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A guide to Probate

What is a Grant of Representation?

An Order issued by one of the many Probate Registries of the High Court up and down the Country confirming legal authority to one or more people to administer the Estate of a deceased person. There are two main types of Grant of Representation being:

  • A Grant of Probate – this will be issued to one or more people named in the Deceased’s Will as Executors to deal with the Estate;
  • Letters of Administration – this will be issued where the Deceased died without leaving a Will ("intestate”). The Grant usually be issued to the closest relative of the Deceased who must prove their entitlement to the Court.

What is required to obtain a Grant of Representation?

The Executors or Administrators must swear an Affidavit for the Probate Court in order to establish their entitlement to take out a Grant. This Affidavit (also known as an "Oath”) will state the gross and net value of the Estate of the person who has died and an assurance that the Estate will be distributed in accordance with the law and with the terms of the Deceased’s Will if there is one.

Executors and Administrators will therefore be required to provide details of all of the property of the Deceased and any debts or liabilities. Property will include any house, furniture, savings, personal possessions, jewellery, investments and anything else of value. Liabilities can include mortgages and bills and will also include the funeral expenses.

How is the Grant of Representation obtained?

The Affidavit of the Executors or the Administrators will be sent to one of the Probate Registries. It will usually be sent with an Inland Revenue Account setting out all of the Deceased’s assets and liabilities. Once the Registry are satisfied they will issue either the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration. The Grant is the document which allows the Executors or the Administrators to administer the Estate giving them the authority to do so.

For example, the Executors or Administrators will register the Grant with building societies and other organisations in which the Deceased held assets. The Grant will also need to be produced in connection with the sale of any house. It is the responsibility of the Executors or the Administrators to gather in the Deceased’s Estate and then to distribute it in accordance with the law (when there is no Will – "an intestacy”) or where there is a Will in accordance with its terms.

How long does all of this take?

It is very difficult to provide an estimate as each individuals Estate is different. The Probate Registries usually issue a Grant of Representation within 2 or 3 weeks of all of the necessary papers being lodged with them.

Once the Grant is issued, however, the timescale for completing the Administration (collecting and distributing the Deceased’s assets in accordance with the law or the Deceased’s Will) will depend on how large or complicated the Deceased’s Estate is. Problems can arise in connection with such as:

  • Difficulties in agreeing and settling tax liabilities;
  • In the event that there are any foreign assets or property;
  • If the Deceased was involved in any trusts;
  • Tracing beneficiaries;
  • Dealing with under age beneficiaries;
  • If there are any agricultural or business properties.

What happens when everything is completed?

At some stage when all of the assets have been gathered in and all other liabilities paid then the balance of the Estate can be worked out and distributed according to the terms of the Deceased’s Will or the law where there is no Will.

Is there any help available with all of this?

The Probate Solicitors at Fylde Law have considerable experience in obtaining Grants of Representation and dealing with the administration of Deceased’s Estates in a straight forward and efficient manner. Being appointed as an Executor or Administrator to a Deceased’s Estate can be a very daunting prospect considering the substantial administrative, legal and tax responsibilities that come with the role.

The Solicitors at Fylde Law are there to provide expert advice and guidance in a personal, sympathetic and confidential manner to guide you through the complexities of Probate.

Please contact our Probate Department for free initial and without obligation advice.

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