What is a Grant Of Representation?
A ‘Grant of Representation’ is also known as a Grant of Probate and it is the official legal document from the Court that allows a person, usually the Executor named in the Will of the deceased, to deal with the assets of a deceased Estate.
The usual process after receiving a Grant of Representation, is for the Executor to have all the assets in the Estate transferred to them as Trustee and then to pay the liabilities of the Estate and after that, to distribute the assets of the Estate in accordance with the wishes set out in the Will of the deceased.
In some circumstances, it may not be necessary to apply for a Grant of Representation. This can be when the Estate is a small Estate and the holders of the assets of the deceased are happy to transfer them to the Executor without seeing a Grant of Representation.
A Grant of Representation may also not be required if the assets of the deceased were held as joint tenants. Where assets are held as joint tenants, such as the family home, the asset will automatically transfer to the surviving owner. It is important to ensure that the assets are held as joint tenants and not tenants in common, as assets held as tenants in common, do not transfer to the surviving owner and will need to be dealt with in the administration of the Estate.
Types of Grants of Representation
It is also important to be aware that there are several types of Grants of Representation. The most common is an application for a Grant of Representation by the Executor, or Executors, named in the Will with the valid Will attached to the application. If the Will does not nominate an Executor, then it usually falls on one of the beneficiaries named in the Will to apply for Letters of Administration with the Will attached.
The best step to take if you are involved in the administration of a deceased Estate, either as an Executor, beneficiary or potential beneficiary, is to seek expert legal advice from a Wills and Estates lawyer who understands the process and the steps that need to be taken to distribute the assets of the Estate.
Graeme Heckenberg is an expert Wills & Estates lawyer and guides and advises clients on a wide range of Wills and Estate matters including Grants of Representation (also known as Grants of Probate) and any difficulties experienced with Probate.