Do I need a Grant of Probate?
Thursday 6th May 2021
What is a Grant of Probate?
A Grant of Probate is an official document which confirms that the people named in the Will of someone who has died have the authority to deal with that person’s estate. These people are called executors.
If there is no Will, or there is a Will but there are no executors, then a Grant of Letters of Administration can be obtained instead.
Do I need one of these Grants?
Whether you need to get a Grant will depend on the assets in the estate and how they are held.
If the deceased owned very little, it is unlikely that a Grant will be required as the estate may be classed as a small estate. In particular, you may not need to go the trouble of getting a Grant where the only assets in the estate are held as ‘joint tenants’ with another person (so they pass automatically to the surviving co-owner), where the estate doesn’t include land, property or shares, and where any money held in bank accounts is of a sufficiently low value that the bank doesn’t ask you to provide a Grant.
If there is a property owned in the sole name of the deceased, a Grant will be required. If the property is owned jointly, as joint tenants with the co-owner, then the property will pass automatically to the surviving co-owner. However, where the property is owned with another person as ‘tenants in common’, the deceased’s share of the property will not automatically transfer to the surviving co-owner; it will pass in line with the Will or intestacy rules and a Grant may be needed here.
Where the deceased held bank accounts and investments in joint names with another person then the accounts will automatically pass to the surviving account holder and no Grant will be needed to deal with these assets.
If the deceased owned bank accounts or investments in their sole name, it will depend upon the requirements of the particular financial institutions and the value of those assets as to whether or not a Grant will be needed for the funds to be released. Every bank and financial institution has their own approach to dealing with the affairs of their deceased customers – some will want you to provide a Grant, others won’t. You would need to clarify each institution’s requirements.
How we can help
With our Grant Only Service we can obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration for you. This includes preparing the Grant application paperwork, dealing with HM Revenue & Customs, arranging to pay any inheritance tax due and liaising with the Probate Registry to obtain the Grant.
Alternatively, you may want us to deal with all of the estate administration on your behalf which, in addition to the above, includes liaising with everyone to establish the value of the assets in the estate, arranging for bank accounts and investments to be cashed in and distributing the estate assets to the beneficiaries.
We offer fixed fee quotes for both our Grant Only Service and our Full Estate Administration Service. If you would like to speak to us about these services, please contact Sian below.