Letters of Administration England and Wales

Grant of Letters of Administration needed if there is no Last Will.

Grant of letters of administration
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Letters of administration are a version of a grant of probate needed when there is no valid Last Will and Testament.

Update – the Rules of Intestacy will be different for deaths before October 2014.  It won’t affect all estate, but will make a substantial difference in many.

Who can apply for Letters of Administration?

Essentially, the next of kin can apply for the Grant in the same order as people inherit under the Rules of Intestacy:
1. Legal spouse / civil partner – but not common law spouse.
2. Children of the deceased including legally adopted children.
3. The deceased’s parents if living.
4. The deceased’s brothers and sisters of the full blood.

That usually is far enough, but the Rules of Intestacy do go further. At each step, any of the persons in that class of people can apply for the grant of letters of administration (hopefully with our help) but clearly it is important that the person or persons applying are doing so with the approval of others in that class of person to avoid incredibly expensive disputes. If disputes are likely, it is far wiser to give the job to a professional like us who can stick to the rules and not be influenced or harassed by family members who may consider that the administrator is delaying unduly or lining their own pockets. Many families break up for ever over such disputes.

A grant of “letters of administration” is what has to be obtained from the Probate Court when a person dies without leaving a valid Last Will. That is called “intestacy” and the beneficiaries are then decided by the law under the Rules of Intestacy – what the deceased would have wishes is totally ignored, and he or she may well be left turning in their grave. So if you don’t have an up to date and valid Last Will, we strongly suggest you get one organised immediately. A cheap but effective online service is Will Writing Online but if your affairs are more complex you are welcome to contact our specialists.

But back to the subject of grant where there is no valid Last Will and testament.

How to get a Grant in the form of Letters of Administration

The person who applies for the letters of administration is known as the Administrator  which is pretty much the same as the Executor. In order to collect in the various assets of the estate, a Grant of Letters of Administration must be obtained from the Probate registry after the usual hard work and formalities discussed elsewhere on this site. The grant can then be shown to banks and other asset holders allowing them to release the assets to the administrator, who can then pay the debts and finally the beneficiaries.

How long does it take to obtain a grant of letters of administration?

Not a question which can be answered – it depends on the co-operation of family members, the amount of time the administrator can devote to the chasing of asset and liability holder