What is a Grant of Letters of Administration?
16 June 2017
A Grant of Letters of Administration is a legal document that is needed when dealing with the Estate of someone who has died without a Will.
How to Get a Grant of Letters of Administration
When someone has died without a Will, one of their relatives will need to go through the Probate and Estate administration process. This person is known as the ‘Administrator’. There are rules around who an Administrator can be, which we explain below.
If you’re the Administrator, one of the first things you’ll need to do is get a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is a document issued by the Probate Registry, and it’s effectively a ‘rubber stamp’ that gives you the legal authority to deal with the Estate.
To get a Grant of Letters of Administration, you need to submit the following documents to the Probate Registry:
- A PA1 form
- An Inheritance Tax Summary form
- An official copy of the death certificate
- The Probate Registry fee
If everything is completed fully and accurately, the Probate Registry will process the application and issue a Grant of Letters of Administration. Once you have this document, you can begin the process of administering your loved one’s Estate. To find out what this involves, see Executor/Administrator Duties Explained.
Without a Grant of Letters of Administration, you won’t be able to access the assets in the Estate. For example, you won’t be able to close down a bank account or sell a property that your loved one owned.
Who Can Be an Administrator?
In England and Wales, there are laws around who can be an Administrator.
If the deceased person did not leave a Will, or their Will is legally invalid, he/she is said to have died ‘intestate’. When this happens, you’ll need to work out who the main beneficiary is. This will be determined by a set of laws called the Rules of Intestacy.
The main beneficiary will generally be the deceased person’s closest living relative. There is an order of priority, so typically when someone dies their main beneficiary is their spouse. If the deceased person wasn’t married (or their spouse has already died), their main beneficiaries will be their children. If there aren’t any living children, the next in line are the grandchildren, and so the list goes on.
It’s important to find out who the main beneficiary is, because it’s this person who is entitled to be the Administrator.
What if there is a Will?
If the deceased person did leave a Will, the situation will be slightly different. You won’t need to figure out who is entitled to administer the Estate, as the deceased will have chosen Executors in their Will. It will be up to the Executors to apply to the Probate Registry, although instead of a Grant of Letters of Administration, they must obtain a Grant of Probate.
Regardless of whether or not the deceased left a Will, if you would like assistance with the Probate and Estate administration process, our Probate Specialists can help you.