What is Probate

This website provides information on Probate in the UK and related topics. This is NOT a government website and is not affiliated with any UK department including the Ministry of Justice. Every effort has been made to insure the accuracy of the information provided.

What is Probate
What is Probate. How do you apply for Probate. How Long Does Probate Take. How Much Does Probate Cost. Do I need to get Probate. Rules of Intestacy UK. What to do as an Executor of a Will. How to Obtain Grant of Probate. Apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. What is Contentious Probate. Probate Registry Offices. Probate Scams. Contact Us. Privacy Policy. Terms of Use.
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What is Probate
When someone who has died leaves assets (money, property and possessions) over £5000, companies that hold the assets or have control over the assets will require proof before they can release these assets to anyone.

A Grant of Probate is needed to distribute the estate of the deceased if there is a will.

Where there is no will a Letters of Administration document is need to deal with the estate.
A Grant of Probate can be obtained by either;

- doing it yourself or
- hiring a professional to act on your behalf.

This website will assist you in making that decision and will give you all the advantages and disadvantages of doing the Grant of Probate it yourself.
In literal terms, the word Probate means ‘prove it’ and is the process that is carried out after someone dies.

Probate is used to ‘prove’ that a will is valid and then issues the legal authority for one, or several people, to administer the estate of the deceased and distribute their assets in the appropriate way.
Usually called a ‘Grant of Probate’ or a ‘Grant of Representation’ this authority is issued by an official court and allocates both legal responsibility and legal liability of the estate to the allocated Personal Representatives.

What is a Personal Representative?
A Personal Representative is any individual or group of people who have the right to apply for a Grant of Probate.

These people are usually named in the will by the deceased as Executors or, in the absence of such instruction, can appointed by the court.

The key responsibility of a Personal Representative is to assess the assets and liabilities of the estate and manage them as stipulated by the will.
But take care, as Personal Representative are legally liable for any debts within the estate, the task of choosing the person to shoulder such a responsibility should never be taken lightly.

When is a Grant of Probate Required?

A Grant of Probate can only be applied for when a valid will exists and is necessary only when the estate is worth more than £5,000.

If a valid will is not available, and the estate is considerable, then a Letter of Administration is usually required.

When to ask for professional advice?

It is advisable to consult a professional in the following circumstances:


The Will cannot be found

The Will is not valid

The Will is likely to be contested

The beneficiaries cannot be located

The terms of the Will are not clear

The estate is subject to inheritance tax

The deceased was married, but left no Will and the final value of the estate is over the inheritance threshold, currently £325,000

There is no Will, the value of the estate is over £250,000 and there is a spouse or civil partner with children

There is no Will, the value of the estate is over £450,000 and there is a spouse or civil partner with no children

Part of the estate will be passed to children under the age of 18, whether there is a Will or not

The deceased has left money or property in trust

The deceased owned a business or was a partner in a business

The deceased owned land or property that has an unregistered title

The deceased owned land or property abroad

Someone is due to benefit from a life interest in the estate

If the deceased inherited from another estate within the last two years

The estate is insolvent

The deceased is involved in any court proceedings

The estate belonged to a widow or widower and may be liable to inheritance tax, as some of the previously deceased spouse’s unused tax allowance may be used

Many people choose to engage a professional because the estate is substantial and complicated. Another reason people chose to engage a professional is that it takes considerable time to go through the process; a rough estimate is about 100 hours spread over several months.

When to do the Grant of Probate yourself

- If you have the necessary skills and know how
- If the estate is small and therefore simple to administer.
- If you have the time
- Finally and more importantly you should bear in mind that if you deal with the estate then you may be legally and financially responsible for any errors.

How long does probate take?

Whilst each case has it own unique circumstances, generally it takes between 6 to 9 months. This time covers the moment you submit the probate forms to the probate registry to the time when the estate can be distributed. Of course you need to bar in mind that complicated cases take even longer. Read More >>>