If someone you know has died, and you have been asked to deal with their affairs, you need to be able to prove that you have the legal right to do this. Otherwise, you will run into difficulties when trying to access their bank accounts or sell their property and belongings. The only way to prove your legal right to act is to apply for a grant of representation namely a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration, as Pam Hughes, wills and probate specialist with Mooney Everett Solicitors in Ormskirk, Lancashire explains.
What is a Grant of Representation?
Obtaining a grant of representation is the process you need to go through to be recognised as having the legal right to deal with someone’s affairs after they have died. A grant of probate is applied for when there is a Will and a grant of letters of administration is applied for when there is no Will. There are some variants in the terminology, but they can all be described as a grant of representation.
A grant of representation confirms that the person/s named has the authority to administer the estate of the deceased person and they must distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will or the Intestacy Rules. The grant confirms your authority to collect in and distribute the money, property and possessions of the deceased person, collectively known as their ‘estate’.
Do I need a grant of representation?
You may not need a grant of representation if:
- everything the deceased person owned was in joint names, for example with their spouse, and therefore passed to the surviving joint owner;
- the value of the estate is low – it would be advisable to seek guidance
Can anyone apply?
Anyone named in the deceased’s will as an executor can apply for a grant of probate.
Where no will exists, there is an order of priority as to who has the right to apply for a grant of letters of administration.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.