What is a Grant of Probate?
A Grant of Probate is the document that confirms an executor’s authority to administer a deceased person’s estate. Such authority is derived from being appointed as executor under the deceased’s Will.
In some cases Probate is not needed. This might be because the deceased owned assets jointly with others, such as bank accounts which pass automatically to the surviving account holder(s), or property held as joint tenants. Probate will also not be required for realising the proceeds of insurance policies written in trust or for death benefits payable other than to the deceased’s estate. Depending on their value, probate is also not needed if the deceased only held a small amount of savings and/or National Savings, such as Premium Bonds.
If the deceased owned assets in their sole name or land jointly as tenants in common, it is likely that Probate will be required to gain access to their assets. However, rules differ between organisations and some will have lower thresholds under which they will release assets without sight of a Grant than others.
If the deceased died without leaving a Will then the alternative grant of representation of Letters of Administration will need to be applied for by the person(s) first entitled under Rule 22 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules, with the first such individual being a surviving spouse. If the deceased died leaving a valid Will but without appointing executors or if the executors are unwilling or unable to act, then Letters of Administration with the Will annexed should be applied for by the person(s) first entitled under Rule 20 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules. In many cases, this might be beneficiaries entitled to the remainder of the deceased’s estate.
It can be a complicated process so please contact us if you require any further advice.