Applying for a grant of probate or a grant of letters of representation
Court proceedings cannot be issued in the Estate of a Deceased person without authority. This is obtained by applying for a Grant from the probate Registry. Where there is a Will, this is for a Grant of Probate. If there was no written Will, the then Grant is called a Grant of Letters of Representation.
A Grant is needed in any event for an executor, or administrator, to deal with monies in a deceased’s estate if cash in the estate is going to exceed between £5000 and £25,000. In fact, some banks will release cash sums if there is just a single cash account of up to £50,000. However, if there are other assets, such as shares and investments, then it is more likely that a Grant will be required. In such circumstances, the appointment as executor in a Will is not sufficient for some institutions that manage financial investments etc to agree to release investments.
If a settlement is agreed in a personal injury claim, there can then be a long delay in payment of actual compensation monies if a Grant is needed and has not been obtained because there can be backlogs at the Probate Registry in issuing such documentation.
Probate solicitors can be instructed to apply for a Grant, but they charge in the region of at least £500 plus VAT for their time if the Deceased’s estate is uncomplicated. This expense might be recovered within the costs for a successful compensation claim. However, we do recommend that clients try to obtain a Grant themselves, provided the Deceased’s estate is a fairly simple estate to manage. If the deceased’s financial affairs were complex, then a client might need assistance from a probate solicitor after all.
The Probate Registry offer a telephone helpline to assist with the application form, and with the application process generally. Clients have told us previously that the helpline advisers are very good.
Government helpline number 0300 123 1072, opening times 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and bank holidays.
It is generally a PA1P form that you will need to complete to apply by post. You can also apply online. The best thing to do is to speak to the helpline staff, chat the matter through, and make a note of the forms that you need to complete. The forms can be found online and printed at home. However, we can post these forms out to our clients if they experience any difficulties.
It costs £215 to apply for probate if the value of the estate is more than £5,000. However, there are no application fees if the value is less.