Reply To: Probate not applied for


I have just applied for letters of administration (LOA) for my wife’s elderly mother who has passed away. This is equivalent to probate where there is no will.

She was given three days to live in hospital but came home and managed 9 months. She just decided she wanted to live a bit longer. A determined woman. She deliberately left no will.

A learning experience I must say. With a will it is fairly straight forward. Without a will it becomes a lot more complex. The law then decides who gets a share in the estate and not the deceased. So any verbal promises previously made are ignored and the rules of intestacy make no provision for unmarried partners.

Applying for LOA takes time. Up to 6 months….the waiting time for the Government to confirm this is now up to 4 months.

So with a will I think it is fair to rely on the details set out in that document but without a will no-one will be entitled to anything for 6 months and most solicitors will recommend any payment is NOT made for one year….in case of an unknown debt or debts.

One other interesting point whether there is a will or not. The next of kin always tend to presume the property has no debt on it if they know the mortgage is small or has been paid off. But large numbers of people are taking out equity release and similar on their property. They don’t mention this to family….why should they? The first time next of kin get to find out is often when the solicitor dealing with the will breaks the news.

So you cannot just presume the value of an estate. Sometimes….even with property….there is not much left when everything has been paid off.