What are letters of administration?

These are formal documents that are provided to the deceased person’s next of kin, in order for them to have the authority to wind up the deceased’s affairs, such as closing bank accounts. 

Letters of Administration function like a grant of probate, but the key difference is they are used when a person didn’t make will, and therefore has not named someone to be the executor. This situation can be problematic as it is not always obvious who should take on this role, and indeed family members often disagree on this point; it can be a cause of conflict and stress.  Often the Court becomes involved and this causes delays, additional expense – and more stress. All these are very good reasons why everyone should make a will!

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What is a grant of representation?

This is a generic term covering official documentation that proves that you have the right to manage the estate of the deceased.  If there is a named executor, they usually submit an application for grant of probate.  If there is a valid Will but the named executors are unable or unwilling to act, then letters of administration with Will annexed will need to be obtained. If there was no will, then letters of administration will need to be obtained. Letters of administration with Will annexed and letters of administration serve similar function to that of the grant of probate. Grant of representation is the phrase that covers all three phrases. 

The document itself, and sometimes the process of getting it from the Court and using it to administer the estate, can often be referred to as probate.

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What is probate?

When someone dies, probate is the process of managing and passing on their property, money and other assets to others, once any debts, taxes and other costs have been paid. If the deceased person made a will, they will have named someone to carry out these tasks. That person is known as the Will's executor.

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Is my will valid in another country?

If you have assets in another country, it is always advisable to take specialist legal advice about your will. If you make a will in England or Wales, it may be able to cover your foreign assets – but specialist legal advice will provide certainty. 

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What is the ‘national will register’?

The National Will Register is an official register of wills in the UK. It is approved by the Law Society and used by many solicitor firms. If your will is registered, solicitors can easily find it after your death.

Do I need to register my will?

No – it’s not compulsory to register your will on the National Will Register. However, if you register your will it can make it easier for your family to know what your wishes are after your death.

What are the requirements for a valid will?

In order to be valid, a will should be:

  • Made by a person over the age of 18
  • Made in writing; the will can be handwritten or typed
  • Made by a person with mental capacity, who understands what they are doing
  • Made voluntarily and without pressure
  • Signed by the person making the will, with two witnesses present
  • Signed by two witnesses, in the presence of the person making the will, after they have signed the will themselves.

What does a will solicitor do?

A solicitor can help you write a will that is legally valid and which makes your wishes clear when you die. Your solicitor can help you to:

  • Create a tax efficient will
  • Make sure your family and or dependents are provided for
  • Use trusts to protect your wealth
  • Minimise your inheritance tax bill.

Can I write my own Will?

Yes, it is possible to write your own will (sometimes called a ‘DIY will’) however it is not advisable that you do so. Wills are complex legal documents, and in order for a will to be considered valid after you die, it must comply with strict rules.

How do I contest a will?

Common reasons to challenge or contest a will include:

  • The will isn’t legally correct
  • lack of testamentary capacity (of the person who made the will)
  • lack of financial provision for dependants
  • undue influence 
  • forgery or fraud.
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We understand your situation and our expert team are here to help

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Tees coronavirus update

We’re open and here to help you. We’re running as normal with our employees all working from home.

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You can call us as normal on 0800 013 1165 or email us: hello@teeslaw.com.

You can also find contact details for all our advisers here. 

As a flexible and technologically-adept firm, we already had many home-working systems in place. We have now rolled this technology out to all our employees working for clients, so they can continue to work normally - and from home.

If you are a client, please be assured you can get in touch with Tees and we are still working on your case. To replace face-to-face meetings, we have the facilities to do video-conferencing, conference calls or just speak on the phone, as you need.

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