Grant of Probate Explained for England & Wales
Grant of Probate is a legal document that may be required to administer the estate of someone who has died, however there is usually a lot more involved in administering the estate than just getting the Grant of Probate.
When someone dies and they have a legally valid Will in place, the Will should name one or more Executors. These are the people who have been chosen to administer the estate by the person who died, and it is these people who may need to obtain a Grant of Probate before they can administer the estate.
If you have been named as an Executor in a Will, the responsibility will usually fall to you, along with any other executors, to find out if Probate is required or not.
If there was no legally valid Will, this means that the deceased did not specifically select someone to administer the estate. In these circumstances it might be necessary to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration, and the process to do this is similar to obtaining a Grant of Probate. Only certain people can apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration where there is no Will. These are usually the next of kin.
Grant of Probate and Grant of Letters of Administration are both also known as a Grant of Representation, and the term used for anyone named in the Grant to manage an estate is called a Personal Representative. This is the case whether or not the deceased left a Will.
A Personal Representative will sometimes be required to obtain a Grant of Representation for an estate if:
- It is worth more than £5,000
- There are stocks and shares included
- There is a property or land included
Once a Grant of Representation has been obtained, all of the other elements required for the completion of the rest of the Probate process can be started. This could include payment of the outstanding balance of any Inheritance Tax due, selling any land or property and following the terms of the Will as per the wishes of the person who made the Will.
In some unusual circumstances though, a Grant of Representation might still be required even if the value of the estate is less than £5,000. The financial institutions with which the deceased held investments or bank accounts all have different rules about whether they require a Grant of Representation regardless of the amounts involved. Some will allow you to close accounts of up to £50,000 without a Grant, but depending on the circumstances, another may require you to get a Grant of Representation to access funds of only £2,500. This does make the process more difficult as there are no set rules to follow.
The Probate process is different depending on where you are in the UK. The process in England and Wales follows these rules but the requirements in Scotland and Northern Ireland are different. So, if you are named as executor in the Will of someone living in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you should seek advice from a Solicitor in that legal jurisdiction.
Co-op Legal Services offer fixed fee Probate services designed to meet your needs and requirements, whatever they are. We can help you with the Probate process if your loved one left a Will or if they died Intestate (without leaving a Will).
We offer a Complete Probate Service which means that we will handle all of the administrative work for you, obtain all the necessary documents and forms required to complete all the associated tasks needed to complete the Probate process.
We are happy to provide you with free initial Probate advice over the telephone and to help you establish if Probate is required on your loved ones estate. If you decide that you would like to hand over the Probate process to us to manage on your behalf, we will arrange for one of our Probate Consultants to visit you at home or another location of your choice (in England or Wales), where we will provide you with a fixed fee Probate quotation based on the complexity and value of the estate.
If you would like to complete Probate yourself, you can buy a DIY Probate Kit which should include all the documents, template letters and useful addresses you need to complete Probate on your own.
You should be prepared to put in a lot detailed administrative work and be prepared for the Probate process to take anywhere from a few months to a year. Due to the requirement of liaising with many different organisations, institutions and managing many different processes, it can be frustrating and time consuming.
With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for getting the Grant of Probate and dealing with all the legal, tax (excluding VAT), property and Estate Administration affairs.
For free initial Probate advice call Co-op Legal Services on 01618558359 or contact us online and we will help you.