This is such a sensitive area of law, and it creates very strong reactions.
There are also a lot of Chinese whispers about it, so we hope that this page clears some of that up.
This is intended as a very basic guide, and there is an awful lot more to this subject, so please contact us for specific advice, if you need it.
What is Probate?
When a person dies, someone needs to settle their affairs. Normally this involves gathering in their assets (e.g. getting money out of bank accounts, selling shares and property etc), paying off any outstanding debts, and then distributing the estate. If they left a Will it should be distributed according to that Will and if not, there are rules that decide how their estate should be distributed.
Personal Representatives (sometimes called “PRs”) are responsible for dealing with the affairs of the deceased (PRs are also known as Executors if there was a Will or Administrators if there wasn’t a Will).
One of the first things that the PRs might need to do is to obtain a Grant of Representation which is an official certificate that says you are entitled to handle things on behalf of the person who died. For more detailed information about obtaining a Grant of Representation, read the information on what to do when someone dies’ or see or the Probate FAQ’s