Although a grant of representation is usually required in order to deal with a deceased person’s assets, this is not always the case, particularly if the value of the estate is small in value. In these cases, it may be possible for the estate to be dealt with under the ‘small estates’ procedure.
There is a law which states that assets held by certain bodies, such as National Savings & Investments, can be released without a grant of representation where the amount in question does not exceed £5,000. This would apply if the deceased person had a small sum of premium bonds for example.
However, no organisation is obliged to release funds without a grant of representation and they may still insist on a grant being obtained. This is likely to be the case if there are complicating factors, such as numerous beneficiaries.
Banks and building societies often have their own thresholds and will agree to pay out small amounts if the estate is straightforward. The person dealing with the estate will usually have to sign a ‘small estates declaration and indemnity form’, confirming that they will distribute the funds correctly and indemnify the bank against any future claims.