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What is a Grant of Probate?

When a person dies, someone has to look after their estate and deal with their affairs. 

This is known as administering the estate.

The person named in a Will to look after the deceased’s estate is called the Executor. This person, or persons, has the duty to make sure that the wishes in the Will are carried out. If the estate value is over £5,000 then the Executor will usually be required obtain a grant of representation.

A grant of representation is a court sealed document, containing the deceased’s name and address, their date of death, and naming the executor(s) or administrators who are authorised to deal with the estate administration. It also states the net value of the decease’s estate, as declared when the application for grant of representation is submitted.

The grant of representation proves the executors authority to act on behalf of the deceased and they will need to present the court document to banks and other institutions that hold any assets on behalf of the deceased. The executors will also be required to present this to the conveyancing solicitor when they are selling the deceased’s house, to prove that they have authority to sell it.

Different Grants in England and Wales

There are three main types of grant of representation in England and Wales.

  1. Grant of Probate

    A grant of probate is issued if the executors named in a Will are administering the estate. This is the most usual and simplest form of grant.

  2. Grant of Letters of Administration with Will Annexed

    This is issued if there is a valid Will but no executors were appointed. Or those that were appointed are not willing to act on the deceased’s behalf and substitute ‘administrators’ are appointed.

  3. Grant of Letters of Administration

    If there is no Will – and the deceased therefore died intestate – the Probate Registry will have to issue a Grant of Letters of Administration. The law states that the next in line to the deceased, i.e. a surviving spouse, or child, will be entitled to act as the administrator of the estate. Typically this grant is needed if the estate is worth over £5,000.

Whatever the type of grant, some financial institutions may exercise discretion and might only require sight of a grant of representation if the estate assets exceed £15,000.

If you need any legal advice or help regarding the administration of a Will please contact Slater and Gordon’s team of expert Wills and Probate Solicitors. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will call you.

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