English and Welsh probate: what/who is a suretee of a letter of administration

+1 vote

I have asked https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/ for someone's will, but the person died without a will, so have instead a Grant of Letters of Administration (which in essence gives the person's entire estate to his only son).  

There are names and addresses of two suretees given (one female, one male).  Who would these be, typically? Friends? Employers? People of standing in the community?

in Genealogy Help by Pat Reynolds G2G6 (6.6k points)
If the son was underage, disabled or out of the country these people would be charged with fulfilling the terms of the will. The suretee is to hold them responsible For doing it.
Thanks, Marion.  The son was 50 and a joiner, so unlikely to be disabled ... maybe out of the country (but in 1911 he was working on the Wollaton estate, Nottinghamshire, and he was still there in 1939 as a retiree ... so it seems quite unlikely).  Perhaps he had been taken temporarily unwell.

What is his relationship to the suretees likely to be?
Curiouser and curiouser, she is a spinster, living in Nottingham, he is living in Kirkby in Ashfield, a fitter. I went looking for his marriage, guessing he might have married my intestate man's wife's sister .... and found that this pair married one another 9 years before they were suretees.

I've picked them up in the 1939 register, both living at the address she lived at in the letter of administration.

2 Answers

+5 votes

Someone who administers estate has to make sure that all debts and credits are sorted before the estate is passed to the heir(s) as apponted by  law (if intestate)  or  is disposed of by  will. The.administrator takes an oath and in the past (not sure about when it stopped now you take the oath and can be prosecuted for not carrying out your duty legally) also had to sign a bond .  

The value of the bond varied according to the size of the estate. In addition others stood surety for the bond. Those who stood surety would only have to pay the penalty if the administration was not carried out lawfully .They had to have enough money to cover their part.  http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei/NEI_bonds.htm

 And yes, they might be friends, other relations, local people who knew the administrator well. Sometimes they were public officials for example if someone died intestate with no known relatives. (there's an example in the link above where the administrator was a creditor, two others possibly from the same firm were sureties,  rereading, not from same firm, so possibly  relations or other creditors )


by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (390k points)
edited by Helen Ford
+3 votes
The suretee would have to be someone with the ability and resources to fulfill the duties. More likely a well off relative or neighbor of good standing in the community. Just think about- who would you trust to conduct your business?
by Daniel Bly G2G6 Mach 7 (70.1k points)

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