If the person who has died leaves a will ; In this case one or more ‘executors’ may be named in the will to deal with the person’s affairs after their death. The executor applies for a ‘grant of probate’ from the probate court”s registry. It is a legal document giving the executor the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets (property, savings, investments and other possessions). The executor can use the grant of probate to sort out the assets of the deceased, and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out in the will.
If the person who has died didn’t leave a will ; If someone dies without making a will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’. If this happens, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased’s affairs and who should inherit their estate (property, personal possessions and money).
If there is no will, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’. If the grant is given, they are known as ‘administrators’ of the estate. The grant of letters of administration is a legal document which confirms the administrator’s authority to deal with the assets of the deceased, and collect and share out the deceased person’s assets as set out under the intestacy rules.
When a grant is needed
A grant is almost always needed when the person who dies leaves one or more of the following:
- property or land held in their sole name or held as ‘tenants in common’
- stocks or shares
- certain insurance policies
- Large amounts of cash in banks/building societies
In the majority of cases the bank or financial institution will need to see the grant of probate or letter of administration before transferring control of the assets. However if the estate is small, some organisations, such as insurance companies and building societies, may release money to you at their discretion.
A grant of representation may not be needed where:
- the person who died left less than 5,000
- they owned everything jointly with someone else and everything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner (as opposed to a tenancy in common)
Money in joint accounts
The deceased person may have held money with another person in a joint bank or building society account. Normally this means that the surviving joint owner automatically owns the money. The money does not form part of the deceased person’s estate for the purpose of administration and therefore does not need to be dealt with by the executor or administrator. However, a deceased’s person’s share in joint property is treated as part of their estate for inheritance tax purposes, both on death and on gifts made during their lifetime
Probate and Inheritance Tax
The executor or personal representative will not be granted probate until some or all of any Inheritance Tax that is due on the estate has been paid.
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Easylawyers can avoid the difficulty involved if obtaining a grant of