The Grant of Representation (colloquially known as Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration) is one of the first steps in the process of sorting out someone's estate after they have died.
When a person dies it’s tough enough, without having to get your head around all the paperwork that comes with it. Getting a Grant of Representation can be confusing. So, we’ve broken it down to create a guide to the Grant of Representation application process to try and make it as simple as possible.
Grant of Representation is one of the things that has to be done after someone dies. A Grant of Representation is a court document that proves the people who are dealing with the deceased estate have the right to do so. A Grant of Representation allows banks, financial companies or the Land Registry to know that they’re dealing with the right person.
Having been given the Grant of Representation, this person/these people can then start to sort out the estate of the person that’s died. This involves collecting their belongings, paying their debts and inheritance tax, and distributing the estate in the way that has been laid out in the will or by law.
Is it the last thing you want to think about? Do you want expert support so you can get back to focusing on the important things? We can help. Find out how we can support here, or by calling 0800 0238 967.
Grant of Representation is the term given to both Grant of Probate and Grant of Letters of Administration. They are court documents that proves the people who are dealing with the deceased estate have the right to do so. It is the first step on a journey to sort out the estate of someone that has died.
Grant of Probate is sought by the appointed executors when the person that has died has a legal will.
Grant of Letters of Administration is used when the person that has died doesn't have a legal will in place or, when there is a will, but the person that is applying isn't an executor.
A Grant of Representation isn’t always required.
It depends on the size and the kind of assets of the person that’s died.
In general the following don’t require a Grant of Representation:
Joint Tenants: means that a property is owned jointly by two or more people. In this case, under English law the share of the property that was owned by the person that died goes automatically to the surviving joint tenants.
Even in cases where Grant of Representation is not required to administer the estate, there are still other steps that are required after someone dies, such as notifying HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), amongst others.
The term Grant of Representation includes Grant of Probate and Grant of Letters of Administration. They both apply to different cases.
If the person who’s died had a will:
The executors appointed in the will can apply for a Grant of Probate.
If not they must apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Are there any other rules about who can get a Grant of Representation?
Are there any age limits?
They have to be at least 18 years old
Any other limits?
What happens if one of the beneficiaries is an infant or lacks mental capacity?
Then this requires an additional guarantee from a bank or insurance company.
Can you apply on behalf of someone else who’s out of the country?
Yes, but this requires an additional guarantee from a bank or insurance company.
How many people can apply for a Grant of Representation?
A maximum of 4 people can apply for a Grant of Representation. And a minimum 2 only when there is a lifetime trust or one of the beneficiaries of the estate is under 18 years of age.
There are certain assets that do not require a Grant of Representation for the executors of the will to be able to manage them. In general, small estates, where no single asset is worth more than £5000 or all property in the estate is held in a joint tenancy basis won’t require a Grant of Representation.
You can find out by taking this quick and easy 1 minute quiz here.
Personal belongings such as jewellery with an individual value of £5,000 or under don’t require a Grant of Representation in order to be dealt with. The same goes for savings or premium bonds under certain amounts (the exact amount depends on each institution holding the savings or the premium bonds). These can be paid to the personal representatives without requiring a Grant of Representation.
Start by making a list of all of the assets and debts of the person that's died. Be careful and include only items that belong to the deceased in the estate, and not including anything that was rented or under hire to purchase.
Get the value of each asset and what the person owes on the list. The value must be the market value, that is, the price at which the item could have been sold at the date of death. These figures should be as accurate as possible since the personal representatives will have to swear on them.
You then have to publish a statutory advertisement (Section 27 of the Trustee Act).
This helps you find out about any outstanding debts, and makes any beneficiaries of the estate aware of the death. It means that if anyone sees it and fails to notify the personal representatives of any debts from the deceased's estate, that they won’t be able to claim it going forward.
What is this?:
An advert announcing the death of the deceased, and requiring any person interested to announce any claims or debts they require from the deceased's estates.
Where do you publish this?
The advertisement should be published in The London Gazette and in a newspaper circulating in the area in which the person that’s died had property or lived.
The law establishes an order of priority for payment in these circumstances, and if personal representatives do not follow the order strictly, they may be personally responsible for any losses caused to the creditors.
Usually no Inheritance Tax is to be paid if the value of the estate is below £325,000, or if everything above £325,000 is left to the deceased’s spouse, civil partner, a charity or a community amateur sports club.
If you do have to pay inheritance tax, you must send the appropriate forms to HMRC and wait 20 working days before applying for a Grant. You can access the relevant form here and for further guidance see inheritance tax.
If the person that died has a will you need to follow the below steps to apply for a Grant of Probate: Apply online if:
If you fulfil these conditions, you can apply here.
Applications by post:
In case you are not able to apply online, the following links will take you to the forms needed to apply via post. They list all of the documents that are required to sit alongside the application:
During the application process the people applying will be asked how many official copies (called office copies) of the Grant of Representation they need. Usually you’ll need a few as the copies will need to be used to register the Grant of Representation with multiple organisations and banks etc. (See next step).
The Grant of Representation needs to be registered with any place that the person that has died had assets, e.g. bank, building society or the Land Registry before administering the estate. This proves to them that the personal representative(s) have the right to deal with the relevant asset(s).
Register using the copies of the Grant of Representation rather than the original grant itself, as they often fail to return it and it can’t be replaced.
You’ll usually get the Grant of Representation within 8 weeks of sending in your original documents. However, delays are possible due to COVID-19.
You may have to pay a fee to apply for a Grant of Representation. Whether you need to pay depends on the value of the estate. If the value of the estate is over £5,000, the application fee is £215. There’s no fee if the estate is £5,000 or less.
When the Grant of Representation has been issued, the personal representative is fully empowered to administer the estate.
When someone has died wading through paperwork and legal jargon is about the last thing you want to be doing. We know because we’ve been there.
Lots of people choose to get support from legal experts to take some of the headache out of this process.
Give us a call or find out more here.
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We can sort Grant of Representation (otherwise known as Grant of Probate) for you, so that you can focus on everything else you’re juggling.
What does it include: We can help you with all of the forms and the application itself. Save time. Save money.
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