How can you get probate without a will?

Applying for probate can be a Stressfull and Exhausting task, but our specialists are here to make it feel simple. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about going through probate and dealing with someone’s estate.

How can you get probate without a will?

To get probate without a will, you need to apply for a grant of letters of administration. This allows the next of kin to access the estate and distribute assets in line with the rules of intestacy, which we’ll explain in more detail here.


Need help with probate?

Our friendly probate specialists are here to help you and can offer information and a free, no-obligation quote over the phone. 

    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    What happens when someone dies without a will?

    When someone dies without a will, the rules of intestacy come into play. These are a set of laws that define what should happen to someone’s estate when they die intestate. They usually work reasonably well for traditional families whose circumstances are fairly straightforward, but things can be more difficult for unmarried partners and step-children.

    You can find out more about the rules of intestacy here on the page Who can inherit if there is no will

    Probate without a will: who should apply?

    When someone dies intestate, the person who stands to inherit the most under the rules of intestacy is usually responsible for applying for probate.

    In cases where two or more people are equally entitled to apply for probate – for example, the children of the person who died – you can either apply together (maximum of 4 people) or alone.

    When applying for probate without a will, the document you need to apply for is called a grant of letters of administration.

    What is a grant of letters of administration?

    A grant of letters of administration is an official court document that proves you have the right to act as the administrator of someone’s estate. Once the document has been issued, you’ll be able to close bank accounts, sell property, pay debts and distribute assets following the rules of intestacy.

    This part of the process is known as ‘estate admin’. It can take anywhere between 3-12 months depending on the number of accounts, properties, and other complexities in the estate that need to be dealt with.

    You may also hear this document referred to as a grant of representation, which is the collective term for both a grant of letters of administration and a grant of probate.


    How long does probate take without a will?

    It takes around 30 days from submitting the probate application to getting the grant of letters of administration delivered. This can take longer if the case is particularly complex or if there are backlogs at the probate registry.

    What information do you need before applying for probate without a will?

    Once you’ve worked out that you’re the right person to apply for probate, it’s a good idea to start making notes about your loved one’s estate. This includes things like:

    • Making a list of all their financial assets, such as bank accounts, savings, investments, stocks and shares, pensions and life insurance policies Contacting the financial organisations to freeze the accounts and find out how much is in each one
    • Valuing any property within the estate – you can find out more about how to value a house for probate here
    • Writing down an estimate for the total value of the estate – this will help your probate specialist understand how much (if any) inheritance tax is likely to be due
    • Verifying the family tree to confirm the relationship between you and your loved one, through certificates such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce certificates (decree absolute)

    If the estate is particularly complex and you’d prefer someone to handle this for you, our probate full estate administration service may be right for you.

    How to get probate without a will

    If you’re the next of kin of someone who died without a will and you believe you can apply for probate, you can get started by calling Probate Specialist Ltd on 0808 188 9008 Here’s how it works:

    • Our friendly probate specialists will chat through your situation to help you understand what probate is, whether you need it and how much it’s going to cost.
    • We’ll arrange a follow-up call to find out more details about the estate – this usually takes around 30 minutes.
    • We’ll then follow up with you until we have all the information we need.
    • Once we have everything, we’ll refer your case to our legal team.
    • The probate and tax forms are prepared and sent to you to be signed electronically, then they’re submitted to the probate registry.
    • Once everything has been approved by the probate registry, your grant of letters of administration will be sent to you in the post.

    You’ll then need to take care of the estate administration, which often includes paying off debts, selling property, closing accounts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries following the rules of intestacy.

    If the estate is fairly simple, you may be happy to deal with this yourself. However, if you’re worried about making mistakes or simply want to get things sorted as quickly as possible, let us know when you call and we’ll happily provide you with a quote for probate full estate administration.


    • To get probate without a will, the person who stands to inherit the most under the rules of intestacy needs to apply. This is usually the spouse or civil partner, followed by the children of the person who died.
    • Before applying for probate, you should value any property within the estate and work out the total value of any accounts, savings, investments, pensions and life insurance policies. You should also include the value of any debts owed such as mortgages, loans, credit cards and utilities – and you can also include the cost of the funeral.
    • You can start applying for probate by calling our friendly probate specialists on freephone 0808 188 9008  or 0207 965 7568  If you need help with the estate administration – including valuing the estate and distributing assets to beneficiaries – we can help with that too.
    • It usually takes around 30 days to get the grant after applying for probate, but this can be longer in more complex cases.
    • The document you receive when applying for probate without a will is called a grant of letters of administration. But, for simplicity, most people just refer to it as probate.
    • After getting probate, you’ll be free to close accounts, sell property, pay debts and distribute assets to beneficiaries following the rules of intestacy.

    How do you find a will?

    You can call free on 0808 188 9008 or you can call us on 0207 965 7568 for the London area (Local charges apply) or alternatively call 01380 718199  (Local charges apply).

    You can also fax us on 0844 884 8509. at 11p and up per minute from a fax machine.

    Correct as of 1-1-2021

    Please note: do not call the fax number from a mobile phone as you will be charged 50p per minute and you will not be able to speak to anyone.

    Probate Specialist Limited, 5th Floor, 167-169 Great Portland Street, Marylebone London, W1W 5PF

    Probate Specialist Limited 126, High Street , Marlborough SN8 1LZ

    For general email purposes, you can email 

    You can also email your specialist directly on,

    Please note: specialistname refers directly to the name of your specialist. You can find further information on the name of your specialist on the about us page. 

    Probate Specialist Limited, The Office, 21 Ferozeshah Road, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 2JQ

    Company Number: 13015149

    ICO Reg Number ZA807624

    Rise to the top

    Helping Our Clients

    Our main focus is helping our clients. When they are in one of the most difficult times in their lives. The well-being of our clients is paramount to our success.

    count on us

    The Probate Experts

    We have extensively trained in Probate and we believe that we have the best systems in place to deal with your probate in a fast efficient and accurate manner. 

    Right First Time

    Best Practices

    Our systems are constantly checked on a daily basis to make sure we are capable of dealing with anything that can literally be thrown at them

    Scroll to Top
    Probate Specialist

    We and selected partners, use cookies or similar technologies as specified in the cookie policy. You can consent to the use of such technologies by closing this notice. Further information is also available in our privacy policy.