Immediately following the death of a person, all their assets, finances and property are effectively “frozen”. Any empty property should be secured and the insurers should be notified that it is unoccupied whilst any valuables should be protected.
Considerations will also need to be made as to whether there is a Will. If so, you will need to ascertain where the original is and who the Executors are. If there is no Will, you will need to discover who is entitled to administer the estate.
Except in the cases of couples who held everything in joint names, or small estates which can sometimes be administered without formality, the administration of the estate cannot proceed until the persons entitled to administer the estate have proved their right to act on behalf of the estate. These persons are known as the Personal Representatives who are usually the Executors named in the Will or, in absence of a Will, the Administrators. They do this by making an application for and obtaining a formal Grant of Representation, which can take the form of either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration.