Probate and Intestacy
The death of a loved one is always an emotional and distressing time. Unfortunately there are many things that have to be done. We would be happy to assist you in sorting out the formalities relating to the administration of an estate, whether there is a will or not. We are also experienced in those cases where matters are not so straight forward and we can guide you through this.
When someone dies they leave assets in their name, for example, a house, bank accounts, shares etc. Whoever holds the assets (Land Registry, Bank, Share Registrars) will usually (unless the estate is worth less than £5,000.00) want to see a Grant of Representation from the court prior to releasing the assets.
There are two main types of Grant of Representation
- Where there is a valid Will appointing an executor who is able and willing to prove the Will, then a Grant of Probate will be issued to them.
- Where there is not a valid Will, then a Grant of Letters of Administration will be issued to the person entitled.
Grant of Probate
Probate is the legal procedure to decide whether a will is valid. When a person makes a Will they appoint an executor to administer the estate when they die. The executor must make an application to the Court through the local Probate Registry to prove the Will is valid and apply for the Grant of Probate. Generally (unless the estate is worth less than £5,000.00) assets will not be released to the executor without sight of a Grant of Probate.
Grant of Letters of Administration
This applies when the person who has died has not left a Will and has therefore not appointed an executor. The law tells us who is entitled to the apply to the Court for the Grant of Letters of Administration and this is as follows:.
- A spouse/civil partner
- Issue (children or grandchilden)
- Brother or sisters (who share the same two parents as the Deceased) or their issue
- Half brother or sisters or their issue
- Uncles or aunts or their issue
- Half uncles or aunts or their issue
- The Crown (Treasury Solicitor)
The Grant of Letters of Administration once issued by the court gives authority to the appropriate person to deal with the estate (known as the administrator). They then have the same responsibilities as an executor.
If you are an executor or an administrator then you are responsible for:-
- Proving the Will is valid by obtaining a Grant of Probate from the Court or Obtaining Letters of Administration where there is no Will (on intestacy).
- Establishing all the assets in the estate and collecting these in.
- Completing any necessary tax returns and finalising the tax affairs of the person who has died.
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property owned by the person who has died.
- Paying any bills the estate is liable for.
- Distributing the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will
- Keeping accounts and providing copies to the Beneficiaries of the Estate.
If you are appointed as an executor or you are the person to extract a Grant in an intestacy the thought of carrying out these tasks may sound daunting and time consuming but we are here to help. We have an experienced team who specialise in the administration of estates, ensuring the whole process is completed smoothly and promptly. We can arrange for the probate valuations of all the assets as at the date of death including instructing any agents to value property and stockbrokers to value shares. We can also assist with the completion of the Inland Revenue Accounts, preparing the documents for extracting the Grant, collecting in the assets of the estate after the Grant has been issued, instructing genealogists to trace missing beneficiaries, selling the deceased’s property, preparing Estate Accounts and finally paying the money to the beneficiaries.
We offer a range of services to suit your needs from dealing with everything on your behalf to just submitting the application to the court and are happy to work with you to discuss the best way that we can support you.
Please feel free to contact a member of our Private Client Team for a free half an hour appointment to discuss how we can help you.