If there’s no valid Will

When you die, your estate has to be distributed one way or another. If you have a Will, your executors have to gain a Grant of Probate in England and Wales or Northern Ireland (a Grant of Confirmation in Scotland). If there’s no valid Will, or the named executors in the Will are unwilling or unable to carry out their duties, a Grant of Letters of Administration is needed. This is known as ‘dying intestate’.


If the estate is worth less than £5,000, or all assets are jointly owned and pass to the surviving owner, then Probate, Confirmation or Letters of Administration may not be needed.

Once a Grant has been gained, the executors or administrators have to:

• Work out the assets and liabilities of the estate

• Pay any outstanding loans and collect any outstanding debts

• Work out and pay any IHT due – or make arrangements for it to be paid off over 10 years in the case of properties and certain other assets

• Pay out the remaining assets in accordance with the Will or the rules of intestacy