What is a 'Grant of Probate' and do I need one?
A Grant of Probate is a legal document that proves the Will of a deceased person. This means that the executors have the authority to deal with the assets and property of the deceased.
A Grant of Probate is needed if the assets are of a certain value. You will always need a Grant to sell a property or transfer the property to beneficiaries. If money held in a bank account is over a certain amount (say £5000) you will need a Grant. All banks and building societies have different rules on when they need a Grant of Probate and they will let you know what these are. If one is not needed then the institution in question may let you swear their own form (usually a statutory declaration). This form can be sworn at any local solicitors and a fee of £5 is payable.
A Grant will not be needed if the assets are in a joint account. All joint assets (including a property) transfer automatically to the surviving joint holder on death.
If there is no Will, then on the intestacy of the deceased (that is a person dying without a Will), Letters of Administration are obtained. The procedure is very similar to obtaining a Grant of Probate, but the executors are called administrators instead. Who will be the administrators depends on who usually is the closest living relative and who will inherit the estate on the intestacy. This may be the spouse or civil partner, next will be the children of the deceased and so on down the line of descendants. The rules of who inherits under intestacy and who can obtain the Letter of Administration are strict and therefore it is best to seek legal advice.
Nockolds can obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration for you on a fixed fee basis.