What is a Grant of Probate?
A ‘Grant of Probate’ is a standard document that a court issues to the executors named in the will. It confirms the executor’s authority to deal with the late person’s estate.
The executors will need the Grant when dealing with estate assets held by third parties, for example, when arranging to sell the deceased’s home.
What is the difference between probate and letters of administration?
Although ‘probate’ is used to describe the usual process of dealing with a deceased’s estate, the actual process depends on whether or not the deceased left a will and so could be one of three situations:
a) If the deceased did write a will then the named executors can apply for a Grant of Probate.
b) If the deceased did not make a will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’. When this happens the personal representatives will need to apply for what is known as ‘Letters of Administration.’ This is a slightly different process as ‘administrators’ will be appointed instead of ‘executors’. As a last resort the law decides how the estate is dissolved, and who will be appointed to oversee this process and handle the deceased’s affairs. Unfortunately this can cause disputes and disagreements between the beneficiaries, at what is already likely to be a sensitive time with people’s emotions, and can potentially lead to contentious probate, and delay the Grant of Probate
c) If the deceased’s will does not cover all of their assets and/or they did not appoint executors, they are said to have died ‘partially intestate’. When this has happened the intestacy rules will govern part of the estate. If no executors were appointed in the will, or they are not able to perform their duties, then the administrators will apply for what’s known as ‘letters of administration with will annexed’.