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If you have just had a death in the family, you may be wondering what to do and how to deal with their personal affairs. Perhaps the deceased left a Will. What now?

You may be able to apply for a Grant of Representation. This gives you the legal right to deal with a person’s property, money and possessions (their “estate”).

A Grant of Representation is a Court Order made in the Probate Registry which authorises the executor/personal representatives to administer and distribute the assets of an estate.

In most cases the process is as follows

  • Check if there is a Will – this normally appoints someone to deal with the estate. If there isn’t a will, the next of kin can apply.

  • Apply to get a Grant of Representation – this gives you the legal right to access the person’s bank accounts, investments, pension providers and deal with property.

  • Pay inheritance tax – this is only paid if the estate is worth over £325,000 and is part of applying for a Grant of Representation – once you have paid any tax due, you can collect the assets.

  • Collect the assets – e.g. money from bank accounts, investments or the sale of the person’s property.

  • Pay any debts – e.g. unpaid utility bills.

  • Distribute the estate – give any property, money or possessions to the people entitled to it (beneficiaries).

Only very small estates (worth less than about £10,000) can usually be administered without a Grant of Representation.