House Clearance Help & Advice: UK Probate: When do I need a grant of representation?
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A grant of representation is the legal document that gives you official authority to handle and distribute the estate of the deceased. However, it is sometimes possible to do this without needing a grant and so many people need to seek advice on when one is needed.
It is easy to make the mistake, after having read the will of the deceased, of assuming that you do not need a grant of representation since you are either a named executor or the next of kin. However, organisations and companies who hold money in the name of the deceased often require legal proof of entitlement before paying moneys to an inheritor. This is the main purpose of a grant of representation: it give you the responsibility for distributing the estate as well as the authority to collect money in the name of the deceased.
There are, however, a few occassions when a grant of representation is not needed. Occasionally,organisations will agree to release the finances of the deceased to you without seeing a grant. However, there may be extra conditions and it will be your responsibility to decide whether obtaining a grant or obeying their conditions is easier or cheaper.
In easier circumstances, such as small amounts of money with no complications being held in insurance companies and building societies, money may be easy to obtain without a grant. However, for large amounts of money a grant of representation is normally considered necessary.
Another example of when a grant is not normally needed is if, for instance, a house is held in joint names and it is clear that the house is automatically the property of the surviving owner. Although on the other hand, if you are in any doubt then it is always wise to seek a solicitors advice.
A grant WILL be necessary if you attempt to transfer or sell a property that is only held in the name of the deceased. It’s best to always wait until a grant has been obtained before advertising the sale of any realestate since the sale cannot be legally completed until a grant has been obtained.
In general, it’s always better safe than sorry and to seek professional legal advice over whether or not a grant of representation should be obtained. For more information, see my other article to learn who is entitled to a grant of representation and how exactly to apply.