What is Probate?
Probate is the process of administering the estate of a person who has died. Those with responsibility for probate are called “executors” if they are appointed in a person’s will, or “administrators” if the deceased died intestate and they have been appointed by the courts. “Personal representatives” is the broader term that includes both of these categories.
When someone passes away, it is the personal representatives’ duty to obtain the legal right to deal with their estate and the property, money, and possessions that this includes. In England and Wales, the legal jurisdiction to do this is acquired by applying for a Grant of Representation, in which are included Grants of Probate, Letters of Administration, or Letters of Administration with a Will. Personal representatives can choose to apply for this Grant of Representation themselves. However, many individuals choose to employ the services of a professional, such as a solicitor, financial adviser, or a specialist probate company such as APS Legal & Associates.
There are a few situations in which a Grant of Representation is not needed. If the estate is passing in its entirety to a surviving spouse or civil partner because assets were held in joint names—such as a jointly owned property or a joint savings account—then a Grant is not required. Similarly, if the estate does not include land, property, or shares, or where it is worth less than £5,000 in England and Wales (£10,000 Northern Ireland or £36,000 in Scotland), then applying for a grant is not usually necessary. This is sometimes referred to as a “small estate”.
In the majority of cases, however, a Grant of Representation will be needed in order to administer the estate. Before this can be acquired, however, there are a number of things that a Personal Representative—or APS, if we are acting on behalf of your clients—will need to do.
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This message was added on Sunday 17th March 2019