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Probate

What is probate?

When a person dies somebody has to deal with their estate (money property and possessions left) by collecting in all the money, paying any debts and distributing what is left to those people entitled to it. Probate is the court’s authority; given to a person or persons to administer a deceased person’s estate and the document issued by the Probate Service is called a Grant of Representation. This document is usually required by the asset holders as proof to show the correct person or persons have the Probate Service’s authority to administer a deceased person’s estate.

What is the Probate Service?

The Probate Service forms part of the Family Division of the High Court. It deals with ‘non-contentious’ probate business (where there is no dispute about the validity of a will or entitlement to take a grant), and issues grants of representation, either:

  • robate (when the deceased person left a valid will and an executor is acting)
  • Letters of administration with will (when a person has left a valid will but no executor is acting)
  • or
  • Letters of administration (usually when there is no valid will).
  • These grants appoint people known as personal representatives to administer the deceased person’s estate.

Grants of Representation

What is a grant of representation?

When a person dies somebody has to deal with their estate (money property and possessions left) by collecting in all the money, paying any debts and distributing what is left to those people entitled to it. Probate is the court’s authority, given to a person or persons to administer a deceased person’s estate and the document issued by the Probate Service is called a Grant of Representation. This document is usually required by the asset holders as proof to show the correct person or persons have the Probate Service’s authority to administer a deceased person’s estate.

Why is a grant of representation needed?

  • To protect the interests of the estate and beneficiaries. Before releasing money or other assets owned by the deceased, those holding the assets (such as banks) need to know that they are dealing with someone who has the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s affairs. The grant of representation provides that assurance.
  • To confirm that the will made by the person who has died is valid (however, though very few cases arise, the validity of a will remains open to challenge after probate has been granted).

Is a grant needed in all cases?

No.

  • It may not be necessary to obtain a grant where a home is held in joint names and is passing by survivorship to the other joint owner.
  • Where a joint bank or building society account is held, production of a death certificate may be sufficient for the monies to be transferred to the joint holder.
  • Certain institutions may release monies without a grant being produced if the amount held by the deceased was small. Apply to the institutions to see if they will release monies without a grant.

How is a grant of representation obtained?

  • By applying to a Probate registry Applications may be made personally, or through a solicitor (or, more rarely, a notary or barrister).
  • With a few exceptions, the basis of the application is an affidavit, (the executor’s or administrator’s oath), sworn by the person applying, stating how he or she is entitled to act. A person’s entitlement to take a grant depends on the circumstances of the individual case, and is laid down by law. If the facts contained in the affidavit meet the legal requirements, a grant of representation will be issued.
  • The requirements of the HM Customs & Revenues as to Inheritance Tax must be met.

The Winchester District Probate Registry is open to the public from Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.00pm and appointments for interview at Winchester are arranged between Monday and Friday between the hours of 10.00am and 3.30pm, depending on demand.

Winchester District Probate Registry

4th Floor
Cromwell House
Andover Road
Winchester Hampshire
England
SO23 7EW

Tel 01962 897029
Fax 01962 840796

If you have any queries relating to this information, or find that you have questions that have not been answered, we would urge you to seek the advice of your solicitor.

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Call us: 01264 355600
Fax: 01264 355804
Email: info@sjmaddocks.co.uk

HOW TO FIND US

S & J Maddocks
Independent Funeral Directors
& Memorial Consultants
Station Approach, Andover SP10 3HN
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