01636 894053

Ingleby Hills

Probate and Estate Administration Specialists

What to do when someone dies?

It is a difficult time when somebody dies - there is a lot to sort out and paperwork to be completed.  After obtaining a death certificate it should be established whether or not the deceased left a Will as this will determine how the deceased's estate should be distributed and who would have responsibility for dealing with it, i.e. who is/are named as executor(s) in the Will.  Sometimes a Will includes information about the sort of funeral that the deceased wished for.


If there is no Will then the administrator and beneficiaries of the estate are determined by intestacy laws.  There are plenty of websites that will provide the relevant information such as


NB if there are sufficient funds in the deceased's bank account it is usually possible to arrange for the bank to pay the undertaker's bill for the funeral.

What is Probate?

(NB This process applies to England and Wales only)


Probate describes the legal and financial processes which gives an individual/several individuals the right to deal with the property, money and possessions of a person who has died.


If the person left a Will a 'Grant of Probate' may be required.  If there is no Will then 'Letters of Administration' may need to be obtained.

Do I Need Probate?

The need for probate depends on the assets of the person who has died and the requirements of any financial institutions holding their funds.  For example:

  • If the deceased owned a property then probate or letters of administration may be required to deal with it.  If the deceased owned a property jointly with someone else then the way in which it was owned would determine whether or not a grant of probate or letters of administration are required to transfer it or dispose of it.
  • Financial institutions, such as banks and investment companies all differ in the amounts they can release without a grant or letters of administration.

What is the process?

Once the initial steps have been taken (e.g. register the death and arrange the funeral) you can start to think about how to deal with the estate. This is when you determine whether a grant of probate or letters of administration are required by assessing the components of the estate and speaking to the relevant institutions.  Assuming a grant or letters are required then the executor(s) or adminstrator would need to do the following:


  • identify all of the deceased's assets and liabilities and ascertain the value of the estate,
  • complete the relevant HMRC forms which may be the IHT205 or the IHT400 and all of its accompanying schedules.  If not using a professional the relevant information is available on,
  • submit the correct IHT return to HMRC and pay any inheritance tax due,
  • apply to the Probate Registry for the grant of probate or letters of administration,
  • after receipt of the grant or letters, liquidate the assets and pay any liabilities, pay any estate expenses and account for any further tax (inheritance, income or capital gains) due to or from the estate,
  • possibly place a notice in the London Gazette and a local paper of the impending distribution of the estate,
  • prepare the estate accounts showing the amounts available for distribution,
  • obtain approval from the residuary beneficiaries i.e. the beneficiaries due to receive the balance when all other specific bequests have been paid out, and
  • distribute the estate in accordance with the Will or the intestacy laws in the absence of a Will.


How can we help?

Ingleby Hills can carry out the process on behalf of the executor(s) or adminstrator.  Please get in touch for further information and/or a no obligation quote by emailing or calling 01636 894053.