The Debtor's Personal Representative


June 2013


54.55 Personal representative – general

A personal representative is either the executor named in the deceased debtor’s will or, where the debtor died intestate (without a valid will), a person (known as an ‘administrator’) to whom letters of administration have been granted by a court of probate.  The duties of an executor/administrator are: 

  • To bury the deceased in a manner suitable to the estate which he/she leaves;
  • To prove the will of the deceased. 

This Part contains guidance on identifying and locating the personal representative.

In the absence of a debtor, the personal representative has a number of duties in relation to insolvency administration proceedings.  Guidance on these duties is contained within this Chapter, particularly paragraphs 54.17 to 54.23 for debtors deceased before the petition, or paragraphs 54.40 to 54.43 where the debtor dies after petition.


54.56 Identifying the personal representative

The identity of the personal representative may be recorded on the bankruptcy court file.  It may be the personal representative that petitioned for the insolvency administration order (see paragraph 54.4), or on whom the petition was served by a creditor (see paragraph 54.39).

Similarly, the personal representative may contact the official receiver, or the person that notifies the official receiver of the death of a bankrupt may hold the relevant details.  It is possible that a relative, or the former solicitors, bankers or accounts of the deceased may be aware of the identity of the personal representative.

If none of the above avenues prove fruitful, the official receiver will have to conduct a search to establish if a grant of representation has been granted (see paragraph 54.57). 


54.57 Grant of representation

A grant of representation is a document issued by the court which enables the person named within it to deal with the estate of the deceased.  There are three types: 

  • Probate – granted to executors (those charged with administering the will) named in a will made by the deceased debtor. 
  • Letter of administration (with will) – granted to someone other than the executor where there is a valid will. 
  • Letter of administration – granted when the deceased did not have a will. 

A grant of representation may not be necessary in every case (see paragraph 54.58), especially if the estate is small. 


54.58 Grant of representation not always necessary

Organisations holding the deceased debtor’s money may release it to the next of kin without seeing a grant, although they may require completion of a statutory declaration instead.

If the whole of the estate is in joint names it passes automatically to the surviving joint owner, but a grant of representation will always be necessary to transfer property in the deceased’s sole name.


54.59 Register of grants of representation

A register of all grants of representation issued throughout England and Wales is kept in the Probate Calendar (  There is a calendar for every year from 1858 to date.  Every entry includes at least the following details: 

  • The full name and last address of the deceased, 
  • The date of death, 
  • Type of grant issued, 
  • The registry at which the grant was issued, 
  • Date of issue of grant, 
  • The gross value of the estate. 

It is possible to search the register (see paragraph 54.60) to obtain the above details and to establish to whom a grant has been made (see paragraph).


54.60 Carrying out a search of the Register of grants

(Updated May 2014)

In order to carry out a search of the register of grants of representation, it is necessary to complete form PA1S, which should be sent to:

Postal Searches and Copies Department 
Leeds District Probate Registry
York House
York Place

A grant cannot be located without, at least, the correct full name of the deceased.

A fee of £10 is payable for a General Search for England and Wales to be carried out, which covers the period from 1958 to the present day. The fee includes one copy of the grant and one copy of the will if there is one. Additional copies of either document are 50p. Cheques should be made payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunal Service’. The results of the search should be available within four weeks of receipt of the application.  

Full guidance notes on probate search applications are attached to the form PA1S 


[Back to Part 2 – Debtor dying after a bankruptcy petition is presented] [On to Part 4 – Dealing with property of a deceased individual]