A grant of representation is an order of the High Court which serves two main purposes:-

  1. It establishes the authority of the personal representative to enable them to deal with the deceased’s estate; and
  2. It establishes either the validity of the will or that the deceased died intestate.

There are three main types of grant of representation:-

  • A grant of probate;
  • A grant of letters of administration; and
  • A grant of letters of administration with will annexed.

The Family Division exercises the exclusive jurisdiction of the High Court to make grants of representation in England and Wales.

Grant of Probate

A grant of probate confirms the authority of executors appointed by a valid will.

An executor’s authority derives from the will rather than the grant of probate and consequently arises from the time of the deceased’s death. Certain steps can be taken without a grant of probate, particularly in respect of smaller property. However, in practice, most financial institutions will require sight of the grant of probate to prove title when collecting in or dealing with the assets of the estate.

Grant of letters of administration with will annexed

A grant of letters of administration with will annexed is obtained when the deceased has left a valid will and a grant of probate cannot be made to an executor, e.g. where the will makes no appointment of an executor or where the executor has predeceased the deceased or renounced probate.

An ‘administrator’ is the person who deals with the estate if there’s no will capable of being admitted to probate and there is an order of entitlement to those persons who are entitled to take out a grant of administration with will annexed.

Until the grant is issued, the administrator has no authority to deal with the deceased’s assets.

Grant of letters of administration

A grant of letters of administration is made when there is no will capable of being admitted to probate. This form of grant is often appropriate in cases where there is a total intestacy.

As for letters of administration with will annexed, there is an order of entitlement to those persons who are entitled to deal with the estate and until the grant is issued, the administrator has no authority to deal with the deceased’s assets.