Do I Need a Grant of Probate?

Author:
Nadia Rimmer
Solicitor, Advocate
Date:
27/02/2019

A Grant of Probate is a type of a Grant of Representation - and there’s often confusion that a Grant of Representation is not required when a deceased person left a Will. But this isn’t correct.

Whether you require a Grant of Representation depends on the value of the deceased person’s Estate, the type of assets held and whether the assets are held in the deceased’s sole name. Its purpose is to provide the relevant person, such as the Executor named in the Will or an Administrator through the Rules of Intestacy, with authority to act on behalf of the Estate.

If the deceased has left a Will, you would require Grant of Probate. If there is no Will, you would require Letters of Administration. The Probate application process is the same for both documents.

Our Probate Solicitors can apply for Probate on your behalf, or we can deal with the complete Probate process for you.

For free initial legal advice get in touch with our Probate Solicitors.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

Who Can Apply for a Grant of Representation?

Executor: An Executor is appointed by the person who has died in their Will and doesn’t necessarily need to be a relative; it can also be a friend or professional such as a Solicitor or accountant.

Administrator: To establish who the Administrator is, you should follow the Rules of Intestacy. These Rules state the order in which people are entitled to a deceased’s Estate and who therefore should act as Administrator.

The order set out by the Rules of Intestacy is:

1. Spouse or Civil Partner
2. Children
3. Parents
4. Siblings
5. Half Siblings
6. Grandparents
7. Aunties and/or Uncles

When applying to the Probate Registry (Court) for a Letter of Administration, you’ll need to prove you are the appropriate person entitled to apply. For example, if the deceased is divorced, a copy of the decree absolute is required to prove they don’t have a spouse or civil partner.

Joint Assets

When there are assets held in joint names, they automatically pass to the survivor. This includes but isn’t limited to owning a property as Joint Tenants and having a joint bank account. A Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) wouldn’t usually be required to transfer the assets to the survivor. It’s usually sufficient to provide the Land Registry or financial organisation with a copy of the death certificate and the assets can be transferred into the sole name of the survivor.

Small Estate

If you’re dealing with a small Estate (usually with a value less than £5,000), a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) won’t usually be required. However, this will depend on the financial organisation, as it’s at their discretion as to whether they will release funds without a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration).

Property

Usually a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) is required when the deceased owns a property in either their sole name or as Tenants in Common. The Executor or Administrator will need to sign the property transfer documents on behalf of the Estate and the Land Registry will require evidence that they’re authorised to act.

Sole Name Assets

When the deceased holds assets in their sole name, a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) may be required. This will again depend on the financial organisation. Some banks will only release monies under £15,000 without a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration), and others will release funds under £50,000.

If the deceased held shareholdings in their sole name, the company registrar will usually require a copy of the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) in order for the shares to be sold or transferred.

It’s advisable to contact each asset holder to establish whether you require a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) to access the assets and/or close the account.

Civil Proceedings

In the circumstances where a person has died due to the negligence of third party, a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) will be required to bring a personal injury or medical negligence claim on behalf of the Estate. The Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) will prove that the person named on the claim has the authority to bring those proceedings on behalf of the Estate.

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