A way round the delay!

Due to a ‘perfect storm’ of staffing cuts, a change to their systems and reports of an increase in fees (which never materialised) the Probate Registry are currently dealing with a substantial backlog in applications. The additional time that it is taking for Grants of Representation to be issued has been frustrating those attempting to deal with the assets and liabilities of a deceased person’s estate and no more so than in respect of property.

It is a commonly held view that the executors of an estate cannot deal with the deceased’s property until a Grant of Probate has been issued. However, in actual fact the powers granted to an executor come into effect the moment the person who has made the Will has died. The Grant of Probate is important as it is the evidence that the Will under which the executor is appointed has been accepted by the Probate Registry as legally valid and confirms the executors’ authority to act.

In the case of intestacy, the situation is rather different. As there is no appointment of executors, no person has the authority to deal with the estate of the deceased until a Grant of Letters of Administration has been issued by the Probate Registry. The person granted the authority is called an administrator and not an executor.

Accordingly, executors can enter into contracts that are conditional on a Grant of Probate being issued and the more widespread use of such contracts can create a binding relationship that can suit both executors and buyers. This will require individual attention as each estate is different and if it is likely that it will be some time before Probate is granted it may not be a good idea to fix a price for a property too early especially in a rising market!


For detailed advice please contact Mandy Potter, Claire Thompson or Raymond Hayes who can deal with any queries or questions you may have.

About the Author

Mandy Potter is a full member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Mandy specialises in all aspects of private client work in particular preparation of Wills, tax planning, probate and estate administration. In addition she also advises clients on the preparation of general and lasting powers of attorney, the registration of enduring powers of attorney, deputyship applications and advising generally on Court of Protection matters

Mandy can be contacted on 01548 854929 or mp@bartons.co.uk.

Claire Thompson is an affiliate member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Claire specialises in all aspects of private client law including Wills, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection matters, Estate Planning and Estate Administration.

Claire can be contacted on 01548 854927 or c.thompson@bartons.co.uk.

Raymond Hayes is an author on property law and graduate of London and Oxford Universities, Raymond was formerly a partner with a leading Hong Kong firm. His specialties include investment properties, second homes and high value residential plot sales for developers.

Raymond can be contacted on 01548 845000 or rh@bartons.co.uk.