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Wills & Probate
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Wills & Probate

Administration of Estates

Administration of Estates

When someone dies, the decisions to be made and the action to be taken can be confusing. Dealing with the loss of a relative or a friend can be a difficult time and most people are unsure what action to take.

At Williamsons we are here to help and give advice to anyone who requires our assistance. Read our more frequently asked questions below and get in touch today to see how we can help.

What action needs to be taken straight away?

Registering the death

It is important to register the death at a Registry office within five days of the death. Therefore we recommend that you telephone the local Registry office to make an appointment as soon as possible.

Once the registrar is satisfied with all of the information provided, the person registering the death will be given the opportunity to review the information entered by the registrar before signing the register. The person registering the death will then be given copies of the death certificate and all the documentation required to complete funeral arrangements.

Securing Assets

If the deceased had any assets of particular value, for example a house, it is advisable to ensure that such assets are secure. If a house is unoccupied it is important to ensure that it remains insured and therefore you should notify the insurance company of the death as soon as possible. The insurance company may place extra conditions on the policy (for example the property may have to be inspected once a week). It is important to check what the conditions are and ensure that they are followed. It may also be necessary to consider removing items of particular value and placing them somewhere safe until the estate can be administered.

Is it important to establish whether or not there is a Will?

Before any action is taken in respect of the administration of the estate of the deceased it is important to establish who has the legal right to administer the estate. If the deceased left a valid Will, the Will usually states who is to act as Executor.  In such circumstances the Executors named in the Will have the legal authority to administer the estate. If the people named do not wish to administer the estate or it would be inconvenient for them to do so alternative arrangements can be made. In addition, it is important to establish whether or not a valid Will has been left, as the Will determines how the deceased’s assets are to be distributed. If a valid Will has been left, the people who administer the estate have a legal duty to follow the terms of the Will. If the deceased did not leave a valid Will the legal rules known as the Intestacy Rules will decide who is responsible for administering the deceased’s estate and how the deceased’s assets are to be distributed. It is possible for the deceased to leave a valid Will that does not appoint an Executor (for example if the Executor named in the Will has died). There are legal rules that decide who is to be appointed when this happens. In such circumstances the person administering the estate will be known as the Administrator (not an Executor). The general term for someone entitled to deal with the administration of the deceased’s estate (either as an Executor or Administrator) is the Personal Representative. There are numerous legal requirements which must be fulfilled for a Will to be valid. The legal rules which determine who is responsible for administering the estate, if there is no valid appointment by Will, this can be complex. Therefore if advice is required in this respect we would recommend that you make an appointment with us to discuss matters further.

Arranging the funeral

When arranging a funeral it is advisable to establish whether or not the deceased left a Will first.  If they did, it is common for such a document to include requests for their funeral arrangements.

Please note that if you instruct a funeral director to arrange the funeral you will be responsible for paying their costs. It is therefore important to establish whether the deceased left sufficient funds to pay the funeral director’s bill before arrangements are made. Some people pay money into certain schemes or pay for their funeral in advance so this should be checked.

If the deceased has insufficient funds to meet the costs of the funeral the local council or health authority will sometimes contribute. In addition it may be possible to obtain some assistance in the form of a Social Fund Funeral Payment. However if arrangements are made with a funeral director before funding is checked it should be noted that ultimately the funeral director will require payment to be made by the person who arranged the funeral.

If the deceased left money in their bank accounts most banks will release money to pay for the funeral upon receipt of a copy of the death certificate and the funeral directors bill.

What is a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration?

If you are the person legally entitled to administer the estate (either as an Executor or an Administrator), you may need to obtain a Grant of Representation before you can begin to deal with the financial affairs of the deceased.

The Grant of Representation is the document issued by the Probate Registry to the person legally entitled to deal with the administration of the estate of the deceased.  It is not always necessary to obtain a Grant of Representation. Whether or not one is required will depend upon the value of the assets of the deceased and whether or not assets were owned jointly with another person as joint tenants. If advice is required as to whether or not a Grant of Representation is required please contact us for assistance.

The Grant of Representation is the general term used to describe the different types of grant which can be issued by the Probate Registry. The 3 specific types of grant which can be issued are;

  • Grant of Probate – this is issued when the person applying to the Probate Registry is named as an executor in the Will of the deceased
  • Grant of Letters of Administration (with Will annexed) – this is issued when the deceased left a valid Will but the Executors named in the Will cannot or do not wish to act
  • Grant of Letters of Administration – this is issued when the deceased did not leave a valid Will.

