Requirement for a grant: background
When a person dies someone has to take responsibility for dealing with their property, debts and distributing the estate. The person who administers any part of an estate situated in the UK normally needs proof of legal authority to be able to do so. They get this legal authority by obtaining a grant (IHTM05001). In Scotland this is obtained from the appropriate Sheriff Clerk but in the rest of the UK it is obtained from one of the probate registries. This system helps us to collect tax and provides some protection to creditors and beneficiaries.
The requirement to obtain a grant rests with the Court Service and not HMRC. There are specific provisions for small estates in Scotland and, separately, in the rest of the UK.