What is a Probate Registry?

What is a Probate Registry?

When someone dies, the process you (the executor or personal representative) need to follow to ensure their estate is dealt with correctly, is known as “probate.” The job of the Probate Registries is to do their best to confirm that at least the initial stages have been carried out correctly. At least in the sense that the executors have completed the relevant forms correctly and the tax has been paid!  If you were looking for the contact details of probate registries, click the link. There is still much work to be done after the grant of probate has been obtained.

Probate registries are part of the High Court. They are the section that members of the public must deal with to obtain legal permission to carry out their role as an executor of a Last Will. In most cases, Probate Court permission is required to authorise collecting in the assets, paying the bills and finally the beneficiaries.  Probate registries also give legal permission where the estate is dealt with under “letters of administration”, when no executor has been named, or when no will has been made.

What do probate registries do?

Their prime job is issuing Grants of Representation. These provide legal authority to the executors or administrators of a persons Last Will. Once issued, they authorise them to collect in money or close a bank account (of the deceased), sell property, pay bills and tax etc etc.

Before issuing Grants of Representation, probate registries check that the applicant, usually the person or persons  named as executor in the will, is entitled to be given this document.  They must have carried out the required preliminary work and paid any Inheritance Tax due. Problems may occur if the probate registrar considers that the will has not been made correctly, or the will has perhaps been altered. If this is a possibility, registrar will interview a witness before issuing the Grant of Representation.

To obtain the Grant of Representation you have to obtain the application forms, complete them and return them to the probate registry with the death certificate. You then attend an interview and swear an oath at your local probate registry before the grant can be issued. In most cases there is a significant waiting time from when you send in the application and fee to the time than the interview takes place.   A week or two after the interview the grant of representation will be sent to you. TIP: always ask for multiple copies to avoid delays as the grant is sent out and (perhaps) returned by various institutions.

Do probate registries help throughout the entire probate process?
No. The issuing of the Grant of Representation is just one step in the probate process. Once the grant has been issued, the probate registry is no longer normally involved in any dealings of the estate.

The Probate Department was set up to provide economical help throughout the process and can be contacted here.

What is a Probate Registry?