Q&A - Why is a Grant of Probate required if everything is left to a spouse?

Q:    When my father passed away, he left everything to my mother in his Will and appointed her as his sole Executor. Now the bank has told my mother that they require a Grant of Probate in order to deal with his accounts. Why does she need to get a Grant of Probate if everything has been left to her?

A:    It is not uncommon for a person dealing with the estate of a deceased person to discover that they will require a Grant of Probate in order to complete the administration of the estate, even if the deceased person is their spouse.

Whilst  most banks and building societies will transfer joint accounts into the name of the surviving joint owner after just having sight of the death certificate, they will not always close accounts held by the deceased in their sole name if the amount held in those accounts is above a certain value.

It is impossible to say exactly what amount the bank’s cut off limit is as each bank sets its own limit. Most banks, however, set the limit at £15,000 to £30,000 and if a deceased person has died with more than that amount in one or more accounts with the bank they will most likely require a Grant of Probate to close the accounts and release the funds.

A Grant of Probate provides confirmation as to who is entitled to deal with the administration of a person’s estate and many banks ask for a Grant of Probate in order to establish that the person receiving the deceased’s money is lawfully entitled to it. In order to obtain the Grant of Probate an application will need to be made to the Probate Registry.

Article 22/10/2020

This question has been answered by Jessica Wright, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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Jessica Wright

Jessica Wright


Part of our Probate, Wills, Tax and Trusts team in Oswestry.