What is a Grant

Manchester Grant Solicitors

What is a Grant?

If your estate is more than £15,000 a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration from the Probate Court is normally needed in order to retrieve the assets due to the estate. The Grant gives authority to the “Personal Representatives” (i.e. Executor or Administrators) to administer the estate of the deceased.

There are three types of Grant: –

  • Grant of Probate – is required if you are named as an Executor in the deceased’s Will.
  • Grant of Letters of Administration – is required if the person died without making a Will. This process is a little more complicated as The Administration of Estates Act 1925 sets out who can act as the Administrator.
  • Grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed – is required when the deceased made a Will but there is no Executor named or survived the deceased or are willing or able to act in the administration of the estate.

What is needed to obtain a grant?

There is an obligation on the Personal Representatives of the Estate to make the fullest enquiries to find the extent of the assets and liabilities in the estate as at the date of death. This can be a lengthy process as many organisations may be involved, for example, banks, building societies, insurance companies, stockbrokers, estate agents and HM Revenue & Customs.

It is also a requirement to complete HM Revenue & Customs account setting out all the assets and liabilities of the estate.

In cases where there is no Inheritance Tax liability a summary document is completed and the Revenue can require the Personal Representative to provide full details within 35 days of submission of the account.

How is a grant obtained?

The Personal Representatives must swear an Oath for the Probate Court stating the value of the gross and net estate of the deceased and to swear that they will administer the estate according to law or under the terms of the Will.

The Oath and the HM Revenue & Customs account must be lodged at the Probate Court and once they accept the papers they will issue the Grant. We normally expect the Grant to be issued within 3 – 4 weeks of the Probate Court receiving the documentation.

After the grant has been issued

The Grant gives the Personal Representatives the authority to realise the assets, which is forwarded to all the relevant institutions to receive payment and appropriate closure forms. In most cases, closure forms are to be completed and signed by the Personal Representatives prior to the release of funds.

As soon as funds have been received all liabilities of the estate should be discharged. Please note that the Funeral account and Inheritance Tax payment are the only liabilities of the estate that may be discharged prior to obtaining a Grant. An application has to be made to the deceased’s bank account for them to release the necessary funds.

The final winding up

Once all the assets have been collected and all the liabilities have been discharged the balance of the estate will then be ascertained and can be distributed or held in trust for the beneficiaries under the terms of the Will or the rules of Intestacy. An Estate Account should be prepared setting out full details of the administration including interest and any interim distributions made to the beneficiaries before making final distributions and finalising the estate.

How long will this take?

The circumstances of each person are so unique, so it is extremely difficult to predict how long it will take to finalise an estate. It is not unusual for it to take up to a year, perhaps longer if there are complications. At Latimer Lee Solicitors Limited we will keep in touch with you from time to time in order to provide you with the up to date position of the estate.

The estate cannot be dealt with until all claims to it have been received. Individuals have six months from the date of the Grant to make claims against the estate.

Other issues that may affect the time taken are:

  • The need to go through and sort out numerous old papers
  • Interpreting the contents of the Will or what the rules of intestacy say
  • Obtaining details of all assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Missing passbooks, policies or Title Deeds
  • Searching for details of lifetime gifts
  • Dealing with any claims against the estate
  • Dealing with missing beneficiaries
  • Liasing with the HM Revenue & Customs in relation to income tax and inheritance tax
  • Ensuring all matters have been finalised with benefits agencies and pensions
  • There may also be scope for tax planning and consideration of a Deed of Variation

It is not uncommon for family members, beneficiaries or personal representatives to delay matters due to disagreements and it is essential that all disagreements are resolved before the estate can be distributed.