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Letters of Administration (UK)

If you need to obtain Letters of Administration in England or Wales then this article will explain what it is, why it is required and how to go about obtaining it.

A Letter of Administration is a formal legal document granted by the Probate Registry division of the High Court.

It is required when a person dies in England or Wales without leaving a Will.

An important thing to understand is that it is not a “letter” in the normal everyday sense of the word – a Letter of Administration is actually an official legal document issued by a court when someone dies without a Will. See the image for sample.

A Letter of Administration is required to deal with a deceased person’s assets when he/she died without leaving a Will, and had assets valued over £5000.

If you would like more information about Letters of Administration, click the button below to download our free Letters of Administration Checklist.

Letters Of Administration UK

Examples where a Letter of Administration is required are where the deceased owned:

  • Property; the property cannot change ownership, either by a sale or transfer to a family member, without a Letter of Administration.
  • Bank/building society accounts
  • National Savings & Investment products e.g. Premium Bonds
  • ISAs
  • Shares
  • Pensions
  • Insurance policies
  • Investments held through financial advisers e.g. Unit Trusts
  • Investment Bonds

These assets are ‘frozen’ and inaccessible after the financial organisation is notified of the death until a Letter of Administration is granted.  

A Letter of Administration isn’t required for jointly owned bank accounts and property, or to sell motor vehicles and personal possessions.

It gives the next of kin the power to handle the deceased person’s estate and ensure the inheritance is paid to the correct person(s).

Think of it then as the passport the next of kin need to handle the deceased person’s finances and property.

How to apply for Letter of Administration

The first step is to identify the person who is legally entitled to apply for the Letter of Administration. There is a strict legal pecking order of who is allowed to apply, and if the wrong person applies the application will be rejected.

Applying for Letters of Administration is the responsibility of the deceased person’s legal ‘next of kin’. To identify that person just look at the list below. The person(s) that appears highest up the list is responsible for applying for the Letter of Administration:

The person entitled to apply for Letter of Administration should then take these steps, in order:

Can you apply for Letters of Administration yourself?

Yes, providing you are the legal next of kin, and have the right instructions and documents to support you through the process. 

You do not need to use a solicitor to apply for Letters of Administration. Solicitors fees are typically in the range of £3000-£10,000 so this is a significant cost saving if you deal with the Letters of Administration application yourself.

How do you know if you’re doing it right?

It’s an important question.  Yes, obtaining Letters of Administration is straightforward in almost all cases, but it’s still very important to get it right, as getting it wrong can create more issues – clearly, it is a critical legal process, and if you incorrectly fill the forms in, there can be consequences.

For example, if you don’t correctly collate the value of assets, this can have implications for HMRC, which is something no one wants to get wrong.

As a result, it’s useful to have a guide or framework that’ll help you ensure you’re doing the right things at the right stage, and that’s why we put together a free Essential Letters of Administration FAQs + Checklist that’ll help you ensure that at each stage, you’re doing the right things.

What will the Essential Letters of Administration Checklist help me with?

Essentially, it guides you through the process, explaining what you need to do and in what order.

Here’s what the Essential Letters of Administration Checklist will help you with:

In short, the Essential Letters of Administration Checklist gives you a framework you can work through to complete the legalities and obtain Letters of Administration without using an expensive solicitor, and we’re happy to give you them for free.

To access the forms, and keep making progress on your Letters of Administration application, just fill in the form below now and we’ll send you your free copy now. 


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