Grant of representation, grant of probate or letters of administration?

What is a grant of representation?

A grant of representation is an umbrella term that can be used to refer to either a grant of probate, letters of administration or both. A grant of representation confirms the executors or administrators legal authority to handle a deceased person’s assets.

You may require a grant of representation in order to gain access to assets that a deceased person owned. These assets could be property, bank accounts, financial investments and other possessions.

The type of grant you will need is dependent on whether or not the deceased left a Valid Last Will and testament.

What is a grant of probate?

A grant of probate is what you will need for the estate of a deceased who has left a valid Will. The testator will name who they want to handle their estate and its affairs, this person is called the ‘Executor’. Only the executor named in the will has the authority to apply for a grant of probate on the estate.

The executor is responsible for handling the deceased’s assets, collecting information about the estate in order to provide the correct information to HMRC, obtain the grant of probate and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries named by the deceased in their Will.

What are letters of administration?

Letters of administration is what you will need for the estate of a deceased who left no valid Will. When the deceased did not leave a valid Will, the estate will pass through the Rules of Intestacy. These rules designate the next of Kin as the first in line to have the right to administer the estate as well as the right to inherit from it.

A next of kin does not have to act if they do not want and the position will fall to the next entitled until someone chooses to act. Once someone has started to administer the estate they will become the ‘Administrator’. An administrator is the equivalent to an executor and is responsible for administering the estate, apply for letters of administration and distributing the estate according to the Rules of Intestacy.

How do I apply for probate or letters of administration?

Although the grant of probate and the letters of administration go by different names, the same application forms must be completed for both. The application process is also very similar and is often just referred to as ‘Probate‘ or ‘Estate administration’.

To obtain a grant of probate/ letters of administration you must complete the PA1 application and its corresponding inheritance tax form, this could be either the IHT 205 or the IHT 400. The PA1 form accounts for whether a Will is present or not and will direct you accordingly. Once these and any supplementary forms have been completed they are sent to the probate registry to be processed.

Once your application has been approved you will be asked to swear an Oath confirming the information you have provided is correct to the best of your knowledge. Once you have sworn the oath you will receive your grant within 10 days.

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