What are estates, grants of probate and letters of administration?

Quick answer

Estates, grants of probate and letters of administration are all legal terms related to a person’s will.

An estate is simply a deceased person’s assets, while the other two terms relate to how the estate is distributed after a person passes away.

In depth answer

An estate is all the assets that were owned by the deceased person, including cash, vehicles, real estate, and anything else of value.

A grant of probate is when an executor named in a will applies to the court for authorisation to deal with a deceased estate. If the application is successful, it means the court recognises that the will is legally valid.

Letters of administration are required if a deceased person does not leave a will, does not appoint an executor to deal with their estate, or the executor is not willing or able to deal with the estate. In this case, another person (such as a spouse or child of the deceased) can make an application to the court for a grant of letters of administration. If this application is successful, that person can deal with the deceased’s estate in the same way as where there is a grant of probate.

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