Types of Probate
Probate is the legal right to deal with a person’s property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’) when they die.
The most common types of grant of representation issued by the Probate Registry are:
- A grant of probate issued when a person has left a will naming the executor(s) who proves the will through the probate process.
- A grant of letters of administration issued when a person has not left a will and the person entitled under the rules of intestacy (the ‘administrator’) seeks authority to administer the estate.
- A grant of letters of administration with will annexedis when a will is being proved but not by the executor named or if no executor has been named. For example, the grant could be taken out by a named beneficiary.
When is Probate needed?
A grant gives legal authority to prove that the executor or administrator (the ‘personal representative’) has the right to administer the estate, for example to deal with the sale of the property, close and transfer bank accounts, sell shares etc.
The relevant financial organisations would need to be contacted to find out if probate is needed to gain access to their assets. Every organisation has its own rules.
You may not need probate if the person who died only had the type of joint assets which automatically pass to the surviving owners.
Although a grant may not always be needed and may save time and money, it might still be beneficial to obtain a grant in any case to prove the will. For example, family and dependants inheritance claims must be made within 6 months from the grant, and this is another key reason for personal representatives to obtain one.
Why use a Solicitor?
Applying for probate can be time consuming and complex. As solicitors, we can guide you through all stages of the process.
We will be able to tell you if you need to apply for probate and who is eligible to apply.
Before applying for the grant, we will estimate the value of the estate and prepare an assessment of any inheritance tax to pay.
We will prepare and submit all required forms to HMRC and apply for a grant of representation for you.
If required, we can also collect in the assets of the estate, prepare estate accounts and make sure the estate is distributed accurately.
We can also deal with the sale of the probate property following receipt of the grant of probate.
The timescale of a probate application varies depending upon whether there needs to be an HMRC inheritance tax assessment. Where HMRC are involved, the application may take between 12 – 16 weeks. For more straightforward applications where no inheritance assessment is due, the application is likely to take approximately 8 weeks.
For administration of the estate following the grant of probate, this can take around 6-12 months depending on the complexity and value of the estate.
A probate property sale is likely to take approximately 8 – 12 weeks.
Please read our price guide to see our list of costs & services.