Settling affairs after a death
A Grant of Probate gives your executors (also known as personal representatives) the legal right to deal with your affairs after your death, so they can administer your estate according to the terms of your will:
The Grant of Probate is a legal document confirming that the executor has authority to deal with your property, money and possessions. They can use it to access funds, sort out finances, or collect and distribute your assets.
The Probate Registry
If you die leaving a will:
- The executors have immediate legal authority from the day you die
- The executors named in the will apply for the Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry
- The executors may be able to deal with certain smaller assets without the Grant of Probate
If you don’t leave a will:
- A close relative can apply to the Probate Registry to deal with the estate
- Instead of a Grant of Probate, they need a Grant of Letters of Administration
- They can become the administrators of the estate
- The administrators have no authority until they have obtained the Grant of Letters of Administration
- Like a Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration is a legal document confirming the administrator’s authority to deal with your assets
Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration
Generally, a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is needed if you die leaving one or more of:
- £5,000 or more in savings or investment accounts
- Stocks or shares
- Certain insurance policies
- Property or land held in your own name or as tenants in common with someone else
If your estate is small, some insurance companies, banks or building societies may release funds without a Grant but only at their discretion – the minimum figure can vary between organisations.
Your executors won’t be granted probate until some, or all, of any inheritance tax that is due on the estate has been paid – so the administrator of estates often requires specialist knowledge of tax and inheritance law.
It is possible to apply for Grant of Probate directly to the Probate Registry, but:
- There is then an extra probate fee to pay
- The Probate Registry will take longer to issue a Grant
- You have no guarantees or cover if things go wrong
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Please contact us to discuss how we might assist you with probate issues. We can help with all or any part of the process and will advise you of the costs involved before we carry out any work.