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Probate Meaning

A grant of representation can sometimes be known as a ‘grant of probate’, ‘letters of administration’ or ‘letters of administration with a will’.

The terms ‘Grant of Probate’ and ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’ mean a legal document issued by a section of Her Majesty’s Court Service to the Personal Representatives of a deceased’s estate.  The Grant gives the Personal Representatives the authority to deal with the deceased’s estate.  If the deceased left a Will the Personal Representatives are referred to as ‘Executors’ in the Will. If the deceased died without a Will the Personal Representatives will normally be one or more members of the family of the deceased who are entitled to inherit the estate under the intestacy rules.

The duties of Personal Representatives are to collect in the assets of the deceased and then pay off any debts, taxes, funeral expenses, any other liabilities and administrative expenses. If the deceased left a Will the Personal Representatives then distribute the estate according to the terms of the Will. If the deceased did not leave a Will the Personal Representatives will need to distribute the estate to those individuals entitled under the intestacy rules.

A Personal Representative will need to ensure that the estate is administered and distributed accurately to avoid liability from anyone who may have an interest in the estate. At Towns Needham Solicitors, we recognise that Personal Representatives may need assistance with their responsibility especially at a distressing time.  Towns Needham Solicitors can assist Personal Representatives with the administration of an Estate from obtaining probate valuations, determining the size of an estate, potential tax liabilities, obtaining a Grant from the Court and distributing the estate to beneficiaries. We can also undertake the transfer of any shares and handle the sale or transfer of any property or land owned by the deceased. We can offer a full service or a service limited to those particular areas which a Personal Representative may need assistance with.

Probate Steps

  1. Check if there’s a will - this normally states who sorts out the estate. If there’s no will the next of kin can apply.

  2. Apply to get a ‘grant of representation’ - this gives you the legal right to access things like the person’s bank account.

  3. Value the estate and report it to HMRC.

  4. Pay any Inheritance Tax that’s due.

  5. Collect the estate’s assets, for example money from the sale of the person’s property.

  6. Pay any debts, for example unpaid utilities bills.

  7. Distribute the estate - this means giving any property, money or possessions to the people entitled to it (‘beneficiaries’).


How long does it take to get the grant of probate?

On average, you can expect to receive a Grant of Probate 14 days after the Registry receives your application. As an Executor, you can then register your Grant of Probate with all of the financial institutions associated with the Estate in order to start dealing with the deceased's assets.

How long does it take for probate to be completed?

Probate normally takes between six to nine months to complete. However, complications such as if the Will is contested, or the deceased did not keep clear records of all their assets can result in the a more prolonged process.


Towns Needham

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