What is Probate?

In short, Probate is a High Court legal process for settling the estate of a deceased person and distributing the deceased's entire assets under their Will or, if there is no Will, in accordance with the rules of intestacy. All estates with a value of £5,000 or more are subject to this process.

The deceased's Will appoints one or more Executors (who usually also act as Trustees) who are responsible for listing and valuing the estate assets, applying to the Court for a Grant of Representation, gathering the assets in and then distributing them to beneficiaries, in accordance with the Will.

If there is no Will, one or more Administrators (often relatives of the deceased) are appointed - instead of Executors - and they will distribute the estate to the deceased's bloodline relatives, in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

The Executors or Administrators cannot deal with the estate assets until the Court has issued the Grant of Representation - the Court's formal permission - which is a Grant of Probate where a Will exists or a Grant of Letters of Administration where there is no Will.

  • Institute of Professional Willswriters
  • The Office of Fair Trading
OFT approved code of practice
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