What is Grant of Probate?
A Grant is a document issued by the Court to the executors named in the Will. The executors have to apply to the Court by making a Statement of Truth, sending the Original Will and providing a financial snapshot of the estate as at the date of death.
For estates that are larger in value, or more complicated, the executors may have to apply to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for clearance, before submitting an application to the Court.
Probate is a term that is also used to refer to the period of time during which the executors are dealing with the estate.
When do I need Probate?
Whether or not Probate is required depends on:
- The value of the estate;
- The size and nature of the estate;
- The executors
Generally speaking if the value of an estate exceeds £5,000 then a Grant of Probate is required. A Grant of Probate is always required when the deceased held land or property in their sole name, when there are stocks and shares and it is potentially required when the deceased held cash in their sole name in a bank or building society account. Banks and building societies apply their discretion as to when they require sight of the Grant of Probate.
How do I get Probate without a Will?
If a person dies without a Will, then there are no executors appointed to administer the estate and an application for Probate is not made. Instead, an application is made by administrators for a Grant of Letters of Administration (also known as the Grant of Representation).
When a person dies without a Will this known as an intestacy. It is set out in law the order in which people inherit and who can apply to the Court for the Grant of Representation (Grant of Letters of Administration) as an administrator.
The important thing to remember is that if you do not have a Will, you do not have a say as to who inherits your estate and who will administer your estate.
How do I apply for the Grant of Representation (Probate/Letters of Administration)?
An application has to be made to the District Probate Registry either by the executors or the administrators of the Will. This application can be made personally or with the professional advice of a solicitor.
The Court will require the original Will, if there is one, a statement by the person making the application and a clearance certificate from HM Revenue and Customs or a completed IHT205 form where the estate is excepted.
If the estate is valued at less than £5,000 there is no fee to be paid to the Court. If the value of the estate exceeds £5,000 then a flat fee of £155 is paid to the Court if a solicitor makes the application, or £215 if the application is made without the assistance of a solicitor. The fee varies as there is more administration for the Court to do when a personal application is made, rather than the application made with the benefit of legal advice.
Our team of expert solicitors have significant experience of handling technical probate and estate administration matters. If you need advice with a loved one’s estate, please get in touch using the form below or call us on 0203 507 1609.
DEMYSTIFYING THE ESTATE ADMINISTRATION PROCESS
Our team is experienced in helping clients to deal effectively with the complexities of administering an estate. If you have a loved one who has passed away, James Beresford, Head of the Probate and Estate Administration team looks to demystify this complex and confusing area of law in our series of vlogs here.
"James is knowledgeable but imparts this knowledge in a non-technical fashion. He is very approachable and open-minded to all potential solutions to assist a client."
Chambers HNW 2017