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What is a Grant of Probate?

Published on 9 April 2024 | Modified on 9 April 2024

Written by Stacey Bennett

Wills & Probate

Inpection poole alcock

A Grant of Probate (‘Grant’) is a legal document which is often required by the executors of an estate after someone dies. The Grant provides the executors named in a Will with the authority to deal with certain assets. For example, a bank may require sight of the Grant before they transfer any money out of an account. Alternatively, a solicitor may require a copy of the Grant before completion can take place on the sale of a property.

Is a Grant always required to administer an estate?

A Grant of Probate is not always required to enable an executor to administer an estate. For example, if all the deceased’s assets were held jointly, they will most likely automatically pass by survivorship to the other owner. Citizens Advice provides some useful situations in which a Grant of Probate is not required:

1. The estate is just made up of cash and personal possessions such as furniture, vehicles.

2. All property in the estate is owned as beneficial ‘joint tenants’ – this property will automatically become wholly owned by the other joint owner.

These circumstances are all case specific, and it is worth executors taking expert advice to ascertain whether a Grant of Probate will be required for them to correctly administer an estate.

What if there is no will?

Regardless of whether there is a will or not, probate may still be required. When someone dies without a will, the process of applying for probate is referred to slightly differently. The person responsible for administering the estate is known as an ‘administrator’ and will therefore need to apply for ‘Letters of Administration’.

An executor and administrator are (in most ways) the same thing, just with different names. The same applies for a Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration – they have the same effect, just with different names. An alternative name for both a Grant of Probate and Letter of Administration is a ‘Grant of Representation’.

How long does it take to get a Grant of Probate?

According to the GOV.UK website, probate applications are taking up to 16 weeks from the point that the application is submitted to the point that you have received it. As experienced by members of our Private Client team, however, this timescale can vary massively. If you submit your application by post, this will typically take much longer than submitting your application online. Further, if there is a problem with your application (documents missing for example), then the application will be stopped, and you will have to submit evidence to the Probate Registry so that they can resume progress. There is unfortunately no definitive timescale for receiving the Grant from the point that it is submitted.

It is advisable that you get in touch with an expert Probate Practitioner to ensure that your application for a Grant of Representation is submitted correctly to avoid any delays. Our Private Client team are happy to assist should you find yourself in this situation. Please get in touch with us at:

Tel: 01270 613939


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