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What Are Letters of Administration and Who Needs Them?

March 16, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 107

The legal system is full of confusing terms and phrases that are meaningless to the normal layperson. Letters of Administration are documents you need to access your loved ones assets if they die without making a will (intestate).

You may not need letters of administration if:

1. Your loved one has less than £5000 in assets, after paying funeral costs. The deceased's bank may be willing to allow you access to their finances on production of a death certificate.

2. All your loved ones assets are held in joint accounts or property with you as the joint account holder. In this case it may be possible to change the account details to your own name.

If neither of these apply to you, it is likely that you will need to apply for letters of administration. But first you need to know if you are the person who is entitled to apply for a grant of letters of administration. The person who may apply is prioritized in the following order, depending on existing/surviving relatives of the deceased:

Spouse or civil partner; but not a common law partner Sons or daughters Children of sons or daughters Parents SiblingsGrandparents Uncles or aunts - but not their spouses

*Note - If the person entitled to apply for grants of administration is under the age of 18, two people need to apply.

Applying for letters of administration is quite straightforward. You simply apply to the Probate Registry. It is the process that follows the application that is not so easy. Dealing with a person's affairs when they die intestate is rarely straightforward, and as once you have been granted permission to access their assets you will have several responsibilities.

These responsibilities include finding all the deceased's assets, checking to see if they are owed any money and recovering it, paying off their debts, calculating inheritance taxes, and distributing the estate to the correct family members.

If you are unsure whether you can cope with all of this, while you are still grieving the loss of your loved one, it would be wise to seek legal advice. You do not have to go through a solicitor to do this in fact it will be less costly to use a specialist probate service.

Common Complications When Someone Dies Intestate

There are a few common complications involved when dealing with a deceased relatives financial affairs if they die intestate. If you think any of these may apply in your case, it would be advisable to seek legal advice or assistance before you apply for a grant of letters of administration.

The Existence of a Common Law Spouse: A common law spouse is not usually entitled to any of the deceased's assets if they die intestate. But they can appeal if they were financially reliant on the deceased, and this may cause you stress and conflict.

Children Who Are Not Yet 18: If children under the age of 18 are entitled to part of the estate.

Complicated Financial Affairs: If you are not sure where all your deceased assets are invested, or what debts they owe.

If you have any doubts at all about your ability to deal with the deceased financial affairs, do seek legal advice before you apply for a grant of letters of administration.

+Tony Crocker is Director of IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd. With over 15 years' experience, he is knowledgeable and proficient in all matters regarding Probate, Letters of Administration, Will writing, Estate Planning and Inheritance tax avoidance.

IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd. are a specialist Will Writing and Probate Company offering nationwide coverage. The company provides fixed fee probate services; rates are agreed with clients in advance. Probate fees are based on the work that has to be carried out, rather than the estate value or at an hourly rate.

IWC are regulated by the Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners and registered at Companies House. Their head office is located in Croydon, Surrey, with satellite office coverage across most of England. Follow us on Twitter @IWCLtd

Source: EzineArticles
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