Obtaining the grant of representation

Produced by Tolley

The following Trusts and Inheritance Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Obtaining the grant of representation
  • Requirement for a grant of representation
  • The application procedure
  • Identifying the assets and liabilities
  • Value the assets and liabilities to ascertain the IHT position
  • Completing the IHT forms
  • Apply for the grant of representation
  • The postal application procedure

Obtaining the grant of representation

The procedure by which access is gained to the deceased’s assets is often referred to as ‘obtaining probate’. An executor’s authority to deal with the deceased’s affairs (which derives from the Will) is evidenced by the grant of probate. Where there is no Will, the administrator derives their authority from the grant of letters of administration. The umbrella term for these grants is a ‘grant of representation’.

Requirement for a grant of representation

A grant of representation authorises the personal representatives (PRs) to administer the estate of the deceased person named on the grant. It provides evidence to third parties, such as banks and other asset holders, that those named on the grant now represent the deceased. In the majority of estates it will be necessary to apply for a grant in order to gain access to the deceased’s assets.

However, where an estate is particularly small financial institutions may transfer assets to the personal representatives without sight of a grant. Under the Administration of Estates (Small Payments) Act 1965 (as amended) the maximum amount transferable without a grant should not exceed £5,000. It is worth noting however that no asset holder is bound to pay any amount without seeing the grant. On the other hand, banks are known to release funds in excess of £5,000, although an indemnity will often be required.

A grant of representation will not be needed for assets which the deceased held jointly with another as joint tenants. Such property will pass to the surviving joint owner by survivorship rather than being part of the deceased’s estate. Other assets may also not vest in the personal representatives, eg life policies that are subject to a trust set up by the deceased during his lifetime and lump sum death benefits paid at the discretion of the trustees of the deceased’s pension scheme.

There are many types of grant of representation but the most common are:

  1. grant of probate ― where the

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