Question 1 – Was there a Will?
If your loved one left a Will, it will have named an Executor. This is the person who deals with the administration of the estate. When a person dies, they leave an ‘estate’, even if they left nothing of financial value to pass on. Many people assume that an ‘estate’ has to include property or money, but in many cases, there may only be the anticipated value of the claim that makes up the value of the estate.
If you are the Executor, we will ask you to provide us with a copy of the Will naming you as Executor and we will then transfer the case into your name. You will become the client and the claim will be brought ‘on behalf of the estate of…’ your loved one. Very often, that is all that is required by insurance companies in order to settle a claim. If we are required to issue proceedings, in many cases we will refer you to our Wills and Probate department and they will guide you through the process of obtaining a Grant of Probate. It may be that, if your loved one left anything in their estate that needed to be divided up between beneficiaries of the Will, you will already have obtained a Grant of Probate via the solicitor who drew up the Will in the first place (which may or may not have been Tilly Bailey & Irvine).
If your loved one did not leave a Will, all is not lost. You can obtain Letters of Administration, which do much the same job as a Grant of Probate. Again, we can refer you to our Wills and Probate team who can explain what is involved in obtaining Letters of Administration and can guide you through the process.