When a person dies someone has to deal with their affairs. This person is known as
a ‘Personal Representative’ and can involve more than one individual.
Depending upon what assets you own it may be necessary for your Personal Representatives
to apply for a Grant of Representation. This may be a Grant of Probate (where you
have made a Will) or a Grant of Letters of Administration (where there is no Will).
These ‘Grants’ are official documents issued by a section of the court known as
The Probate Registry.
In certain circumstances a Grant may not be needed for example:
· If the person who has died has less than £5,000 in total; or
· If they owned everything jointly with someone else (please refer to our other
guidance concerning joint assets).
If you have made a Will
Your Will would name the persons you have chosen to deal with your affairs. These
people are known as ‘Executors’.
The Executors are the persons entitled to make the application for a Grant of Probate.
If you have not made a Will
If there is no Will then your estate will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules
(please refer to our guidance in the Wills section). The Administration of Estates
Act 1925 sets out who may apply for the Grant of Letters of Administration in order
of priority. There may be more than one person entitled to apply and in some cases
at least two people would apply if the law requires this (i.e. if the beneficiary
is a child).
Personal Representatives are responsible for making sure that the estate is administered
in accordance with the Will or, where there is no Will, they must follows the rules
of intestacy. They are required to deal not only with the assets of the estate but
also the liabilities which may include Inheritance Tax.
Katherine Melkerts would be pleased to provide further advice if required in connection
with the administration of an estate or provide you with a free Law Society Guide
relating to this subject upon request.