What is a grant of probate?
What is a grant of probate?
A grant of probate gives you the legal right to manage an individual’s estate. Estates consist of assets like property, possessions and money. In England and Wales, a grant of probate is also called a grant of representation. To apply for a grant of probate, you can either go it alone or use someone licenced to provide probate services including a solicitor.
Is there a will?
You will normally get started by checking that a will exists. This will normally tell you who is in charge of managing the estate. If there isn’t a will, the next of kin can apply for a grant of probate. The grant will enable you to access their bank account and more. You will have to ensure any unpaid Inheritance Tax is handed over, and will need to collect the assets of the estate, including money from the sale of their property for instance. You will also need to pay other debts, like unpaid bills. Property, money and other assets will need to be handed over to the beneficiaries named in the will.
Do you need a grant?
You won’t usually require a grant if the estate is automatically passed onto the remaining spouse or civil partner and was held in joint names or if the estate doesn’t have property, shares or land. Organisations holding the money in question will sometimes ask for proof of death, such as a death certificate. However, as different financial organisations have their own rules, you may need to look at their regulations to find out whether you need to apply for a grant or not. In Scotland, the process is called ‘confirmation’. It is widely known as ‘grant of probate’ in Northern Ireland.
Is an executor or administrator named?
You must contact your Probate Registry if there is no executor named in the will. The person who deals with the estate in the absence of a will is called the ‘administrator’. You may be able to apply for a grant if you were the person’s next of kin, or if you were separated but still married or in a civil partnership at the time of their death. You won’t be able to apply if you were the person’s partner but not married or in a civil partnership with them, and you won’t be automatically entitled to any part of their estate. If there is no will, the legal system will decide who the assets should go to.
What do I need to do as the executor?
Once the grant is issued, you will need to contact all organisations that hold the assets. When they release them, you can transfer them to the executorship account. When you are the administrator, you will be legally obliged to pay off any debts or outstanding payments before the estate can be distributed. Remember, beneficiaries may need to pay Income Tax on any assets they inherit if income is generated from them.
Getting in touch
At Miller Reeves, we can come to your assistance if you need help with the probate process. To find out more, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0333 300 1882 and speak to one of our expert team.