How Long Does Grant of Probate Take?

12 May 2017

On average, in England or Wales, it takes around three to six months to obtain a Grant of Probate, although it can take longer for more complex Estates.

Getting a Grant of Probate

A Grant of Probate will be needed to administer a deceased person’s Estate. Without it, the Executors of the Will won’t have the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s affairs. For instance, they won’t be able to access their bank accounts or sell a property.

To get a Grant of Probate you need to send a PA1 form to the Probate Registry. You’ll also need to send an Inheritance Tax form, a copy of the death certificate, the original Will (plus three copies), and the Probate Registry fee. Alternatively you can ask a Probate Specialist to complete this on your behalf.

If you’re going to do Probate yourself, you’ll then need to attend an interview at a Probate Registry office and to swear an oath. If everything is in order, the Probate Registry will send a Grant of Probate through the post. Once this has been received, the Executors of the Will have the legal authority to administer the deceased person’s Estate.

With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for getting Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excl VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs.

Administering an Estate

Obtaining a Grant of Probate is just the first hurdle. Afterwards the Executors will still need to administer the Estate. This includes contacting the deceased persons’ financial institutions (banks, building society) and gathering in the assets, obtaining valuations of valuable items such as property and jewellery, calculating the amount of Inheritance tax due (if applicable), paying the Inheritance tax, finding the beneficiaries, paying any debts that are outstanding, and distributing the remainder of the Estate according to the terms of the Will.

This can take another six to nine months to complete. Our Probate Solicitors estimate that an average Estate which includes a property to sell or be transferred to a beneficiary, takes between nine and 12 months to administer.

Delays in Getting a Grant of Probate

The timeframes above are only a guideline. Sometimes issues will arise that significantly delay the Grant of Probate being obtained.

One example is a missing Will. During Probate the original Will must be submitted to the Probate Registry, so this will pose problems if it cannot be found. Often the relatives of the deceased have been told that a Will exists, but its location is unknown. When this happens, the necessary searches must be carried out. For more information see Sending a Will to the Probate Registry.

Other complications can also delay a Grant of Probate being issued, such as:

  • Mistakes in the forms that are submitted to the Probate Registry
  • The payment of Inheritance Tax, which must be done before a Grant of Probate is issued
  • The Will being challenged. When this happens someone may lodge a Caveat with the Probate Registry which will stop the Grant being issued

Very complex Estates where there are lots of assets, or international assets, can also slow the process down.

If someone has died and you need help with probate, contact us:

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