Helpful guidance from probate solicitors

Probate is the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’) when they die. Before you apply for probate, you need to check if it’s needed and if you are eligible to apply. You will also need to estimate the estate’s value to find out if there is inheritance tax to pay.

If the deceased has left a Will, Executors will be appointed to take on the task of administering the estate and applying for probate.

If the deceased did not leave a Will, then an application to the Probate Registry for Letters of Administration will have to be made to become an Administrator. When an Administrator is appointed, they have the same responsibilities for the estate as an Executor. The only difference is that the beneficiaries and how the estate is to be divided will be decided under the Rules of Intestacy rather than set out under a Will.

About our services

Our probate solicitors have extensive experience helping clients administer a loved one’s estate, whether a Will is in place or not. Our services include:

  • Applying to the Probate Registry for Grants of Representation (either a Grant of Probate if there is a Will or Letters of Administration if there is no Will)
  • Assisting with valuing estates to determine if inheritance tax is payable
  • Providing clear advice about the role and duties of an Executor or Administrator
  • Conducting every aspect of the probate process, including gathering financial information, paying inheritance tax, and ensuring the beneficiaries receive their inheritance
  • Addressing and resolving any disputes about the Will or administration process

Next steps: get in touch

If you need legal advice on applying for probate or more information about the process, contact our team on: 0800 533 5349 or

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Frequently asked questions

A Grant of Probate gives the Executors the legal right to deal with the assets, including property, bank accounts and shares.

The usual wait time for a Grant of Probate application to be granted is four to eight weeks, according to the Probate Registry.

If the person who died left a valid Will, this will name one or more Executors, and it is their responsibility to apply for probate. If there isn’t a Will, then the rules of intestacy will determine whose responsibility it is to get probate.

Letters of Administration are documents issued by the Probate Registry authorising someone to act as Administrator for the estate of a person who has died without making a Will.

You do not need a solicitor to apply for probate, but most Executors and administrators choose to use a solicitor, especially if the estate is complex.

You’ll need a copy of the death certificate, so before you can start probate you’ll need to register the death.

You may not have to go through the probate process if:

  • The estate is only made up of physical cash and personal belongings such as cars or furniture
  • All property is jointly owned so it automatically passes to the surviving joint owner
  • The estate is insolvent because there’s not enough money to pay the deceased’s debts or expenses
  • The amount of money owned by the deceased is low enough that banks and other institutions will release it without Probate or Letters of Administration

The Executors or Administrators are responsible for:

  • Gathering all financial information and documentation belonging to the deceased’s estate
  • Obtaining the death certificate and sending a copy to organisations asking for the deceased’s accounts to be closed and moved into the estate’s bank account
  • Gathering information about the debts owed by the deceased and paying off debts
  • Calculating and paying inheritance tax
  • Distributing the estate among the beneficiaries as set out in the Will or under the Rules of Intestacy

If you do not want to act as an Executor after being appointed, you can renounce your right to take on the role up until the Grant of Probate is granted. Alternatively, you can appoint someone else to apply for probate on your behalf under a Power of Attorney.

People who aren’t entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules (for example, financial dependants or co-habiting partners) can still make a claim for provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Find out more about contesting a Will

Straightforward estates can be dealt with within three to nine months from the date on which all of the available estate information is received by our probate solicitors. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes eight to ten weeks from the date on which we are instructed. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between three to six weeks from the date on which the grant of probate is received. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes two to four weeks. Please note these are average time frames.

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