Protecting & passing on wealth

What to do if there is no will or no known relatives

We often advise how an estate will be administrated where the deceased has not left a will and there are no known relatives. Here we explain how we supported a family in a similar scenario.

In this case the deceased’s lifetime affairs were being administered by a member of Thomson Snell & Passmore acting as a professional Deputy under an order of the Court of Protection. The Deputy’s role is a lifetime appointment and ceases when the individual passes away.

The care home, where the deceased had lived for the last chapter of their life, believed the deceased had no known relatives. The first step, primarily to facilitate the arrangement of the deceased’s funeral, was to verify that this information was accurate.  If correct, the deceased’s estate would have passed to the Crown. Thomson Snell & Passmore arranged initial research to be undertaken by a genealogist which identified that there were in fact some living relatives.

Two of the potential beneficiaries were contacted by the firm and they agreed to act as personal representatives for the purposes of obtaining a Grant of Letters of Administration so that the estate could be dealt with.  The beneficiaries instructed Thomson Snell & Passmore to act on their behalf in administering the estate and accordingly further research was made into the deceased’s family tree.  This revealed that there were some 68 living relatives who were all entitled to a share in the estate.

As a result of Thomson Snell & Passmore acting as a professional Deputy in the deceased’s lifetime all the financial information for the deceased was available together with details of their income including their lifetime income tax position.  This allowed for a seamless flow of information into the estate which facilitated the efficient preparation of the inheritance tax return form and application for the Letters of Administration.

The final outcome was a fair distribution of the estate to the many relatives in the absence of a will written by the deceased.

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