By Associate Probate Case Manager, Pip Kimberlin
A Grant of Representation is a legal document that you may need in order to deal with a deceased person’s Estate and wind up their affairs. If the deceased left a Will, this is called a Grant of Probate. If they didn’t leave a Will, this is known as a Grant of Letters of Administration.
The Probate process can be scary, with a number of forms to complete, complex tax work to be carried out and a lot of legal terminology that you may have not come across before.
For free initial advice and guidance call our Probate Advisors on 03306069584 or contact us online and we will help you.
What is a Grant of Probate?
If the deceased person had a valid Will in place when they died, this will have named one or more ‘Executors’ who will be the people responsible for dealing with their Estate. Probate is not always needed and some small Estates can be dealt with without Probate. However, if the Estate contains property or significant assets then it’s likely that Probate will be needed.
If Probate is required, then the Executor/s will need to apply to the Probate Registry (Court) for a Grant of Probate. Once received, this document allows the Executor to collect in the assets of the Estate, settle any outstanding debts and distribute the Estate to those entitled to inherit under the terms of the Will.
‘Granting of Probate’ is a term commonly used to refer to the process of applying for and receiving this document. This is probably the most common type of Probate that you will come across.
What is a Grant of Letters of Administration?
If the deceased did not make a valid Will then the process is a little different. This is known as dying ‘intestate’. In this situation, the Estate will be left to their next of kin (who will be determined under inheritance laws called the Rules of Intestacy). It also becomes the next of kin’s responsibility to deal with the deceased’s Estate.
In order to do this, they will need to obtain what’s called a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’. This document works in a very similar way to a Grant of Probate, but instead of appointing Executors, it appoints ‘Administrators’. The role of an Administrator is similar to that of an Executor. They have the power to deal with the Estate, collect in and sell assets, close bank accounts, settle debts and distribute what’s left in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.
By taking on the role of Executor or Administrator, these individuals are accepting the rules and responsibilities set out by the Probate Court. Principally they are acting on behalf of the Beneficiaries of the Estate and they should always act in their best interests.
With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for getting Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excluding VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs*.
Which Grant Will I Need?
A Grant of Representation is the umbrella term for different types of Grants, be that a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration.
This first thing to do is establish whether or not a Grant of Representation is actually needed to administer the Estate. In order to do this, you’ll need to calculate the value of the Estate. Assets such as property cannot usually be sold without a Grant of Representation, and banks will not usually release significant sums of money without this either. The threshold for each bank is different, so you should check with the bank/s in question.
Once you have calculated the value of the Estate and determined whether a Grant will be needed, the next step will be to determine which type of Grant of Representation you need. To do this, it’s first necessary to establish whether the deceased left a valid Will. If they did, you’ll need a Grant of Probate and if they didn’t it’ll be a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Once the value of the Estate has been calculated, the presence of a Will has been determined and the Beneficiaries of the Estate have been identified, the Grant application process can begin.
Applying for a Grant of Representation
The form needed to apply for a Grant of Representation varies depending on whether or not Inheritance Tax is payable. There is currently a tax free allowance on all Estates of £325,000, so any Estates worth less than this will not usually be liable for Inheritance Tax. There are other allowances and exemptions that might also apply so it’s important to look into these too.
If no Inheritance Tax is payable then the Grant of Representation can be applied for using a form called ‘IHT 205’. If Inheritance Tax is payable, a form called ‘IHT 400’ will be required. This is a much more substantial Inheritance Tax form and the values of the assets and liabilities will need to be detailed on the form before this is submitted.
Once the appropriate documentation has been completed this is submitted to the Probate Court for their consideration. They should issue the Grant of Representation to the Executor/Administrator, which gives them the legal authority to then administer the Estate.
To speak with a Co-op Probate Advisor call 03306069584 or contact us online and we will call you.
*We can also pay all the costs of a Co-op Funeralcare funeral, providing the Estate owns sufficient assets which can be sold in due course to repay our costs.