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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7602
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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1) If a UK citizen dies and has no spouse or children, and

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1) If a UK citizen dies and has no spouse or children, and has left behind no will, does the estate automatically go to the parents of the deceased? If not, what is the process in the UK?

2) What proof does the inheritor have that they are the legal heir-at-law?

3) If the deceased left behind debts, is the heir-at-law obligated to pay those debts?

Are you asking in respect of a UK citizen who has their estate based in the UK?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well, the daughter died while she was temporarily living outside of the UK but she had no real estate, just a small amount in savings and some personal property.


Thanks for your patience.

I assume those small part of the estate were based in the UK.

Her estate would pass according to the intestacy rules.

IN the case of an unmarried person without children this means that her estate would pass to her parents in equal shares, yes.

As proof they would have to apply for letters of administration so that they can deal with the admisntration of her estate:-

Her parents would have to pay such of her debts as they were able to from her estate. They must do this before they distribute any excess monies to themselves. If they do not then they may face action from the institutions that she owed money to.

They will not incur personal liability providing that the do this, which means that they will not have to pay her debts.

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Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How would the parties that she owed money to know whether there is any money in the estate to pay those debts? Can the parties owed money request the letters of administration and would they show the value of the estate and where the assets went?


What if part of her debts were incurred overseas? Would the parents be obligated to pay them under UK law even if there was enough money in the estate to pay them?


They would ask questions of the parents and ask them to provide details of the the assets that she held. The parents would have to answer honestly.

The interested parties can request copies of the letters of administration but they would not be able to see where the money went from them. If they suspect the estate has any savings and the parents were cagey about communicting with them then they would issue against the parents.

I expect that they would still be obliged to pay the foreign debts, yest.

Please remember to rate my answer.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please just clarify these points. If the deceased left behind debts, the inheritors would be accountable to pay the debts only to the point that there are funds in the estate available to pay those debts. Beyond that, there is no further obligation.


But what would happen if the parents did not want to get involved? That is, if they did not want to bother with the letters of administration?


that is correct. If I did not want to get involved then it would not incur any personal liability. If you have any further replies I will answer them tomorrow but in the meantime please rate my answer. You will agree I have answered your original question

Thomas and other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your help. There is one more thing I would like to know about this. Is there a way a creditor, or for that matter, anyone, can determine if somone has inherited the estate? And if so, obtain the letters of administration from the UK gov and see just what is what?


They would be able to see who was named in the letters of adminstration and so puruse the relevant persons, yes.