When someone close to you passes away, the shear number of forms,
arrangements and notifications that need to be made and dealt with
can seem overwhelming.
Many people will never have dealt with probate before, and even
knowing where to start can be difficult. So here are some key points
to help you find your way through this complex world and come out
What is a grant of probate?
When someone dies, their debts will need to be paid and their assets
distributed to their beneficiaries. A grant of probate validates
the will of the deceased person and allows the transfer of their
estate to begin.
Without a grant of probate, this process cannot begin and the estate
and beneficiaries will be left in limbo.
Getting a grant of representation
If the deceased person has left a will, they will normally have
named the person or persons that they wish to administer to their
If no will has been left by the deceased person, the next of kin
or another interested party will need to apply for permission to
begin administering the estate.
The executor will then normally have to apply for a grant of representation,
giving them the right to act on behalf of the deceased.
However if the estate is worth less than £5,000 or the deceased
owned everything jointly with another person, this may not be required.
Distributing the estate
Once you’ve obtained the grant of representation, the next
step is to gather together all of the deceased’s assets and
transfer them to the beneficiaries.
If the person has left a will, try to follow their wishes as closely
as possible, distributing their assets as they would have wanted.
If they haven’t left a will, there are guidelines, known as
the rules of intestacy that need to be followed to ascertain who
is entitled to what.
This process can vary enormously in complexity depending on circumstance
and can take anything from a few weeks to a few years to complete,
so try to be patient and stay organised throughout.
If you need help or advice in dealing with an issue of probate,
there are plenty of organisations out there that can help, so don’t
be afraid to ask if it’s all getting a bit much.
If you want to get your own affairs in order to simplify the process
for your loved ones, Co-op
Probate Forms are available from any branch or go online for