When someone dies, probate must be completed. Probate is the process which allows the executor to legally distribute the Estate of the deceased. The Estate includes everything that the person owned when they died, including property, money and possessions. Probate usually takes between 6 and 12 months, and usually begins when the person’s death certificate is finalised. Contesting probate without a Will is similar to contesting probate with a Will, however the way you contest it is slightly different.
If someone dies without making a Will, this is known as dying intestate. Regardless of whether a person has made a Will or not, the process of tarting probate is the same. However, the probate process differs in who decides how the estate is divided.
When Someone Dies Without Making A Will
Usually when a person dies, their Estate is divided according to their Will. This means that their estate goes to who they want, how they want. If a person dies intestate, then laws known as laws of intestacy come into effect. These laws place relatives in a priority order of who inherits the estate, starting with the spouse. After the husband, wife, or civil partner, the order is:
- Great grandchildren
- Nieces and nephews
- Other close relatives
When someone dies intestate, only a beneficiary of the estate can apply for the authority to administer the estate. This person will be known as the administrator of the estate (as opposed to an executor when there is a Will). The role of the administrator is very similar to the role of the executor.
The administrator must apply to the Probate Registry for a legal document called a grant of letters of administration. This document grants them legal authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets and administer their estate. Without this document, the administrator will not be able to sell their property and they may not even be able to close their bank accounts.
Contesting Probate Without A Will
If the person had no Will and you feel that they would have left you something if they had made a Will, you can make an Inheritance Act claim. The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 is
“An act to make fresh provision for empowering the court to make orders for the making out of the estate of a deceased person of provision for the spouse, former spouse, child, child of the family or dependant of that person; and for matters connected therewith.”
In simple terms, the act ensures when a person passes away, every beneficiary earns a provision. A beneficiary is anyone who receives something in a Will. Inheritance Act claims are claims certain categories of people make against the estate of a deceased person.
These people are:
- A spouse/civil partner of the deceased
- A former spouse/civil partner
- Children of the deceased, including children or adoption or those reasonably brought into a family
- Financial dependants of the deceased
- In certain cases, cohabitees
How We Can Help
Here at The Inheritance Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with all manner of inheritance claims. This includes Inheritance Act claims. So contact us today by filling in our contact form or by calling us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.