects of estate administration including (but not limited to):
If you need some advice please contact our Milton Keynes team of probate solicitors.