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When a person dies, his affairs need to be dealt with by someone who will have the task of “administering the estate”.

A Will usually appoints executors and it is they who will apply to the court for probate of the Will, the grant being the official document recording the legal right of the executors to call in
the estate assets and discharge any outstanding liabilities.

If a person dies without making a Will, he dies intestate and it will usually be next-of-kin who apply for a grant of letters of administration issued by the court, authorising the administrators, to administer the estate. There is a set order of priority which dictates who may apply for administration. That person will usually be a relative of the person who has died. It is not uncommon for more than one person to obtain the grant.

Those administering an estate are responsibie for carrying out the person’s wishes set out in the Will, if one has been made, or in accordance with the law of intestacy if none has been
made, they being responsible for paying any inheritance tax liability arising because of the death.

It can be useful for someone who is to administer an estate to take advice from a suitably qualified solicitor if only to make sure that he knows what needs to be done,employing the
solicitor to handle tasks which he does not want to take on.