HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

IHTM05101 - Types of grant: main types of grant (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

Grant of probate

Probate is the official proof of a Will (IHTM12000) under which an executor (IHTM05012) is appointed who applies for the grant. It is evidence of the executor’s authority to manage the deceased’s estate: the actual authority stems from the Will itself. Probate is conclusive proof of the validity of the Will and of the executor’s office.

To obtain probate the executor must ‘prove’ the Will in the Family Division of the High Court. This involves the intending executor ‘presenting’ the Will to the Court (usually through the Probate Registry) and swearing on oath that they believe the Will to be the true and last Will of the deceased.

They must also submit (IHTM05051) an IHT400 (IHTM10021) to HMRC unless the estate is an excepted estate (IHTM05021).

Once probate is granted the executor can take control of the assets in the estate. The grant is the proof of authority needed so that banks will pay over accounts, shares can be transferred into the names of the executors, and other assets can be transferred.

Grant of letters of administration

Letters of Administration is granted where the deceased died intestate (IHTM12101) (without a Will), and the grant is the authority for the administrator to act.

Grant of letters of administration with Will annexed

This type of grant is appropriate where the deceased made a Will:

  • but failed to appoint an executor; or
  • all the executors named in the Will have died or are unable or unwilling to act