When a person dies, whether they have a Will or not, there may be the requirement for a Grant of Representation.
A Grant of Representation is a Court Order which evidences the personal representative’s legal authority to deal with the deceased’s estate. The Grant of Representation is also evidence of the validity of a Will and any associated Codicil or, that the deceased died intestate.
Where the deceased left a valid Will appointing an executor, the executor’s authority to deal with the estate derives from the Will. A Grant of Probate simply confirms the executor’s authority to act and can be used as proof of his authority. In comparison, where the deceased died intestate, so without a Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration gives the administrator the authority to deal with the deceased’s estate. An administrator must not deal with any aspect of the deceased’s estate before the Grant is issued by the Court unless it is to protect the estate from any wrongdoing.
The Court will only issue a Grant of Representation to the correct personal representative. The authority under which a personal representative is applying for the Grant must therefore be declared to the Court in a Legal Statement. The Court may determine that the Grant should be limited in scope or duration and that there must be a further application for a subsequent or main Grant at a future date.
Every application for a Grant is supported by an Inheritance Tax Account. Dependent upon the size of the estate and the assets held, a full or summary inheritance tax account will be required. Any inheritance tax liability must be paid before the Court will issue the Grant.
The requirement for a Grant is set by the individual organisation. Some of the smaller financial institutions will release sums up to £5,000 without a Grant and some of the larger financial institutions will release funds up to £50,000 without a Grant. Where the deceased held shares, we would recommend that you take the appropriate legal and financial advice.
If an estate consists only of joint assets, a Grant may not be needed. This is because these assets will fall to the survivor outright under the rules of survivorship. The exception to this is where individuals own a property together. A property may be held as joint tenants or as tenants in common. When a property is held as joint tenants, the rules of survivorship apply. However, when a property is held as tenants in common, the owners own the equity in shares and their individual share and interest will pass in accordance with their Will, or in the absence of a Will, under the rules of intestacy. A Grant may then be required to deal with the deceased’s share and interest in the property when it is held as tenants in common.
The application for the correct Grant of Representation can be complex. If you would like assistance with making an application, please contact our experienced team who would be happy to assist you.