The Grant of Representation is a legal document issued by the Probate Registry to confirm those who are legally entitled to administer an estate. Every case is different, and the time scales that it takes for Personal Representatives (PRs) to obtain the grant does vary.

PRs can make an application for the Grant of Representation either online or by post. If the application is complex, then the PRs would need to make a postal application. Probate Practitioners must send their postal applications to the Newcastle District Probate Registry, whereas applications made by lay PR’s are sent to the Probate Registry in Harlow.

The Grant of Probate application also includes an Inheritance Tax Return, either to the Probate Registry or to HM Revenue & Customs (in the IHT 400 see below). We are finding that financial institutions are not as quick as they used to be in providing us with the date of death valuations which is causing a delay in being in a position to be able to apply for the grant.

The average time that it is taking the Probate Registry to issue a grant (having made the application online) is approximately 16 weeks. However, one of our matters which incorporated a foreign element, took approximately 5-6 months.

The postal application is a much longer process than the online application, with one of our applications taking approximately four months to complete.

It will take even longer if the Probate Registry requests additional paperwork i.e. an Affidavit of Plight and Condition or Due Execution (online or postal application).

If you are waiting for an update, the Probate Registry will not look in to the progress of the application until after the ’16 week period’ has passed.

If any Inheritance Tax is due on the estate, then the PRs must submit the Inheritance Tax Return in form IHT 400 to HM Revenue & Customs. The PRs must then wait at least 20 working days before they can apply for the Grant of Representation. HM Revenue & Customs will send an electronic IHT 421 to the Probate Registry which will allow them to proceed with the application for the Grant of Representation. At the moment, we are finding HMRC is slightly behind in returning the IHT 421 within this time frame, and on occasions we are having to chase HMRC.

It is not advisable to submit the application for the Grant of Representation before the 20 working days has passed because this may result in the grant application being rejected and put to the ‘back of the queue’.

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Published: 10th July 2023
Area: For the individual

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