What is a Grant of representation and do I need one?
To put it simply, a Grant of Representation is a legal document/order issued by the Probate Court, which proves an executor, or administrator has the legal authority to deal with the deceased's estate.
Is there more than one type of Grant?
Yes, there are several which suit different circumstances. However, the most common are;
- Grant of Probate which is issued in the name of the executors of a Will, and;
- Grant of Letters of Administration, which is issued when a person has died intestate (without leaving a Will). It is issued in the names of those entitled under the rules of intestacy.
Do I need a Grant?
If the deceased owned a property, a Grant is always required. Furthermore, if the deceased had a large estate it is generally accepted that Grant will be needed to administer it.
In some circumstances, there may not be a need for a Grant. For example, if the estate is relatively small and the deceased did not own a property, a Grant might not be required. However, Legislation states that banks, unpaid wages and civil service pensions may be paid without a Grant, provided the amount payable is below £5,000. However, this is subject to the individual institutions' policies.
It is advisable to apply for a Grant to set the clock ticking for which claims can be brought against an estate. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, once a Grant is issued a claimant has 6 months to enter a claim.
We recommend speaking to one of our private client solicitors before administering an estate to ensure you are making the correct decisions and to avoid any delays.
What does intestacy mean?
Intestacy is a legal term that means someone has died without leaving a valid Will. Their estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. If the deceased dies leaving a surviving spouse and no children the spouse will inherit the entire residuary estate. If they die leaving a spouse and children, the spouse is entitled to the personal chattels and a statutory legacy of £270,000 including interest from the date of death. If there is any residuary estate left, the spouse will receive 50% and the other 50% will be divided equally between the children.
If a person dies without a spouse, or children it will then pass to their parents in equal shares. If the deceased's parents predecease them, the estate will pass to their siblings of the whole blood in the first instance, then of half-blood. If there are no surviving siblings, the estate will pass to grandparents, aunts and uncles or their issue. If the estate cannot pass to any family member, it will then go to the Crown Duchy of Lancaster of Duke of Cornwall. The Treasury Solicitor will deal with the estate if this occurs.
The above illustrates why it is so important to make a Will, as the estate may not pass automatically to the intended beneficiaries.
If you have recently lost a loved one, or are unsure of how to administer an estate. Please contact your local Chattertons branch and we will be more than happy to assist you during this difficult time.