You might be aware of ‘probate’ but you may not have heard of the term ‘estate administration’. Although both are related to dealing with the deceased’s estate, they have different definitions and people often get the two confused.
Probate may be required when someone passes away. The umbrella term, ‘Grant of Representation’, refers to the ‘Grant of Probate’ or ‘Letters of Administration’ (if there is no Will) in England & Wales. This is called ‘Confirmation’ in Scotland. Probate is not always required. For example, assets that were held jointly will automatically pass to the surviving spouse.
Estate administration is the process of handling a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died. This means dealing with their assets, debts, and taxes before distributing inheritance to the beneficiaries. As each estate is unique, it’s difficult to predict exactly how long the process will take. We advise that it should be expected to take several months.
To sum up the difference between probate and estate administration: probate is just one part of the wider process, providing you with the legal right to move forward with estate administration. Although probate is not always required, estate administration must always be carried out, no matter the estate’s value.
Obtaining probate and carrying out estate administration can often be complex and time-consuming, adding stress at a time that is already difficult for those who are grieving. Many choose to appoint a professional to act on their behalf.