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What if the shareholder has passed away?

A significant percentage of lost assets relate to shareholders who have died, and their investments have never been administered or distributed to their beneficiaries.

We know it can be a difficult time when someone close to you dies – especially if you’ve never had to deal with things like shares before. We can help. Our teams are trained to help legal representatives or family members to recover their entitlements and where necessary provide assistance with the relevant documentation.

Register the death with ProSearch​

Before the asset reunification process can begin, we need to know who’s allowed to act on behalf of the estate by seeing a Grant of Representation. If a Grant of Representation is not being provided, you might be able to use our Small Estate Service instead.

1. UK Grant of Representation

If you have been issued with a UK Grant of Representation we will need to see the original or a sealed office copy.

A Grant could be one of the following:

  • Grant of Probate;
  • Letters of Administration;
  • Certificate of Confirmation (Scotland);
  • A Grant of Representation issued by a Commonwealth country/territory if it has been resealed in the UK High Court of Justice.

Please arrange for the UK Grant of Representation to be sent to our address with all named representatives signing the relevant forms.

2. Small Estate Service

You can use this service if:

  • A UK Grant of Representation hasn’t been issued
  • You are the next of kin or Executor(s) of the deceased holder
  • The value of the holding(s) in each company, was £20,000 or less at the date of death
  • No inheritance tax is payable on the deceased’s UK estate

When the Small Estate Declaration and Indemnity form is being completed in the capacity of next of kin, we will also require an original or certified copy of the shareholder’s Death Certificate. Next of kin is defined as being married to, or a blood relative of, the deceased.

 The recognised order of precedence is:

  1. Husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased
  2. Son or daughter of the deceased (including formal adoption)
  3. Father or mother of the deceased
  4. Brother or sister of the deceased
  5. Grandparent or grandchild of the deceased
  • The ‘highest’ living person on this list is considered the rightful beneficiary (a wife has priority over a son, for example)
  • Not recognised are any further relations by marriage, e.g. son/daughter-in-law, step-son/daughter.
  • If there’s more than one next of kin (e.g. more than one son or daughter) they all need to sign the forms because they’re equally entitled to the asset.

Glossary of Terms

Here are explanations for some of the terms that you might come across while communicating with us, or as you sort out the estate.

Administrator If the person who died didn’t leave a valid will naming an executor, the court will appoint an administrator instead – usually next of kin. Administrators have the same legal rights and responsibilities as executors.

Beneficiary Someone entitled to money, property or other possessions from the estate. They’ll be named in the will or under the rules of intestacy.

Certified copy: A copy of the original document that has been signed and verified by a regulated professional person or body covered by the money laundering regulations, such as a UK Lawyer/Solicitor, Bank or Authorised Financial Intermediary (FCA regulated). The certified stamp needs to be original, signed and dated with the signature of the certifier and with their registration number (if applicable).

Chain of Representation If the executor for an estate dies, but leaves a Will for their own estate and Probate is extracted/issued, then their executor is able to sign paperwork relating to the original estate. If the executor for an estate dies, but does NOT leave a Will then the Chain of Representation is broken and an administration (Will) or an Administration De Bonis Non will need to be extracted for the original investor (rather than the executor).

Confirmation The Scottish Grant of Representation, naming the executor of the estate. The Confirmation differs from other Grants in that it lists all of the person’s property. For our purposes, it needs to list all of their shareholdings. The document is sometimes called a ‘Certificate’ of Confirmation. 

Death Certificate This is the legal document issued by the local registry office and serves as legal proof of death.

Eik to Confirmation If an asset is not listed in the Inventory of assets in the original Scottish Confirmation document, it will be necessary to legally extract additional documentation to include details of this asset.

Estate Everything owned by the person who has died.

Executor The person named in a will to carry out its instructions.

Grant of Probate A Grant of Representation from England, Wales or Northern Ireland, issued when the person who died left a will. The Grant of Probate names the executor of the estate.

Grant of Representation The general name for a legal document stating who the legal representative of the estate is – whether an executor or an administrator. It gives them the legal right to sort out the estate according to the will or the rules of intestacy.

Inheritance Tax An HMRC tax on the estate, usually only payable if its value is over a certain amount. Whether Inheritance Tax is payable or not is one of the factors in being eligible to use our Small Estate process. You can find more details about the tax on

Intestate / Intestacy When someone dies without a valid will, they are said to have died intestate. With no will naming the beneficiaries of the estate, the law decides whom should benefit. You can find more details about the rules of intestacy on

Legal representative The general term for an executor, administrator or other person legally acting on the shareholder’s behalf, or on behalf of the estate.

Next of kin The closest living relative(s) of the person who has died.

Personal representative The person responsible for dealing with the estate of someone who’s died, either the executor or the administrator.

Probate The legal process of getting a will confirmed as valid. ‘Probate’ is also used more generally (particularly in the UK) to mean the entire process of sorting out an estate. See Grant of Probate for the legal document.

Probate Registry The name of the public body responsible for issuing the grants of representation. There are local District Probate Registries around the UK.

Testate When someone dies having made a valid will, they are said to have died testate. The opposite – where there isn’t a will – is intestate.

Will A legal document that lays out whom should benefit from the estate, and possibly things like funeral arrangements. It should also appoint an executor to carry out these instructions.

We appreciate that it can be a difficult time and sorting out a holding may be the last thing on your mind. If there’s anything that you’re not sure about, or if you would like to talk to someone to help you through the steps you need to take, our dedicated team will be able to help.

Contact us by calling the helpline or if you would prefer to email us, please complete the form below:

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