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Published On: October 24, 2011 | Blog | 0 comments

How Can I Find Out Who is Dealing With an Estate?

One issue I frequently encounter when I meet with new clients who may want to challenge a will is whether there is a Grant of Representation in place allowing someone to deal with the estate of the deceased. In some cases, my clients will want to stop a grant from being taken (for example if they are arguing that the will is invalid for some reason). In other cases, particularly if bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975, it is necessary for the grant to be in place before Court proceedings can start.

Where there is a will, the executors apply for a Grant of Probate. If there is no will, then the personal representatives apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration.

People are often surprised when told that there is no central register of wills. A will may be stored with a solicitor, or a bank, but even then it is sometimes a matter of chance whether it is found. On several occasions, I have had clients who want me to write to all of the solicitors in a particular town or county to see whether any holds a will for the deceased. This is time consuming, expensive and may not bear fruit.

People are also surprised to hear that there is no ‘reading of the will’ (except in Hollywood), so you should not expect a telephone call from a solicitor, inviting you in with all of the deceased’s nearest and dearest to find out who he has favoured, and punished, on his death.

Once a will has been found and admitted to probate, then there is a central record of the grant and the will. A search can be carried out at the Probate Registry. The form is on the Probate Registry website and very easy to complete. The cost is £6 and for that you will get a copy of the grant if issued, and the will. If there is no will, the same process should be carried out, but the search will be for the Grant of Letters of Administration.

If no grant has been taken, then the search will be logged and if a grant is taken out within the next 6 months, you will be notified by having a copy of the grant (and will if there is one) sent to you. It is possible to renew the search each 6 months until such time as the grant is taken. The grant will tell you the identity of the person dealing with the estate, the rough value of the estate and will allow you to calculate the limitation period for a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975.

*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*
  • A compassionate solicitor who considers all of her client’s concerns, and advises on the best way to resolve them, in or out of court.
  • Achieves settlements which are suitable for the individual circumstances incorporating compensation payments, the transfer of property and setting up trusts for children.
  • Completed the ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) Contentious Trusts and Probate course – the only specialist training course for this area of law.
  • Qualified Commercial and Civil Mediator, accredited by the ADR Group.
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 ‘Clare Kelly is exceptionally knowledgeable and extremely efficient, and is a good negotiator who is sensitive to her clients’ needs and finds practical solutions’
  • ‘has a great eye for detail but can also identify the crux of the dispute’ – Legal 500 2019
  • Recommended by clients:
    “[Clare] has been absolutely wonderful – so lovely, extremely bright, and a rock when it came to getting us through the last two years.”
    “Clare, you are a star of the highest order!!”
    “It has been a difficult and stressful case and you have dealt with it efficiently and skilfully and with warmth and sensitivity”.
    “Your skill, your expertise, in matters concerning Wills is I believe, second to none. Both myself and my wife will be forever in your debt….Saying thank you just doesn’t cover the gratitude and respect we both have for you.”


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