A Grant of Representation may take one of three forms:
a) A Grant of Probate where an Executor named in the Will is
given authority to wind up a deceased person's personal
b) A Grant of Letters of Administration with Will annexed, where
there is a Will but the named Executor has died or is unwilling to
act, in which case a person entitled to the residue of the
deceased's personal estate is entitled to apply for a
c) A Grant of Letters of Administration, where there is no Will,
in which case certain relations of the deceased are entitled to
apply for the Grant. The surviving spouse (if any) will be first
entitled, followed by the deceased's adult children in order of
seniority, followed by the deceased's adult grandchildren,
again in order of seniority, and so on. Where a deceased's
oldest child has died before him leaving an adult grandchild, then
that grandchild will be entitled to a Grant before the most senior
of the deceased's surviving children.
What assets does the grant cover?
In principle, the Grant only authorises the deceased's
Executor or Administrator to deal with the deceased's Personal
Estate. In Guernsey, Real Estate does not require an Executor and a
Will of Realty would never appoint one.
Is a grant always necessary?
No and neither is it obligatory to obtain one. The sole purpose
of obtaining a Grant is to enable the release of the deceased's
Personalty to the Executor or Administrator. If the asset holder is
willing to release without a Grant, then there is no point in
obtaining one. For instance, small balances at banks (usually
€ 5,000 or less), will commonly be released without a
Grant provided that the recipient of the money can identify himself
and is prepared to give a letter of indemnity to the bank.
How is a Grant obtained?
An application for a Grant is made to the Ecclesiastical Court,
either directly by the named Executors or prospective
Administrator, or through his Advocate. If there is no Will, then
the prospective Administrator will need to supply his Advocate or
the Registrar of the Ecclesiastical Court with documentary proof
that he is entitled to a Grant.
How much does a Grant cost?
The Ecclesiastical Court fees are approximately 0.35% of the
gross value of the Personal Estate, with small additional charges
for ancillary documents and for each page of any Will or Codicil.
The percentage charge is lower for Estates with a gross value of
€ 80,000 or less.
If a professional adviser or bank is engaged to obtain the
Grant, fees are of course payable in addition and vary greatly
depending on who is used. Careful enquiry is prudent.
What are powers and duties of an Executor and
The Executor or Administrator takes an Oath before the Dean in
the Ecclesiastical Court to administer the Estate in accordance
with the Law and the terms of the Will, and to render an account of
his administration to the Court if called upon so to do.
The duties essentially involve the gathering of assets, the
payment of debts (including taxes, such as unpaid income tax) and
the distribution of the net Estate. This can be very quick and easy
in small Estates, but in complex ones can take months, and
When a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration have been
issued, a notice may be published in La Gazette Officielle allowing
a three month period for any creditor of the Estate to notify the
Executors or Administrators of his claim. Many Executors or
Administrators will decline to make any distribution of the net
Estate until that period has lapsed.
It is always advisable for Executors or Administrators to take
advice from an advocate if they have not dealt with this sort of
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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