When someone dies, the task of sorting out their money, property and assets passes to an executor, as named in the Will.
If they die without naming an executor, without a valid Will or the executor is either unwilling or unable to do the job, it passes to family members in a specific order.The person that takes up that job is known as an administrator.
If you find yourself responsible for winding up someone's estate you'll probably need to get a Grant of Representation first.
This document affords you the legal right required before you can take control of the estate as the personal representative and set about complying with the Will or Intestacy rules.
A Grant of Representation isn't usually required if the estate passes to the surviving spouse or civil partner and it was held in joint names or where the estate doesn't include land, property or shares.
If you are named an executor in the Will you apply for a Grant of Probate. If you are an administrator you must apply for Letters of Administration which gives you the same rights as an executor.
Applying for a Grant of Representation can take several weeks, but it's essential.
You can instruct a professional to help you with this process as it can seem quite daunting.