LEEDS OFFICE 
Trading as Avery Walters Ellis Solicitors 
 
HARROGATE OFFICE 
Trading as Powell Eddison Solicitors 
 

Our Private Client Specialist's Guide to Intestacy 

We provide a free initial no obligation consultation to discuss any estate, confirm whether you require probate, discuss your options, costings, the process and likely timescales. 
What should you bring to your meeting? 
 
For your initial meeting we will need to see: - 
 
1. The original death certificate 
2. Your identification 
3. Any paperwork you wish to discuss. 
 
The meeting should be with family members or next of kin. 

What is intestacy? 

Intestacy refers to a set of rules that apply to someone’s estate if they pass away without leaving a valid Will. 
 
The intestacy laws will determine who can deal with the estate and who has the right to benefit from the estate. Click here to view our Intestacy Rules Flowchart
 
Partners, cohabitees and stepchildren do not have any right to benefit under an intestacy. If you wish to avoid this for your own estate, please contact us to put in place a Will
 
An estate may be a total intestacy or partial intestacy depending on the circumstances of the case. 
What if I am not sure whether there is a Will? 
 
It should not be assumed that the deceased passed away without a Will. You should undertake the following tasks before proceeding on the basis of intestacy:- 
 
1. A thorough search of the deceased’s residence. 
2. Contacting their solicitor or local solicitors in the area to see if a Will is held. 
3. Putting a notice in the London Gazette requesting information about any Will. 
4. An application to search any registers of Wills (commercial or otherwise). 

When is a Grant of Representation required? 

A Grant of Representation is not always required to deal with a loved one’s estate. This may be the case where their assets are held in joint names, are low value and don’t include property. 
 
Some investments, pensions and polices can be ‘nominated’ to be received by a particular individual and therefore dealt with directly by the pension or policy provider meaning that a Grant of Representation is not always needed to deal with these types of assets. 
 
A Grant of Representation is always required where the deceased owned a property solely or as tenants in common with another individual. A Grant of Representation is often required where sole accounts, ISAs, investments, stocks and shares or other high value holdings form part of the estate. 
 
Terminology 
 
If a Grant of Representation is required, in an intestacy this is called ‘Letters of Administration’. If the estate is a partial intestacy, then it may be ‘Letters of Administration with Will annexed’. 
 
These terms simply refer to what is more commonly referred to as ‘Probate’. 
 

What does this mean in terms of additional work and costs? 

Cases involving partial or total intestacy can be more complex and costly to deal with and may involve the following matters: - 
 
1. A genealogist being instructed to prepare a detailed family tree if distant relatives are entitled. 
2. Tracing agents being instructed to locate relevant individuals. 
3. Insurance being taken out if beneficiaries cannot be found to protect the personal representatives. 
4. Investigatory work and notices which will increase volume of correspondence. 
What is the probate process? 
 
See our step-by-step guide to the probate process. 

How can Avery Walters Help? 

Avery Walters can provide assistance in the following ways: - 
 
1. An initial free consultation to provide guidance with no obligation to proceed. 
We will meet with personal representatives to discuss who has the authority to deal with the estate, and who will benefit under the rules of intestacy. We can also discuss whether a Grant of Representation is required, provide general advice, and set out available options or next steps. 
 
2. A fixed fee limited retainer to obtain a Grant of Representation for the personal representatives. 
We can assist by making the application to the probate registry on your behalf after drafting the required probate application paperwork. This is based on you valuing the estate and providing the relevant information to us for the application; we can confirm what information we need at the outset. Upon receipt of the Grant of Representation, you are then responsible for closing accounts and collecting in assets and dealing with all other estate matters such as paying liabilities and distribution of the estate. 
This is a popular option due to the fixed fee and limited nature of our retainer which may suit many clients who are happy to correspond with third parties in the estate and go through paperwork or where the estate is straightforward. 
 
3. Deal with the full administration of an estate on behalf of the personal representatives 
This would involve us contacting all financial parties in the estate and building up a financial picture of the estate as at the date of death to include assets and liabilities. We would then prepare all probate application papers and submit these on the personal representative’s behalf. 
 
Once probate was received, we would collect in all assets, pay all liabilities, and ultimately prepare estate accounts and distribute the estate giving the personal representatives and beneficiaries peace of mind. 
What are the likely timescales? 
 
The likely timescales involved depend on the nature and complexity of the matter, but we will be able to provide you with a likely timescale at the outset of the matter upon receipt of the facts. 
 
Where a Grant of Representation is required, it takes approximately 8 weeks for the Grant to be issued by the probate registry from when the application is submitted. 
 
Depending on what is involved we estimate that the full administration of an estate could take anywhere between 6 months- 24 months. 
 
A fixed fee limited retainer application may take anywhere between 8-14 weeks. 

What else can we assist with? 

• Deeds of Variation 
• DWP claims against the estate 
• Statutory notices for creditors 
• Renunciation & power reserved 
• High net worth and taxable estates 
• Sale or transfer of probate properties. 
We understand that this process can be daunting and difficult, especially at a time when you are suffering a bereavement and trying to grieve. We can advise you throughout the matter, without using legal jargon to ensure you understand everything. 
 
We can deal with the whole process for you to give you peace of mind. 
 
Contact us on 0113 2007480 or email us on info@averywalters.com to arrange your free initial, no obligation consultation with a specialist. 
Laura Stafford 
Private Client Solicitor 
 
Phone: 0113 200 7480 
 
Email: ls@averywalters.com 
* Laura Stafford is the SFE accredited member 
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