Letters de bonis non

Mr H died intestate leaving a widow (Mrs H) but no children (estate under £450,000). House is in Mr H’s sole name. Mrs B (great-niece of Mrs H) obtained a Grant ‘for the use and benefit of Mrs H limited until further representation be granted’. Although Mrs H was in a permanent care home, Mrs B failed to sell Mr H’s house and the house remained empty for over 2 years. Mrs H then died and a Grant has been issued to me as Attorney Administrator for Mrs K, the niece of the late Mrs H.

As there is a break in the chain of representation, I understand an application for letters de bonis non will need to be obtained in order for Mr H’s house to be sold. Who can obtain the Letters? Am I correct in my understanding that it is now Mr H’s own relatives who should apply for the Letters, even though they won’t benefit?

It is believed there is a surviving brother of Mr H (probably in his 80s/90s) but it is unknown whether there are nieces and nephews. If there are, will all relatives have to be cleared off, or just the surviving brother?

Samantha Pearson
SJP Wills and Estates

It is the beneficiary(ies) of the estate of Mrs H who are entitled to a grant de bonis non – see Williams, Mortimer & Sunnocks: Executors, Administrators and Probate (20th Edition) @ 25-04, citing NCPR 1987, rule 22(4).

Paul Saunders

As Mrs H was the sole beneficiary of Mr H’s estate, she was the only person with an interest in his estate. It is therefore her personal representative who is entitled to apply for the dbn Grant in Mr H’s estate. Mr
H’s relatives are not relevant.

Incidentally, the chain of representation applies only to Executors.

Cliona O’Tuama


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Many thanks for your replies. It was the Probate Registry who had advised me that only Mr H’s relatives were entitled to apply for the grant de bonis non even in this circumstance, but I wasn’t entirely convinced with their response(!), hence my query here. Thanks again.

Samantha Pearson
SJP Wills and Estates