The Will

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What If The Beneficiary of a Will Has Died?

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Share this Rating Title: The Will — 7. Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Episodes Seasons. These are beneficial joint tenancies and tenancies in common. If the partners were beneficial joint tenants at the time of the death, the surviving partner will automatically inherit the other partner's share of the property. There is no need for probate or letters of administration unless there are other assets that are not jointly owned. The property might have a mortgage. However, if the partners are tenants in common, the surviving partner does not automatically inherit the other person's share.

Probate or letters of administration will be needed so the personal representative can pass it whoever will inherit the share of the property, according to the will or the rules of intestacy. For more information about beneficial joint tenancies and tenancies in common, see Buying with someone else in Buying a home. For more information about the rules of intestacy, see Who can inherit if there is no will — the rules of intestacy.

If the property is to be inherited by someone and there is still an outstanding mortgage on it, the mortgage company will either require the mortgage to be paid immediately, or ask the person who inherits the property to take over the mortgage. If there is a mortgage on the property, there might be a life insurance policy, an endowment policy, or mortgage protection policy which will pay the outstanding mortgage if the person with the mortgage dies. In this case, you should write to the company, asking for a final statement.

Couples may also have joint bank or building society accounts.

Contesting a will

If one dies, all the money will go to the surviving partner without the need for probate or letters of administration. The bank may need the see the death certificate in order to transfer the money to the other joint owner. Probate or letters of administration may still be needed if there are other assets that are not jointly owned. If, after the funeral expenses have been paid, the amount of money held by the organisation is under a certain amount, they might be prepared to release it to you without you having to apply for probate or letters of administration.

This amount may vary from one organisation to another, so you will need to check with each one. Some banks and building societies will release quite large amounts without the need for probate or letters of administration. Also some banks and building societies will release money needed to pay for a funeral, probate fees and inheritance tax but nothing else until you have been granted probate or letters of administration. This depends entirely on the policy of the organisation in question. They do not have to release anything, however small the amount of money.

If the organisation refuses to release money without probate or letters of administration, you must apply for probate or letters of administration even if it is not otherwise needed. Many executors and administrators act without a solicitor. However, if the estate is complicated, it is best to get legal advice. You should always get legal advice if, for example:. If there are any problems with the way that executors or administrators deal with the estate, for example, if there is unreasonable delay or if the executors or administrators misuse their legal powers, you will need legal advice.

You can find out how to get free or affordable legal advice. The time it takes to get probate or letters of administration varies according to the circumstances. It may only take three to five weeks if there are no complications, inheritance tax is not payable, the estate is straightforward and all forms are filled in properly. However, in more complicated cases, it may take much longer.

You can apply for probate online or by post. You can apply online at GOV. To apply for probate or letters of administration by post, you'll need to fill in a number of forms. These forms ask for details about the person who died, their surviving relatives and, the personal representative. You'll need to fill in other forms depending on what's in the estate and how much it's worth. They can help with filling out the form. Make sure you keep copies of the forms and anything else you have had to send with the forms.

Send the forms and documents to the Probate Registry. The fee for applying for probate or letters of administration depends on the value of the estate. This is the same for both post and online applications. You can apply online or download a form to print off on GOV. UK at www. Whether or not probate or letters of administration is needed, you have to inform HM Revenue and Customs HMRC of the death, in case inheritance tax is payable. There are some exceptions to this rule, for example, if the husband, wife or civil partner inherits the estate.

If inheritance tax has to be paid, some of the tax must be paid before probate or letters of administration is granted. Once probate or letters of administration has been has been granted, the final tax bill will be sorted out. See GOV. UK for more about inheritance tax. Once this has been paid, probate or letters of administration will be sent to you in the post. It includes details of the gross and net estate, that is, the value of the estate before and after debts have been deducted.

A photocopy of the will, stamped to prove it is an official copy, is also sent. Once you have got probate or letters of administration, you can begin to deal with the estate and share out the property. Even if you have been named as an executor in someone's will, you may not wish to, or be able to, act.

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You can appoint someone else to apply for probate on your behalf. Fill in an attorney form and send it with the probate application. You can download the attorney forms on GOV. You may not want to appoint someone else to act for you. You can still refuse to act, as long as the person who made the will has died and you have not already started to deal with the estate. Applications to enter caveats are made to the Probate Registry and are valid for a specified period of time after which further action will be needed to maintain the caveat, if appropriate. If an Executor wishes to make an application for a Grant of Representation where a caveat in in place, a warning will be served on the caveator by the executor, about which advice should be sought.

