When a loved one dies, dealing with the formalities can be very hard but as it is essential, here is some guidance on what you should do if your loved one left a will.

The contents of the will should be viewed as soon as possible after death, as it may contain directions as to the funeral arrangements.

The will may be among personal papers at home or with a bank or solicitor for safe custody. Before the estate left by a deceased person can be realised and distributed among the persons entitled to share it, a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration are usually required.

Consider instructing a bank or solicitor

Perhaps the simplest procedure is to instruct a bank or solicitor to act for you. This will not necessarily be expensive and will almost certainly relieve you of many worries. If you decide to use a solicitor or bank manager to obtain the appropriate grant, they will need to see a copy of the death certificate. They will also require such items as:

  • Share Certificates
  • Deeds
  • National Savings Bank Books
  • Savings Certificates
  • Premium Bonds
  • Pension Books
  • Insurance Policies in the name of the deceased

They will also need to have particulars of any debts that may be owing. You need not worry about paying these immediately. Should you find yourself in temporary difficulty with regard to finance, a solicitor or your bank can usually make arrangements for you to draw sufficient money to meet your immediate needs.

Probate

Where the deceased has left a will, it has to be “proved” before the Probate Registry of the High Court of Justice, after which the executors named in the will are enabled to administer the estate.

Letters of Administration

It is possible to arrange for your bank or solicitor to act in the administration of the estate where no will has been left. This can be of real benefit to the family faced with complex financial matters.

General

Where amounts are small, it is sometimes possible for them to be obtained without making application for a grant. This applies mainly to assets held by the National Savings Bank but only where the total net estate does not exceed the current figure.

Applying for a grant yourself

To make a personal application, it is necessary to obtain a set of forms from the nearest Probate Registry by telephone, letter or personal call to:

Local Office District Probate Registry
William Street
Brighton
Sussex
BN2 2LG

Tel: (01273) 684071

Complete the forms to the best of your ability and send them by post together with:

  • A copy of the death certificate
  • Any will or written wishes left by the deceased
  • Full details of the estate, i.e. everything possessed by, or due to, the deceased – property, cash, bank balance, insurances etc.
  • When returning the forms by registered post, if should be stated at which Register Office the interview should take place. It preferred, the forms may be handed in personally during the same day.

If you need any advice on dealing with a will and arranging a funeral for a recently deceased loved one, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help.