The legal process of administering an estate of an individual who has passed away is known as ‘extracting the Grant of Probate’ (also referred to as a ‘Grant of Representation’). This verifies the legal right of an Executor to administer the estate of the deceased and in practical terms will require the executor to call in all assets of the estate, pay all liabilities and then make distributions to the beneficiaries (however it is seldom quite this simple).

What is The Process?

The Probate process is easiest to group into three main areas:


Administration consists of things such as taking inventory of the deceased’s possessions and debts, notifying and paying off bills for all relevant organisations and distribution of the estate. Estate administration is by far the most time-consuming task.


The Legal side of probate consist of applying for a grant of probate; this must be done before the executor of a will is able to carry out most of the estate administration. They must also identify and deal with claims that are made against the estate.


Towards the end of the process the executor needs to start completing inheritance tax returns and paying any inheritance tax that is due. This must also be done for both income and capital gains tax; all outstanding tax must be paid.

How Long Does Probate Take?

The complexity of the estate is the primary factor affecting the completion of probate; the most time-consuming practice is the getting in of all of the assets and the selling or otherwise disposing of them in accordance with the Will. The various institutions (such as banks, insurance companies and investment agencies) work to their own timescales and will substantially increase the administration period. There are circumstances that may cause the completion of Probate to take in excess of two years due to such reasons as a delay in property sale; thankfully, this is a rare occurrence.

How Much Does Probate Cost?

The cost to have a probate specialist take over the estate administration for you will vary from estate to estate. It takes in factors such as size of the property, number of beneficiaries, and the amount of bank accounts, to name a few. There are multiple methods as to how a probate specialist calculates the quote.

Does Every Estate Need Probate?

The basic rules on whether an estate needs probate are as follows:

  • If the estate passes to a surviving spouse/civil partner through survivorship (this applies to all assets that are held in joint names e.g. Bank Account and property held in joint tenancy).
  • If the estate does not include Land, Property or Shares (e.g. where an estate comprised solely of chattels).
  • The person who has died had left very little (usually under £5,000).

We provide various services to help with obtaining the Grant of Probate as well as general estate administration. If you have any further questions or would like some more information, please call 01722 410009 to speak to our Probate specialist.

By accepting free advice you are under no obligation to use our services.

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