Grants are court orders and are used to administer the estate of someone who has died. The purpose of the grant is to give authority to the personal representative (the person who will administer the estate) and to prove the deceased’s will, or establish that they died intestate.
Three types of grant are regularly used:-
A grant of probate (where the deceased died with a will);
A grant of letters of administration with will annexed (where there is a will, but there is no effective appointment of executor);
A grant of letters of administration (where the deceased died without a will).
The person entitled to take out the grant differs depending on the type of grant being applied for:
Where the deceased left a will appointing executors
The appointed executors (if willing to act) will be the personal representatives of the estate. An executor may not wish to act in this role and may reserve his right, or renounce probate. If a minor has been appointed as an executor, he cannot obtain a grant until he attains 18 years, or his parents may apply for the grant for the minor’s use and benefit. If he has been appointed jointly with others, the others can apply with power reserved to the minor.
Where there is a will but no effective appointment of executor
This may apply where there is a will but all of the named executors have died, an executor has not been appointed or the executors have renounced probate.
In this situation, the persons who can apply are governed by Rule 20 Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (‘NCPR’), in the order of priority set out in that section. Typically, this will be the residuary beneficiaries of the estate.
Where there is no will
This is the grant that is obtained where there is a total intestacy. Rule 22 NCPR governs the order of priority of persons who can make the application, which is the same as persons entitled beneficially to the estate. Typically, this will be the parents or children of the deceased. Persons in the same class will have an equal right, but there is a need to ‘clear off’ anyone with a prior right. Within the class, it is ‘first come, first served’.
There are some circumstances where a Grant is not required to close the deceased’s account. This usually applies to assets comprising government stock where the amount does not exceed £5,000 and to bank accounts holding a small amount of cash. It also applies to property held as joint tenants, which passes automatically to the survivor on the death of one of the tenants.
The personal representatives must complete their application for a grant with the appropriate form of Oath. This is a sworn affidavit, which will set out the details of the estate and the basis for the applicant’s claim to the grant. The correct form of Oath must be selected, and it must be completed accurately in order to avoid delays with the Probate Registry.
If you need any assistance with obtaining Probate or drawing up an Oath, please do not hesitate to contact our Private Client department on 0207 703 5034 or at email@example.com.
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