In the Law Society recommended that in circumstances where there are concerns about the instructions by a testator or in relation to their Will and the execution of it, the solicitor that drafted the Will should provide a statement of his or her evidence dealing with those issues. This recommendation was endorsed by the Court of Appeal on 21 February in the case of Larke v Nugus. It is therefore possible to make enquiries of the solicitor involved to obtain information to allow the merits of a case to be considered.

A Larke v Nugus letter should be tailored to the circumstances in hand and this will often be the first line of enquiry made by a solicitor. However, access will not be given for any part of a record made before 1 November , unless it necessary to allow the records which are disclosed, to be understood. In some circumstances if a copy of the will together with original samples signatures from around the time the will was purported to be executed are available, it may be possible to instruct an expert to provide an opinion as to the authenticity of the signature which appears on the purported will.

If a matter proceeds on the basis that a signature to a will is not authentic, an indicative report can be obtained initially but a Civil Procedure Rule compliant report will be needed if the matter proceeds to a final hearing. The cost of obtaining an expert report can vary and this expense should be taken into consideration if this option is pursued.

In some cases, the value of the estate can determine whether a claim should be pursued. The legal fees which might be incurred in taking a contentious probate matter through to a final hearing can be significant and that should be taken into consideration.

The value of an estate is included on the Grant of Representation see above and in some circumstances, this information will help to resolve queries over the value of an Estate where it is unknown. If the value which is declared does not accord with your understanding, this may give reason to make further enquiries with the executors. An executor should remain neutral where a dispute arises in relation to an estate. The executor must assist with the provision of information about the estate and if an executor is approached to make a request for medical records so that a claim can be assessed, the executor would be expected by court, to deal with that request.

Set fees are payable for copies of medical records and this expense should be taken into consideration when assessing whether you are able to fund any potential claim. After the Event Insurance is available for some types of contentious probate claims and you may wish to seek advice in this regard.

In some circumstances, it is appropriate for a Deed of Variation to be entered into so as to redirect the Estate assets. This is ordinarily something that your solicitor will deal with for you and the Executors will then be bound to distribute the Estate in accordance with the agreement reached.


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It is important for the tax implications of any settlement to be taken into consideration and specialist advice should be sought in this regard. In some circumstances the settlement reached could also have tax implications for both the Estate and beneficiaries. Consideration should be given as to who should be responsible for any additional tax arising out of the settlement agreed.

It is helpful to ascertain whether a Grant of Representation has been taken out in respect of the Estate and by whom. A Grant of Representation is a document that is issued by the Probate Registry. It proves the Executors are entitled to handle the estate of the Deceased. In order to have all of the relevant information available from the outset, it is possible to carry out what is known as a Standing Search to find out if there is a Grant of Representation and if there is, obtain a copy of it together with the Will.

A Standing Search takes account of historic records for a specified period of time and remains effective going forward for a set period of time after it has been lodged, if no Grant had been issued at the time of lodging.

What Is a Will? | Nolo

As soon as you are aware of a potential claim, it is advisable to contact a solicitor. In relation to claims made pursuant to the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependents Act , they should be made within 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate. Different types of claim are subject to different time periods in which proceedings must be issued and you should seek advice if you are unsure as to any time restrictions which might affect a claim you wish to bring.


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  7. If you feel you have ground for contesting a will we advise you to seek a solicitor as soon as possible. Show more. John and Anne Scarle died at home from hypothermia. Mr and Mrs Scarle both had children from previous relationships who sought to argue that they were respectively entitled to receive the estate. The law on the revocation of wills has recently been in the spotlight. Laura Abbott, of Wright Hassall, explores the relatively narrow circumstances in which a copy of a will can be admitted when the original document cannot be located.

    The law surrounding provision for adult children in the context of the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependants Act has been somewhat in turmoil in recent years following the much publicised Ilott case, and a spate of other claims.

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    Standstill agreements are commonly used in litigation. Legal proceedings are required to be issued within certain timeframes under the Limitation Act Sign up for our newsletter Stay ahead with our latest comment, expert insight and event details. Cookies disclaimer I agree Our site saves small pieces of text information cookies on your device in order to deliver better content and for statistical purposes. Toggle navigation. Browse People. Search people by name. Services for individuals. Browse Knowledge. All articles Legal articles Legal guides Case studies Blogs.

    Contesting a will If you believe that you may have grounds for contesting a will it is important to seek advice as quickly as possible. Home Expertise.

    There is often confusion around contesting a will.