Probate or letters of administration

These are terms used in wills and probate matters.

If you are an executor named in someone's will you may have to make an application to the Probate Office (part of the Family Division of the High Court) for probate.  Probate is the court's authority, given to the executor, to allow him to carry out the wishes of the dead person, according to the instructions in his will, and share out the estate accordingly.  The document issued by the Probate Service, in these circumstances, is called a Grant of Representation and gives you the legal right to access things like the person’s bank account. You may not need to apply for probate if the estate consists of cash and personal possessions and there is no property, such as a house or flat, or shares or land to deal with. You may not need to apply for probate if the estate was held in joint names and is to pass to the surviving spouse/civil partner.

The term Letters of administration refers to the document which is issued to the administrators by the Probate Registry. The documents authorise them to deal with the dead person's estate, iIf there is no will or if a will has been made but no executor has been named or the executors are not willing or not able to apply for probate.

There are rules in place setting out who can apply and in what order they are entitled to apply. If no one applies then a creditor of the estate can make an application. They will then receive a letter of administration and this will give them the authority to administer the estate.

The authorisation will simply be referred to as Grant of letters of administration if there is no will or if the will is invalid, or Grant of letters of administration with will annexed if there is a will but no executor has been named or is not able to apply for the grant of probate.

 

Find out more about wills, probate and inheritance.

Dealing with probate in 2013 | Money | The Guardian

Probate: avoid a final rip-off when sorting out your loved one's estate

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