In the UK the legal process followed after someone has died is called a Probate.
If someone has died leaving a will, then to collect the Deceased persons assets, a legal document known as a Grant of Probate must be obtained from the Probate Registry, which is the Court responsible for the administration of all probate matters in the UK. The Grant is normally issued to the Executors named in the will.
If the Deceased died without a will, the legal document issued by the probate registry is called a Grant of letters of Administration, and will be issued to the next of kin of Deceased, under are what are known as the Intestacy Rules. These rules then determine who inherits the estate, and who may apply to administer the estate
The application to obtain probate involves a number of documents being lodged with the probate including the Original will, and a compulsory Inheritance Tax return. The current UK Inheritance tax threshold is £325,000. Assets in excess of this being charged at 40% unless any reliefs can be claimed, such as the spouse exemption