When a person dies without leaving a valid will, they have died “intestate”. The rules that dictate who may deal with the assets in the estate and who will be a beneficiary of the estate are called the Intestacy Rules.

If there are assets exceeding £15,000 (or less, depending on the nature of the assets) then it will be necessary for somebody to apply to HM Probate Registry for Grant of Letters of Administration. This is a document that is issued by the Court, and which authorises the person or people who apply (and are known as Personal Representatives) to deal with the assets in the estate.

The following list is the order of priority in which people are entitled to act as Personal Representative of the deceased and take out the Grant of Letters of Administration. It should be remembered, however, that this is a guide only and legal advice should be taken to ensure that all the circumstances have been considered and the correct procedure is being followed.

  • Spouse or registered civil partner
  • Child or children
  • Grandchild or grandchildren
  • Parent
  • Full brother or sister or issue (children or grandchildren) of any full brother or sister who has died before the deceased
  • Half brother or sister or issue of any half brother or half sister who has died before the deceased
  • Grandparent
  • Full uncle or aunt, or children or issue of any full uncle or aunt who has died before the deceased
  • Half uncle or aunt, or issue of any half uncle or aunt who has died before the deceased