The Difference Between Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration

What’s the Difference Between Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration?

There is some confusion and misunderstanding about the probate process, so here we will explain the difference between a grant of probate and letters of administration.

When an individual dies their assets including any property that they own, their bank accounts, and all personal possessions that they leave behind are known as their estate. To be able to deal with the deceased’s estate it will be necessary to obtain legal authority from the Probate Registry.

This legal authority that is issued by the Probate Registry is called a Grant of Representation which will allow whoever is dealing with the estate to close bank accounts, cash in investments and to sell or transfer property. The Grant of Representation comes in two different forms – either a Grant of Probate where an individual dies with a valid will or what is known as Letters of Administration, if the individual dies without a will.

Grant of Probate

A Grant of Probate will only be issued to the executors that are named in the Will. Once the executors have got the Grant of Probate they have the legal power to deal with the estate, and they can start to cash in assets and transfer them to the beneficiaries named in the Will. Some financial institutions may need to see a copy of the Will and the Grant of Probate before they release any funds as they need to be sure that the Will is valid and the named executors are the correct people responsible for dealing with the estate.

The Grant of Probate is legal confirmation that the Will is valid. Once the Grant has been issued, it means that the Will has been officially registered and the executors named in the Will are the only ones who have authority to deal with the estate.

Probate-Form
Official Probate Form

Letters of Administration

Letters of Administration are similar to a Grant of Probate, but are issued instead to the next of kin of an individual who dies without a Will. Letters of Administration is the document issued by the Probate Registry to the administrators authorising them to deal with the estate. The authority to do this is not automatic, and it may be necessary to apply to the Court for Letters of Administration to confirm an entitlement to manage an estate, as there are certain financial institutions that require this.

This can cause problems if, for example, family members cannot agree who would be the best person to deal with the estate. Where there are such disputes, it is normal practise for the Court to get involved, and the financial costs involved in this can soon mount up.

Letters of Administration might also be issued where there is a valid Will, but the Executor named in the Will is not applying for a Grant of Probate. This could be because they do not want to act as executor, are not capable of doing so, or they have already passed away. Where this is the case, it is common for one of the main beneficiaries in the Will to apply for Letters of Administration instead.

Probate Registries

The offices that issue Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration are known as Probate Registries, and there are twelve such offices in England and Wales. The probate registry is responsible for making sure that the will is valid and the applicant is entitled to handle the estate of the deceased.

A probate registry decides the legal validity of a deceased person’s Will and grants its approval, also known as granting probate, to the executors. This acts as proof that the executors have the authority they need to handle the estate of the deceased person.

When making a Will, you should think long and hard about the appointment of your executors. An executor needs to have the capability of managing a potentially complex process that can take a long time to complete.

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The Perils Of Will Templates

Will Drafting Tips from the Bench

A will template may seem like an excellent no-frills, no-fuss solution for solicitors that find that a percentage of their business involves the drafting of wills. However, Gerry W. Beyer, a blogger on the Law Professor Blogs Network, cautions against using a one size fits all solution for will writing.

Mistakes can happen when writing wills. Some errors are more likely to occur when using a prepared templated form. Poor processes concerning the witnessing of the Will ceremony is often a problem area; inexact wording and cutting and pasting errors are other areas of concern, more likely to pop up when relying on a will template.

Key Takeaways:

  • Using a will template leaves people more open to mistakes caused by copying and pasting errors.
  • A prepared, standard form can also incorporate ambiguous language that is inexact and likely to cause a problem later.
  • Improper execution of the will ceremony is also more likely when attorneys use a will template.

Beyer states “Unfortunately solicitors who maintain an all-purpose “standard” will form may be unaware of certain perils, which tend to be uncovered only after their client has passed.”

Our comment is that there is no excuse for imprecise language.

Read more: Law Professors – Tips From The Bench.

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The Difference Between a Graveyard and a Cemetery

What’s the Difference Between a Graveyard and a Cemetery?

Some people think graveyard and cemetery mean the same, but a graveyard is a type of cemetery, and a cemetery is usually not a graveyard. Although the words graveyard and cemetery are often used in the same context in everyday speech, there is a subtle difference between the two terms.

To understand the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery, we need to go back in time. From about the 7th century onwards, the process of burial was very much the responsibility of the Church, and burying the dead was only permitted on land near a church, which was known as the churchyard. The part of the churchyard used for burial was called the graveyard, as it was quite literally a yard with graves in it.

graveyard
A Typical English Graveyard

As the population of Europe grew, the capacity of graveyards was reached and by the beginning of the 19th century, the unsustainability of church burials had become apparent, so completely new places for burying people, independent of the graveyards, appeared, and these were called cemeteries.

