Probate is a term commonly used when talking about applying for the right to deal with the affairs of someone who has died. If the deceased has a Will, the Executor or Administrator will apply for a Grant of Probate. This is a court order which is a legal document confirming that the Executor or Administrator has the authority to deal with the deceased persons assets.

If someone dies without leaving a Will (Intestate) a close relative of the deceased can apply to the Probate Registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. If the Grant is given, they are known as Administrators. This confirms that the Administrator has the authority to deal with the deceased persons assets.

A Grant is always needed when the person who died left assets. The Executors or Administrators of a Will have to apply for Letters of Probate. The time scale for obtaining Letters of Probate can vary across the country but typically they can take 6-8 weeks to complete.

A Grant is almost always needed when the person who has died leaves one or more of the following;

  • £10,000 or more
  • Stocks and Shares
  • Certain Insurance Policies
  • Property or land held in their own names or as ‘tenants in common’

In most cases the Banks or relevant institutions will have to see the Grant before transferring the control of the assets to the Executor or Administrator.

You may not need a Grant if the deceased:

  • Left less than £10,000
  • Owned everything jointly with someone else and everything passes automatically to the surviving spouse or joint owner

Once a Grant is obtained then you will need to produce proof of identify and address to a Solicitor to swear and confirm that you are the Executor or Administrator. There will be a small charge for this. After completing this you will then be able to open an Executors Account at your Bank to enable you to deal with the deceased estate.