So who can apply? The application is made by the ‘Personal Representative(s)’ of the Estate. However, who this is depends on whether the deceased left a Will or not.
Where there is a Will (Grant of Probate application), it is fairly straightforward as the Personal Representative (known as ‘Executor’ where there is a Will) makes the application. It is common for Wills to also list ‘contingent Executors’. These are people who will act as Executor only in defined scenarios, such as if the principle Executor(s) has died. All the Executors need to sign the Probate application forms and swear the Oath.
If there is no Will the Personal Representative is known as the ‘Administrator’. This person is defined by the ‘Rules of Intestacy’. There are strict guidelines in the Rules of Intestacy setting out who is the ‘Administrator’. We won’t cover the full list here, but to give you an idea it is firstly the spouse or Civil Partner of the deceased, but if there is no spouse or Civil Partner then it falls to the children of the deceased, or failing that their children if the deceased’s children are not still alive. If that fails, then it falls to the parents, and so on….
Now interestingly, where there is no Will, if there are multiple people who can make the application, such as children, then there is a ‘first past the post’ rule, whereby the first to make the Letters of Administration application thereby becomes the legal administrator of the Estate.
On a practical note, we often find that the legal ‘Personal Representative’ does not want to do the leg-work in making the Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration application. There can be many reasons for this. Where this is the case we take a prudent approach, and if they are happy to authorise someone close to them to speak with us, we can liaise with someone who is not the Personal Representative to collect the Estate details, so long as the legal Personal Representative signs the application and swears the Oath. In some circumstances the legal Personal Representative may actually ‘renounce’ their role as Personal Representative in favour of someone else, or at very least take ‘Power Reserved’ so they can be reinstated at a later date should they wish.
So there we have it, the application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is made by the ‘Personal Representative(s)’ of the Estate. Who this is depends on whether the deceased left a Will or not.
For more information why not visit our website https://www.affinionprobate.co.uk/ or call us on 0330 555 8000.