A grant of representation is a document that allows you to deal with someone's estate. To get one, you need to collect up information about their estate, fill out a form and submit an application to the probate registry.
What is a grant of representation?
A grant of representation is a legal document issued by the probate registry to give you the authority to deal with someone’s estate. Once the document has been issued, the person named on the grant of representation is able to administer the estate – this includes selling property, closing bank accounts and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
What's the difference between a grant of probate and grant of representation?
A grant of representation is a collective term for two different types of legal document:
A grant of probate
A grant of letters of administration
If the person whose estate you’re dealing with made a will, you’ll need to apply for a grant of probate. If they didn’t make a will, you’ll need to apply for a grant of letters of administration. Together, these are known as grants of representation.
Do I need a grant of representation?
A grant of representation is required after around half of deaths in the UK. If the estate is worth more than £10,000 and is made up of mostly solely-owned assets, then a grant of representation is probably needed.
A grant of representation usually isn’t needed if the total value of the estate is under £10,000, or if the estate is only made up of the following type of assets:
Cash and personal possessions like cars and jewellery
Property that is jointly owned
Bank accounts that are jointly owned
Debts with a higher value than the assets
Life insurance policies and pension benefits
Let us take care of probate, so you can focus on what matters
Whether you need a grant of probate, full estate administration, or you're not sure and need someone to talk to, our expert team is here to help you understand what you might need, and how much it might cost.
Who is responsible for applying for a grant of representation?
The person responsible for applying for a grant of representation depends on whether there is a will or not.
If there is a will, one of the executors named in the will usually applies for a grant of probate. If there isn’t a will, the deceased’s next of kin is responsible for applying for a grant of letters of administration.
In this scenario, next of kin is defined by the person who stands to inherit the most under the rules of intestacy. These are a set of laws that define who should inherit someone’s estate when there is no will – and they’re based on your relationship with the person who died.
Using the prioritised list below, you can work out if you’re responsible for applying for a grant of letters of administration:
Spouse or civil partner
Children (or grandchildren if children have died)
Siblings (or nieces and nephews over 18 if siblings have died)
Half-siblings (or nieces and nephews over 18 if half-siblings have died)
Aunts or uncles
Children of aunts and uncles (cousins)
So, for example, if the person who died has no living spouse or civil partner and no children or grandchildren, it’s their parents’ responsibility to apply for a grant of letters of administration.
If the person (or people) entitled to inherit most of the estate are under 18, there are specific rules about who can apply on their behalf. Our specialists will be more than happy to help with this, so please feel free to give us a call on 020 3695 2090.
How do I get a grant of representation?
To get a grant of representation, you first need to submit an application to the probate registry. This should include all the key information about your loved one’s estate, including details of any property, bank accounts, savings accounts, pensions, life insurance policies, debts, and gifts made in the last seven years.
If you’re confident handling legal paperwork and tax forms, you may be able to do this yourself. But if you’re worried about making mistakes or simply want to get things moving quickly, you’re probably better off using a professional probate service.
Get a clear, fixed quote for probate
Our trusted team is here to take responsibility of the legal work, and get you back to focusing on what matters.
How long does it take to get a grant of representation?
It usually takes around 30 days to get a grant of representation if the estate is fairly simple. For more complex cases, it can take a little bit longer.
After your application has been approved by the probate registry and sent out in the post, you’ll be free to close accounts, sell property, collect up funds, pay off debts and distribute assets to beneficiaries.
This is known as ‘estate admin’ and can take anywhere between 3-12 months depending on the complexity of the estate.
If you don’t have time to administer the estate yourself, you may be better off choosing a Complete Probate (estate administration) service. This would cover the whole probate process, from calculating the value of the estate, to applying for a grant of representation, to distributing assets to beneficiaries.
How much does a grant of representation cost?
If you apply for a grant of representation yourself, you’ll need to pay a probate registry fee of £215. This is the same whether you need a grant of probate or grant of letters of administration.
If you apply for a grant of representation using a professional probate service, this fee is reduced to £155. However, additional costs will apply for preparing and submitting your application.
At Farewill, our total cost for simple estates is £750 – or £1,200 for complex cases. Compared to the average cost of dealing with probate in the UK, we’re around 70% cheaper, and you also get the peace of mind of knowing that everything will be dealt with correctly.
How to find a probate solicitor in the UK