How Long Does it Take to Get Probate?

21 December 2015

In England and Wales it can take up to a year to complete the Probate process depending on the Estate assets and if there is a valid Will. In many cases HM Revenue & Customs will conduct a thorough review of the Inheritance Tax information that has been provided, and this can take several months.

Probate can involve many hours of detailed administrative work, including calculating Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and any other legal work required.

Although the Probate process itself can be relatively straight forward with often only a few forms to be completed, the rest of the procedure that happens before the forms can be filled in can be very time consuming.

If you are named as an Executor in a Will, you will have to make a decision about whether you want to complete Probate yourself without the help of a solicitor or if you are going to instruct someone to help you with the Probate process.

There are pros and cons to both these processes but your decision could help to speed up Probate or slow it down in some circumstances.

For example, if you decide to complete Probate yourself you may think this will speed up the process. Not instructing a Solicitor to help will mean that you can complete Probate more quickly, right? You may think so, however a specialist Probate Solicitor will be an expert and will have completed the procedure many, many times throughout their career. Probate Solicitors know how to deal with any difficulties, or resolve any potential problems that arise, and will be thoroughly familiar with the process so this will help a solicitor to be faster and more efficient than you could be.

If you do decide to complete Probate yourself you will have to spend time researching the Probate process so you understand how it works. If you have specific questions about how Probate works, you may have to call and speak to the Probate and Inheritance Tax Helpline for more information – this all takes time. By utilising the services of a Probate Solicitor, you can cut down on the amount of time you need to spend on completing Probate.

There is an alternative option available though. If you want some guidance on Probate but you are happy to complete the leg work yourself, you could purchase a DIY Probate Kit. Whilst many do-it-yourself Pobate kits usually provide the tools you need to complete Probate yourself along with sample letters, accounts templates and other useful items that will help you to speed up the Probate process; it is important to note that you can be held personally responsible and financially liable for any mistakes made.

You will also need to factor in the complexity and value of the Estate that you are the Executor for. If the Estate has a high value or complex nuances such as property owned abroad it may be best to instruct a Probate Solicitor.

To save money on Probate costs see 3 Ways to Reduce Probate Solicitor Fees.

Co-op Legal Services is the largest provider of Probate and Estate Administration services in England and Wales.

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