Upgrade to ChromeUpgrade to FirefoxUpgrade to Internet ExplorerUpgrade to Safari
Download this guide
When someone dies you need to get the court’s permission to deal with their estate before you can do anything.  This means that you are not allowed to collect up the assets, distribute them to beneficiaries or even pay off debts until you have gone through the probate process.

Finding your way through the Wills and Probate process

The way in which you need to proceed will depend on one of the following:

  • If there is a Will it will usually name executors. These are people named by the deceased as responsible for managing the probate process and the eventual distribution of assets etc. They can apply to the probate registry for a ‘grant of probate’.
  • If there is a Will but it doesn’t name executors, or if none of the executors want to act, a beneficiary of the Will is allowed to apply to the probate registry themselves for a ‘grant of letters of administration (with Will)’.
  • If there isn’t a Will, a relative or other eligible person is allowed to apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’.

The executors, or those applying, will be asked to sign an oath confirming the information provided is accurate and that they will manage the estate in a correct way.

What does the probate registry do?

At this point, assuming you have met all of the required criteria, the probate registry will issue the correct one of these three grants to allow you to proceed.  These can then be used to prove that you are entitled to manage the deceased’s estate and release any money or assets accordingly.

If you are concerned that there is no Will, read our ‘What happens if someone dies without leaving a Will’ legal guide.

For more information on the probate process, please click here or contact Jenny Pierce on 0117 9292811.

Get in Touch

Request a call back

If you’d prefer us to call you back, just use the form below to give us your number and the best time to call. It would also be useful if you could give us some idea of what you’d like to discuss.


    January 2022

    Due to high rates of Covid19, we are limiting visitor access to our offices to help our staff stay safe.  We are available for video call and telephone meetings but face to face meetings with clients are currently available only in limited circumstances and only where agreed in advance,  to ensure compliance with our continuing Covid safeguards.

    How to get in touch:

    • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
    • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.
    • Alternatively, email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.
    • A list of our 12 branches is available here. Our telephones lines are operating normally.