If it is known that a will was made, it is important that the contents should be ascertained as soon as possible after death, as it may contain directions as to the funeral arrangements, etc. This will may be among personal papers at home or with a bank or solicitor for safe custody. Before the estate left by a deceased person can be realised and distributed among the persons entitled to share it, a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration are usually required.

Perhaps the simplest procedure is to instruct a Solicitor or bank to act for you. If you decide to use a Solicitor or bank to act for you, this will not necessarily involve you in heavy expense and will almost certainly relieve you of many worries. If you decide to use a Solicitor or Bank Manager to obtain the appropriate grant they will need to see a copy of the death certificate.

They will also require such items as:

  • Share Certificates
  • Deeds
  • National Savings Bank Books
  • Savings Certificates
  • Premium Bonds
  • Pension Books
  • Insurance Policies … in the name of the deceased

They will also need to have details of any debts that may be owing. You need not worry about paying these immediately. They can be dealt with in time.


Where the deceased has left a will, it has to be proved before the Probate Registry of the High Court of Justice, after which the executors named in the will are enabled to administer the estate.

Letters of Administration

It may be possible to arrange for your Bank or Solicitor to act in the administration of the estate where no will has been left. This can be of real benefit to the family faced with complex financial matters.


Where amounts are small it is sometimes possible for them to be obtained without making application for a grant. This applies mainly to assets held by the National Savings Bank, but only where the total net estate does not exceed the current amount set annually and in accordance with the government budget.

Applying for a grant yourself

To make a personal application or make enquiries regarding Inheritance Tax contact the Probate and Inheritance Tax Help Line 0845 30 20900 who will advise and send out appropriate paperwork. Alternatively, use the web page

Complete the forms to the best of your ability and send by post together with: A copy of the death certificate (from registrar) any will or written wishes left by the deceased. Full details of the estate, i.e. everything possessed by them or due to the deceased like a house, property, cash, bank balances, and insurances. Return the forms by registered post and state at which registry office the interview should take place.

Consult a Solicitor

In most circumstances, it is advisable for you to consult a solicitor both to relieve you of many worries and to take control of wills, problems of intestacy, outstanding debts, grants and letters of administration. A solicitor will save you a great deal of unnecessary trouble and eventually save you money. If it is known that a will was made, it is important that the contents be ascertained as soon as possible after death as it may contain instructions regarding the funeral arrangements.

A will may be among personal papers, with the bank or solicitor for safe keeping. If a solicitor has been consulted by the deceased in the recent past it is important that you contact them without delay.

Information courtesy of Murray’s Independent Funeral Directors https://www.murraysfunerals.co.uk/arranging-a-funeral

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