The Inheritance Guide

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What is a Grant of Representation and how do you apply for it?

The Inheritance Guide’s website will walk you through all the steps you need to complete to obtain a Grant of Representation but for those of you interested the following explains the process in a little more detail.

A Grant of Representation gives you the legal right to administer a deceased person’s Estate. Generally speaking there are three main types, a Grant of Probate, a Grant of Letters of Administration and a Grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed.

The first thing to do is check if there is a valid Will and if it names Executors. The Executors are responsible for the correct administration of an estate. The Executors apply for a Grant of Probate. If there is not a Will or validly appointed Executors then the law sets out who may apply to the Court as Administrators to obtain the legal authority to administer the Estate. The Administrators apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will or a Grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed if there is a Will but Executors have not been named or are not able to act.

In order to apply for a Grant of Representation you must fill in the Probate Application Form PA1. This contains details about the deceased, their relatives, the Will (if any) and the value of the Estate. You will also need to complete an Inheritance Tax form even if there is no Inheritance Tax to pay. There are two types of Inheritance Tax forms, an IHT205, which is the short form, and an IHT400, which is a full Inheritance Tax account. HM Revenue and Customs set out which form is applicable on their website (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/inheritancetax/iht-probate). If you complete an IHT205, it is sent directly to the Probate Registry with your application.

If you need to complete the IHT400 this is sent to HM Revenue and Customs before you apply to the Probate Court for a Grant of Representation. If Inheritance Tax is payable you will usually have to pay some of the tax before you can obtain a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration. HM Revenue and Customs issue a receipt for the Inheritance Tax paid which then allows you to apply for the Grant of Representation.

The application for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is then sent to your local Probate Registry which you can find on the government website https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/search/. You need to send the following documents as part of the application:

  • the Probate Application Form PA1
  • the Inheritance Tax form IHT205 or Inheritance Tax receipt form stamped by HM Revenue and Customs
  • a death certificate
  • the original Will and any Codicils and three copies of each
  • a cheque representing the Court fee of £215 made payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service unless the estate is under £5000 in which case there is no fee. If you want more than one copy of the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration then you can pay an extra fee of 50 pence per copy.

Once the Probate Registry have processed the application they will send you an oath to swear in front of a commissioner for oaths or at a local probate office. The oath recites details about the deceased and the Estate and by swearing the oath you are promising that the information contained in it is true. Solicitors charge a standard fee of £5 for the oath and £2 per exhibit (such as the Will and any Codicils). Once the oath is returned to the Probate Registry it normally takes up to 10 working days for the Probate Registry to send out the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration.

Once you have received the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration you may then give instructions to financial institutions to close accounts, sell or transfer investments and transfer funds. It also gives you the power to complete on the sale of any property in the Estate.

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