Probate registry office

When a person dies, someone has to organise the deceased's estate. This person is known as the personal representative (also known as the executor if they are named as such in the will). It is important to find out if the deceased left a will, and if so, who the executor is. The will says what should happen to the deceased's money, property and possessions (known as the estate). The personal representative is responsible for paying all the deceased's debts, taxes and expenses. They make the payments from the estate, not from their own income or savings. Only when these duties are finished, can the personal representative share out the rest of the estate to the people entitled to it.

Please note: if a person has power of attorney for someone, this ends at the time of death.

If you are the personal representative, you may have to apply for probate. The Probate service will give you a "Grant of Probate" if the deceased left a will, or issue "Letters of Administration" if there is no will. You can apply online or download the forms you need with notes and guidance on what you need to do by visiting the Applying for probate section on the website. Alternatively, telephone the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre on 0300 123 1072.

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