When a person dies, someone has to deal with their affairs. This is called 'administering the estate'.
If the person who has died leaves a will, it will usually name one or more individuals to act as the executors of the will. They will administer the estate.
The executor of a will may need to apply for a grant of probate which is an official document issued by a section of the Court known as the Probate Registry. A qualified solicitor will help you through this process.
If there is no will, this is known as dying ‘intestate’, and it is more complicated. A ‘letters of administration’ application must be made to the court to give people the legal right to administer the estate.
The administrator will usually be a close relative of the deceased and your solicitor will be able to provide you with information on the set order of priority as to who this should be.
The administrator is also responsible for making sure inheritance tax is paid, if any is due. Your solicitor will advise you.
Dealing with probate can take a long time. Simple estates can be wound up within a few months, while others may take a year or even longer if things are not straightforward.
The cost of dealing with probate issues is usually paid from the estate of the deceased.