Grant of Probate
Unlocking the Executor’s Powers
If you have been named in someone’s Will as an executor – meaning you are responsible for administering, gathering and distributing the property and possessions that constitute their estate – you will need to secure a Grant of Probate in order to act.
What is a Grant of Probate?
A Grant of Probate is a legal document issued by the Probate Court which confirms that you – as the Personal Representative of the estate of the deceased - have the right to put their legal and financial affairs into order.
It allows you to deal with organisations such as banks, building societies and mortgage providers by demonstrating that you have permission to access their accounts and carry out the transactions necessary to carry out their wishes as set out in their Will.
Without a Grant of Probate, it would be far more troublesome to get these organisations to release assets to you.
When Is A Grant Of Probate Needed?
The following assets will generally require a Grant of Probate in order for you to gain control of them:
- Stocks and shares
- Some types of insurance
- Property and land which is in their name, or held as a tenancy in common
However, you will not always need a Grant of Probate, most notably in situations where you have joint ownership of property or bank accounts. In these situations the ownership will usually automatically pass to you. There is also the possibility that the organisation will choose to release the assets at their discretion if they are minimal, but a Grant of Probate makes the process far easier.
The Grant of Probate is necessary so that an executor cannot begin administration of the estate immediately. This ensures that if anyone wishes to challenge a Will or the eligibility of an individual as Personal Representative, they can do so before the process has begun, while the request for a Grant of Probate is still in the hands of the Probate Court.
Who Applies For The Grant And Where?
It depends. If the deceased left a valid will, the executors named in it apply for a grant of probate. If there is no valid will, the next of kin will apply for a grant of letters of administration. Either way, the application is made to the district probate registrar.
What Is A Grant Of Representation?
A Grant of Representation is an order of the High Court which confirms that a grant of Probate or a Grant of Letter of Administration has been obtained, and that the Personal Representative is free to administer and distribute the estate.
The Grant of Probate Application Process
To apply for the Grant of Probate, you must first fill out the Probate Application Form (PA1). You will also need to fill out an Inheritance Tax form – to do this, you will first need to work out how much the estate is worth.
Even if it turns out that Inheritance Tax is not payable on the estate, you will still need to fill out an Inheritance Tax form. You can find the right form for your circumstances on the HMRC website.
You must then send off your application, with your application and Inheritance Tax forms included. You must also include the following in your application:
- The original Will, plus two copies and record of any amendments (codicils)
- Official copy of the death certificate
- Cheque made payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service for £105 – this is the application fee.
The fee is only payable on estates worth more than £5,000 – if the estate is worth less than this, you do not need to pay.
Once the application has been received, you will need to go to your local probate office to swear an oath. Bring two forms of identification with you, such as a passport or a driving licence.
Once this is done, you should receive your Grant of Probate within 10 working days.
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