Personal representatives' protection — notices and searches
Personal representatives' protection — notices and searches

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Personal representatives' protection — notices and searches
  • Unknown claims
  • Where to place the advertisement
  • When to place the advertisement
  • London Gazette
  • Local newspaper
  • Application to the court for directions
  • Effect of advertisement
  • Negligence
  • Searches
  • more

Unknown claims

Even if personal representatives (PRs) are not aware of the claims of a beneficiary or creditor at the time of distribution, they remain personally liable to any unpaid beneficiary or creditor (Knatchbull v Fearnhead (1837) 3 My & Cr 122).

If they give notice of their intention to distribute the estate and the notice complies with the requirements of section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 (TA 1925), they will be protected from liability.

Where to place the advertisement

The advertisements are usually placed on the PRs behalf by the acting solicitor.

Notice is given by advertising in:

  1. the London Gazette

  2. a newspaper circulating in the district in which any land (including leasehold land) forming part of the estate is to be distributed

  3. any other appropriate publication as a court would direct in an administration action, including publications elsewhere than in England and Wales; if in doubt as to what these might be, seek directions from the court

The notice must require any person interested to send particulars of their claim to the PRs within the stated time, which must not be less than two months from the appearance of the advertisement, after which time the estate will be distributed on the basis of claims of which the PRs then have notice (whether from a response to the