Where did the word cemetery come from? It actually comes from the old French word cimetiere, which translates oddly enough as graveyard. The French word originally comes from the Greek word koimeterion, which means “a sleeping place”.

A Typical English Cemetery
A Typical English Cemetery

So, broadly speaking, graveyards are on land owned by the church, and are typically attached to a church or a chapel. The Christian Church would usually stipulate that only Christians could be buried within the grounds and local nobles and the wealthy were sometimes buried in crypts beneath the church itself. Cemeteries, on the other hand are generally run by private companies or the council and are normally open to all faiths and have more relaxed rules regarding headstones.

Another subtle difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is that people’s bodies are buried in graveyards; whereas in a cemetery, it is possible to bury an individual’s ashes as well.

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Cremation Jewellery

There are a number of companies that can turn the ashes of a loved one into stunning bespoke jewellery.

Cremation jewellery, ashes to jewellery, remembrance jewellery and memorial jewellery are some of the terms used by specialist creative workshops that create treasured handmade memorial jewellery from just a spoonful of cremation ashes.

Memorial Jewellery
Memorial Jewellery

This unique jewellery can serve as an eternal memory, enabling those left behind to keep their loved one close to them. Pieces are custom made and the range includes bracelets, charms, cufflinks, earrings, pendants, rings and bespoke jewellery items.

Cremation jewellery aka memorial jewellery can be a wonderful way to feel close to a loved one again, and it can be comforting for those left behind to be able to have a beautiful piece of jewellery as a wonderful memento that they can take with them wherever they go.

ashes-to-jewellery
Memorial Pendant

There is a wide range of cremation jewellery that can be chosen and all are by their very nature unique. All of the cremation jewellery is specially designed and gives people the chance to enclose their loved one’s ashes into jewellery which they can keep with them forever. Ashes based jewellery instantly becomes an heirloom that can be passed from generation to generation.

Cremation-Ash-Charm
Cremation Charm

Cremation jewellery is typically hand-crafted by specialist workshops as the ashes, coloured glass crystals and molten glass are skillfully layered together using a mix of traditional and modern techniques to create unique pieces, each with their own character and style. Multiple layers give the stone dimension and depth, and once cooled, it is expertly cut, polished and toughened before being set to create timeless and beautiful jewellery that can be cherished and passed down through the generations.

Surprisingly these specialists only need a teaspoon sized amount of a loved one’s cremation ashes to make some dramatic, striking jewellery. By incorporating a small amount of cremation ashes into a piece of hand blown or fused glass, these artisans can create jewellery and keepsakes that can be forever treasured.

remembrance-jewellery
Remembrance Ring

Some of the artisans who create these unique bespoke cremation jewellery items are:-

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The Society of Will Writers

The Society of Will Writers

The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self regulatory organisation which promotes to the public the real need in having a valid Will; and serves Will writing practitioners through stringent membership requirements, proficiency standards and on-going training.

The Society of Will Writers was established in 1994 as an independent body representing the professional Will writer and the interests of the consumer. Today, the Society is the largest Will writing trade body and has many members.

society-will-writers-logo

Why should you use a Society of Will Writers member?

  • All members hold professional indemnity insurance with a minimum cover of £2 million.
  • All members adhere to a complaints procedure.
  • All members are entitled to technical support to ensure they offer the best service to their clients.
  • All members need to pass a stringent application process, and pass an examination.
  • All members are bound by The Society’s code of conduct.
  • All members continue to train on a yearly basis.

It is important to note that Society of Will Writers members are will writing specialists who deal almost exclusively with one area of law – succession planning; and as such, are best placed to offer specialist advice.

There are many Will writing individuals and Will writing companies, but it is vital to choose one that is competent, professional and has the appropriate expertise and experience. All Society of Will Writers members go through a stringent vetting procedure and continuing training to ensure that they are able to write Wills properly.

The will writing industry is unregulated, so anyone can call themselves a will writer. However only a properly trained professional can ensure that your Will will be correctly drafted. If you are shopping around for a Will, it is something you need to consider, and you should ask yourself why risk your entire estate by having a Will drawn up by anyone other than a trained professional.

Here at Quick Will, we are proud to be full members of the Society of Will Writers and naturally we fully comply with all membership requirements.

Maybe now is the time to call upon this expertise and create a Will knowing you are in safe hands with a full member of the Society of Will Writers.

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