When someone dies, in order to obtain the legal authority to deal with their money, assets and any debts they had, a legal document called a Grant of Probate is sometimes required. For small Estates where no property was owned this is not always necessary, as banks will usually release money up to a certain threshold (limit) without requiring a Grant of Probate.
You'll need to add up the total amount held in the deceased's accounts for each bank. If the total held by each bank or building society falls below their threshold, then you usually won't need a Grant of Probate for the money to be released. If it falls above the threshold, then you probably will need to apply for Probate.
Ultimately, it is at the discretion of the bank or building society to decide whether Probate is required. These institutions have authority to request a Grant of Probate before releasing funds, even if the value falls below their stated threshold.
The threshold for each bank and building society is different. We've put together a list of the major banks and building societies, along with their Probate thresholds, to make things a little simpler for you.
Please note that this list should be used as a guideline only and not relied upon as fact. We believe these thresholds to be correct at the time of publishing, but please be aware that these are subject to change.
Banks and Building Societies
- Aviva - £50,000
- AXA - £10,000
- Bank of Ireland - £10,000
- Bank of Scotland - £25,000
- Barclays - £50,000
- Birmingham Midshires - £25,000
- Britannia - £30,000
- Cheltenham & Gloucester - £25,000
- Co-op Bank - £30,000
- First Direct - £20,000
- Halifax - £50,000
- HSBC - Decided on a case-by-case basis
- Lloyds TSB - £50,000
- M&S Money - £15,000
- Under £5,000 - no Grant of Probate is required
- £5,000 - £30,000 - a certified copy of the Grant of Probate is required, or alternatively the 'close account' form will need to be witnessed by a Solicitor
- Over £30,000 - the original Grant of Probate is required
- Natwest - £25,000
- NS&I (National Savings / Premium Bonds) - £5,000 to £15,000 depending on the Will and the number of Executors
- Post Office - £10,000
- Royal Bank of Scotland - £25,000
- Sainsbury's Bank - £20,000
- Santander - £50,000
- Skipton Building Society £15,000
- Tesco Bank - £25,000
- Woolwich - £15,000
- Yorkshire Building Society - £30,000
If Probate Is Needed
If you find that you will need to apply for a Grant of Probate to deal with the deceased's Estate, it's important that you understand what this legal process entails and what the associated risks and responsibilities are.
The person who carries out the administration of an Estate is called the Personal Representative (also known as an Executor if there is a Will or an Administrator if there is no Will). The role of Personal Representative comes with great responsibility as this person is responsible for all of the legal, tax and administrative work involved in winding up a deceased person's affairs. This work can be complicated and time consuming, with many Estates taking up to a year to administer.
Some of the duties include:
- Locating all assets (including shares, digital assets and foreign assets)
- Valuing the Estate
- Identifying all debts and settling these
- Calculating Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax
- Dealing with HM Revenue & Customs
- Locating and contacting all Beneficiaries
- Selling or transferring property and other assets
- Distributing the Estate in line with the Will (if there is one) and inheritance laws.
If any mistakes are made along the way, the Personal Representative can be held personally liable for these. For example, if the amount of Inheritance Tax due is calculated incorrectly then the Estate may overpay by a significant margin. Alternatively, if Inheritance Tax is under-calculated then the Personal Representative will be financially liable to make up the shortfall.
If you're not comfortable with any part of the Probate process then it's a good idea to instruct a Probate Solicitor to take on this responsibility for you. With our Probate Complete Service, we take full responsibility for the Estate administration, completing all of the tax, legal and administrative work on your behalf. We would also be fully liable for the work carried out, so you wouldn't have to worry about shouldering this burden yourself.
For free initial advice and guidance call our Probate Advisors on 03306069584 or contact us online and we will help you.
Please note that the bank limits shown above are subject to change.