What happens where there is no Will? Consult with our expert London Probate and Intestacy solicitors

If a relative has died and there is no Will, it can be very confusing knowing who is responsible for dealing with the estate; and understanding who will inherit the assets of the deceased, particularly when you are going through the grieving process. The experienced probate and intestacy solicitors at Ronald Fletcher & Co Solicitors are on hand to guide you through the legal process in simple terms to help you understand what will happen.

Where someone dies without making a Will, there is what the law calls 'intestacy'. If you are next of kin, you will normally be legally responsible for dealing with the estate and will be known as the administrator (sometimes called the 'personal representative'). We can apply on your behalf for a 'Grant of Representation', a court document granting you legal authority to access the deceased's assets. Sometimes, a Grant is not necessary but we will advise you whether or not it is required in your case.

Who gets what?

Where there is an intestacy, the law decides who is entitled to what - which might not necessarily be who the deceased would have chosen to benefit from his or her estate had a Will been made.

The legal beneficiaries will be the closest living relatives of the deceased according to their class. For instance, the spouse will be entitled, followed by any surviving children if there is no surviving spouse. However, it is not always straightforward: for instance, step-children, adopted children and children born as a result of IVF are sometimes treated differently. And if the estate is substantial, the spouse will not necessarily inherit the whole of it.

Ronald Fletcher & Co has a solid Probate, Wills and Intestacy practice based on years of experience advising clients in the event of a loved one's death and we will explain the law to you in simple terms and how it will apply in your specific circumstances.

We will also help you in the process of winding up the estate. This means 'collecting in' the assets of the estate. This may involve very little work. For instance, the property and assets of the deceased may automatically transfer to the spouse. In other cases, it may require:

· applying for the money in bank and building society accounts;

· transferring shares;

· selling land or property and putting the proceeds of sale into a special bank account;

· dealing with life policies; and

· valuing possessions such as jewellery and antiques.

We may also need to deal with any estate debts, for instance, utility bills, loans and inheritance tax that may be due. When all debts have been paid off, assets called in and the legal beneficiaries have each received their appropriate share of the estate, we will draw up estate accounts setting out the income and outgoings of the estate and the legacies paid to the beneficiaries. If you are the personal representative, you will be asked to check and approve the accounts.

If your spouse or a close relative has died - whether or not there is a Will - consult with the experienced Wills and Probate solicitors at Ronald Fletcher & Co for expert advice. Whether the estate is small or large, we have the expertise to advise you accordingly. For more information about this area of our practice visit our Probate and Intestacy section.

Call us now on 0207 624 0041 or send us an email.