Probate Service grants of representation

What is a grant of representation?

When a person dies somebody has to deal with their estate (money property and possessions left) by collecting in all the money, paying any debts and distributing what is left to those people entitled to it. Probate is the court’s authority, given to a person or persons to administer a deceased person’s estate and the document issued by the Probate Service is called a Grant of Representation. This document is usually required by the asset holders as proof to show the correct person or persons have the Probate Service’s authority to administer a deceased person’s estate.

Why is a grant of representation needed?

  • To protect the interests of the estate and beneficiaries. Before releasing money or other assets owned by the deceased, those holding the assets (such as banks) need to know that they are dealing with someone who has the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s affairs. The grant of representation provides that assurance.
  • To confirm that the will made by the person who has died is valid (however, though very few cases arise, the validity of a will remains open to challenge after probate has been granted).

Is a grant needed in all cases?

No.

  • It may not be necessary to obtain a grant where a home is held in joint names and is passing by survivorship to the other joint owner.
  • Where a joint bank or building society account is held, production of a death certificate may be sufficient for the monies to be transferred to the joint holder.
  • Certain institutions may release monies without a grant being produced if the amount held by the deceased was small. Apply to the institutions to see if they will release monies without a grant.

How is a grant of representation obtained?

  • By applying to a Probate Registry Applications may be made personally, or through a solicitor (or, more rarely, a notary or barrister).
  • With a few exceptions, the basis of the application is an affidavit, (the executor’s or administrator’s oath), sworn by the person applying, stating how he or she is entitled to act. A person’s entitlement to take a grant depends on the circumstances of the individual case, and is laid down by law. If the facts contained in the affidavit meet the legal requirements, a grant of representation will be issued.
  • The requirements of the HM Revenue & Customs as to Inheritance Tax must be met.
HM Courts & Tribunals Service

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