Do I have to deal with my sister's estate if there is no will and I am the only known next of kin but in poor health to do this?

20th Feb 2020

CATEGORY: Wills, Probate & Trusts


2 answers
  • Hambleton Willwriting Ltd

    If there is no Will your sisters estate will need to be controlled by the Court of Protection who will decide who receives the assets. You would be strongly advised to consult a Solicitor to assist you

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    Hambleton Willwriting Ltd

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  • Jordans Solicitors


    If you are physically in poor health, but are able to make decisions, and If your sister died unmarried without any children or parents and your sister had no other brothers and sisters, then you will be entitled to deal with your sister’s estate if you wish to do so, but you are under no obligation to do so (unless you have already taken certain steps to administer her estate which constitute “intermeddling”).




    You would have various options and your view may depend upon whether ultimately you are likely to receive any financial benefit from administering your sister’s estate, or it is likely all to be taken up by debts and other costs which have to be paid (such as the funeral) leaving nothing due to you.


    1. You can give up your right to act as administer your sister’s estate by renouncing your right to act.  You would still be entitled as beneficiary and whoever administers the estate would be obliged to pay any amounts due to you.  However, unless your sister’s estate is insolvent and creditors choose to deal with it, the difficulty may be that there is nobody prepared to administer the estate for your benefit.

    2. If you stand to inherit from the estate, then you could still act as administrator, but instruct solicitors to act on your behalf; in this regard, you would still be in control of making the necessary decisions, but they would be able to deal with the legal and practical aspects and take the pressure off you.  Alternatively, if you consider that your ability to make decisions is declining, you could appoint attorneys (who could be solicitors or other family members or close friends) who could then deal with the administration on your behalf, and could continue doing so even after you are no longer able to make these decisions.  Indeed, if you already have a Property and Finance Lasting Power of Attorney in place, you would be able to authorise them to deal with this matter on your behalf under its terms.

    3. If there is likely to be an inheritance due to you from your sister’s estate, but you do not wish to receive it, you could vary the terms of her estate, for instance passing all your interest in the estate to other family members, friends of yours or even charity. They would then become entitled to your interest in the estate, and would be able to take on the administration.


    If your ill health means that you are already unable to make the necessary decisions to administer your sister’s estate, and you do not already have a lasting power of attorney in place, then it would be necessary for somebody to apply to be appointed by the Court of Protection as your Deputy with specific authority to act on your behalf to administer your sister’s estate.


    For further information, please feel free to contact one of our branches, located through out Yorkshire on 01924 457171 or visit


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    Jordans Solicitors

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