What is a Personal Representative?
10 May 2017
By Probate Solicitor Rachel Curtis
A Personal Representative is someone who has the legal authority to administer a person’s Estate after their death. In England and Wales there are two types of Personal Representative: an Executor and an Administrator.
An Executor is a Personal Representative who has been appointed to act in the Will.
When making a Will, you have the opportunity to name four Executors. These are the people who will wind up your affairs after your death. Some people choose to appoint family and friends as Executors, while others will appoint professional organisations, such as a law firm.
If a loved one has passed away and you have been named as an Executor, you will need to check whether or not Probate is needed. Probate will give you the legal power to administer the Estate. An Estate includes everything the deceased person owned, including savings, property, investments and possessions.
If Probate is needed and you are the Executor, you will need to apply for Probate through the Probate Registry, which is part of HM Courts & Tribunal Service.
An Administrator is a Personal Representative who acts when there is no Will.
When someone dies, one of the first tasks is to find out whether he/she left a Will. If a Will wasn’t written, or isn’t legally valid, there won’t be any Executors. However, someone will still need to finalise their affairs, such as closing bank accounts, gathering in assets and paying off any debts. This person is called the Administrator.
There are rules around who is allowed to be an Administrator, but essentially it will be someone who stands to benefit from the Estate according to the Rules of Intestacy. For more information, see When there is No Will, Who is the Personal Representative?
If Probate is needed and you are the Administrator, you will need to apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for getting Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excl VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs.
Personal Representative and Grant of Representation
Whether you’re an Executor or an Administrator, the over-arching term for someone who is administering an Estate is a Personal Representative, or ‘PR’ for short.
Similarly, the over-arching term for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration is a ‘Grant of Representation’. Once a Grant of Representation has been issued by the Probate Registry, the Personal Representative has the legal authority to do things like access the deceased’s bank account, sell their property and distribute their Estate to the beneficiaries.
Being a Personal Representative can be a daunting job, and can involve making an application to the Probate Registry, paying Inheritance Tax (IHT) and searching for missing beneficiaries. For more information, see Executor and Administrator Duties Explained.
As a Personal Representative you are allowed to ask a Probate Specialist to help. With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for getting the Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excluding VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs.