Not all estates require a grant. A grant might not be needed if:
- the family home is held in joint names and is passing by survivorship to the other joint owner(s). This can be the case for married couples and those in a legal civil partnership.
- there is a joint bank or building society account. In this case, the bank may only need to see the death certificate, in order to arrange for the money to be transferred to the other joint owner. However, a grant could still be needed to access assets held in other bank accounts or insurance policies.
- the amount held in each account was very small. You will need to check with the organisations (banks, building societies or insurance companies) involved to find out if they will release the assets without a grant.
In the absence of the circumstances above applying, a grant may be needed.
You should ask anyone holding the deceased’s money (such as a bank or insurance company) whether they will release it to you without seeing a grant. If they agree, they may attach conditions such as asking you to sign a statutory declaration before a solicitor. You can decide whether it is cheaper or easier to do this than to apply for a grant.
Please note that a grant must be presented in order to sell or transfer a property held in the deceased’s sole name or a share of a property held jointly with the deceased person’s spouse or partner as tenants-in-common. Tenancy-in-common is a written agreement between two people who own a joint asset (usually land or buildings).
Normally, a married couple does not have a tenancy-in-common contract. If you aren’t sure about this, you should consult a solicitor as they can obtain this information form the Land Registry.
You cannot complete the conveyancing for the sale of any property owned by a deceased person until the grant has been issued. Properties named in a will should not be put up for sale until a grant has been obtained. It may be possible to sell the property “ subject to probate”. If this is your intention you should speak to your probate lawyer and conveyancing solicitor about the mechanics.