Free Initial Assessment

Direct lawyer contact

No hidden costs

Prompt response

Fully accredited

Wills and Probate

Estate Administration

At Davisons, we can guide you through the process of administering a person’s estate no matter how complex and difficult the various formalities may seem.

Call us 0808 304 7471

What happens to a person’s estate if there is no Will?

When a person dies without a Will, their estate is administered according to the rules of intestacy. Under these rules, the law decides who will administer their estate (‘the administrator’) and who will inherit it, rather than the person themselves.

The person’s spouse or civil partner will inherit the first £322,000 of the estate plus all general personal belongings and half of the remaining estate. What is left is shared amongst the person’s children or even grandchildren or great grandchildren in some circumstances.

When somebody has no close relatives, their estate goes to the government or the Crown.

Get in touch

Contact our expert team today and receive your free initial assessment

What happens to an estate when there is a Will?

Making a Will is very important. It means an estate is distributed according to a person’s wishes. In addition, the Inheritance Tax bill is likely to be lower and estate administration quicker and more straightforward.

When someone makes a Will, they choose one or more executors themselves. It is the executor’s responsibility to administer their estate in accordance with law and the terms of their Will. An executor can be a close relative, somebody the person has known and trusted for a long time, or a professional such as a solicitor.

What is the difference between grant of probate and letters of administration?

A grant of probate confirms the authority of the executors named in the will to administer an estate. A grant of letters of administration confirms the authority of an administrator, where there is no will, in the same way.

When there is a Will, the named executor is issued a grant of probate by the court.

When there is not a Will, somebody – usually the next of kin – will need to apply to the court to be the estate administrator. Once they have permission to manage the estate, they will need to apply for letters of administration.

What are the duties of an executor and an administrator?

An executor and an administrator have many duties to carry out. They have a legal duty to act in the best interests of all the beneficiaries and to prevent losses to the estate.

Duties include:

  • Applying for grant of probate or letters of administration
  • Telling all relevant organisations that the person has died, including banks and utility companies, and closing the person’s accounts
  • Paying for the funeral. These costs can be recovered from the person’s estate.
  • Valuing the estate by identifying all the person’s outstanding debts and assets
  • Finding missing assets
  • Paying the person’s outstanding bills and debts
  • Paying taxes, including Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and any outstanding Income Tax
  • Finding the beneficiaries of the Will
  • Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries correctly

If you are an executor or an administrator, our solicitors at Davisons can guide you through the entire process giving you peace of mind. You can claim legal fees back from the estate as part of the probate process.


How do you value an estate?

It is important to value an estate accurately, as executors and estate administrators can be personally liable if mistakes are made. Correct valuations are essential so that the right amount of tax is paid and beneficiaries receive their inheritance. Our solicitors at Davisons support executors and administrators with valuations reducing their personal financial risk. The gross value of an estate normally includes: High value items like property, cars and antiques Savings, shares and other investments Money recovered from banks, energy companies and local councils To calculate the net value of an estate, liabilities are deducted, including legal fees, funeral expenses, taxes, and debts.

What debts and taxes must be paid?

The executor or estate administrator is responsible for paying debts and taxes before they distribute the estate to the beneficiaries. This includes: Placing a notice in The Gazette, which is an official public record that gives creditors the opportunity to claim any money they are owed Reporting the death to the HMRC Contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) so any benefit overpayments can be recovered Paying any Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax due The estate must not be distributed to the beneficiaries until all liabilities have been paid.

How do you administrate jointly owned finances and property?

If the person who has died shared a joint bank account with another person, their share will automatically pass to the other person. However, their share will still need to be included in the estate valuation for the purposes of Inheritance Tax. If the person owned a whole home with somebody else as a joint tenant, then ownership will pass to the surviving owner. If they were not a joint tenant, their share goes to the beneficiary named in their Will.

Why choose Davison estate administration services?

Our probate solicitors have many years of experience helping with all aspects of probate and estate administration. We help executors and estate administrators to carry out their role and fulfil their legal duties at a very difficult time.

We provide support through every step of the process, including applying for probate or letters of administration, valuing an estate, paying taxes and debts, and ensuring beneficiaries receive their correct inheritance. If any disputes arise regarding the Will or the estate administration process, we address these. If you choose, we can also act as an estate administrator for you, completing the process from start to finish.

Have any questions or need any help?

Our team of specialist lawyers are experts in their field. Be confident in their advice and decisions to help get the right outcome for you. Contact us today to see how we can help