Do I need a Solicitor?

The administration of an estate can be a daunting task. It is not always necessary to use a Solicitor but we would recommend that you at least make initial enquiries with us to ensure that matters are dealt with correctly.

Williamsons offer a free initial appointment. During the appointment we can provide you with general advice as to the matters which will have to be dealt with. Thereafter you will be able to make a decision as to whether or not you consider it necessary to appoint Williamsons to assist you through the process.


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Carey has been really good throughout the process. Always responds quickly on emails and is always on the end of the phone if I needed her. I would highly recommend this firm and Carey.

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Excellent relationship management, clear and concise advice including option analysis. Very happy with all aspects of the service provided and the outcomes achieved. Friendly professional service.

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Carey Robinson acted as our Solicitor on a recent commercial purchase and she was brilliant. Carey was super efficient and we were kept up to date on every aspect of the purchase. From start to finish our "Property Auction" purchase only took 7 working days to complete. We will definitely be using Carey again and can highly recommend her 5 star service.


Friendly, fast and efficient. Sale of property went very well.


I have nothing but praise for Gordon Sewell at the Hull office. He conducted my unusual and difficult civil case with great care and understanding. Gordon also injected the right amount of sympathy for my plight without being unprofessional. I would recommend him to anyone needing a clued up civil litigation lawyer.

Richard K

very helpful and efficient. thanks to all

Peter R

Mr Nick Gray was assigned my enquiry and worked with me throughout. He made himself available at all times and was always supportive to me on numerous occasions when I found myself unsure and admittedly nervous. He never let me down. I believe his advice was always good and I relied on it throughout. I think the award was the best I could have obtained and in conclusion I can honestly say that I am happy. The other contact I have had over the years was your receptionist, the face of your company. I was always greeted with a smile and the offer of a cup of coffee. On the occasions I visited your Hull office I was always made to feel important. Thank you.


Professional and courteous team. Recommend highly.

Gareth M

I’ve rated my experience with Williamson’s solicitors as excellent. My case was handled by Mr. Gordon Sewell. Mr. Sewell was very quick to get to work on my case, as was necessary at the time. Everything he did for me was thorough and made sure I had every chance in my case. Everything Mr Sewell did for me turned out a success and I couldn’t have been happy with the way he dealt with myself, could communicated with myself and dealt with the case in its entirety. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Williamson’s solicitors again should I require it and would recommend their services to anyone. In fact, I already have since my experience! Thanks again Gordon.

Dom W

Recently used Williamsons Solicitors as part of a remortgage and some other matters. Can't fault their service at all. Carey dealt with my file and was polite, professional and informative from beginning to end. Always kept me up to speed with progress. I would highly recommend them.

Mrs Margaret W

Excellent service with a friendly face

Mr Martin a

Was very happy with the service given by Williamsons solicitors who dealt with the probate of a friends will and also the selling of her property. Especially Diane Ramsden whose help was invaluable.


Williamsons took on my case following the collapse of another Hull legal practice. Despite them having to pick up a large amount of work already completed by others, they worked tirelessly to ensure the correct outcome for me. I cannot recommend this company highly enough, they go above and beyond the norm to make sure their clients are treated fairly.


We used Williamsons for selling and buying a property, we found Jane Cousins and her assistant Sam Pollard to be pleasant, professional and efficient. Lisa on reception downstairs was particularly helpful and polite. Thank you to you all.

Mr J G

Avery good service with very professional and knowledgeable staff.


Brilliant, thank you for helping me make this process easier.

Mr G B

I would recommend Williamson’s to any potential client. From the onset I was supported throughout a very difficult conveyance and my solicitor was very professional at all times. It is advisable to engage the services of a local company and not one advised by online estate agencies. Very competitive pricing too. Thank you Williamson’s.

Mr and Mrs Overall

Very helpful quick excellent service Have dealt with both Jenny Holloway and Emma Hudson in the past and on each occasion have found them both excellent and would recommend them both to any future clients Thank you once again for your excellent professional service

Mr C P

Brilliant communication and a first class effort despite a Rocky move, Jenny and Emma at the Hull city centre branch where fantastic.

Ms A

Very helpful and attentive, would definitely recommend Samantha/Jane of Williamsons sollicitors