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How Long Does Probate Take Once Submitted?

22nd September 2017

Once the Probate application has been submitted to the Probate Registry, how long it will take before the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is issued, will depend on:

  • Whether any tax is payable
  • Whether any mistakes have been made
  • How busy the Probate Registry office is.

For free initial advice and guidance call our Probate Advisors on 03306069584 or contact us online and we will help you.

Taxable Estates

When you apply for Probate, one of the things you need to do is work out whether or not Inheritance Tax (IHT) is due. If it is, it will usually prolong the Probate application process.

The Personal Representative must advise HM Revenue & Customs that tax is due, and liaise with them over payment. The tax must be paid at the end of the sixth month after the death. When the tax has been paid HM Revenue & Customs will issue a receipt which should be sent to the Probate Registry. Only then will the Probate Registry issue a Grant of Probate.

Therefore it’s a bit of a catch-22 situation, as the Inheritance Tax must be paid before a Grant of Probate will be issued – meaning you don’t have easy access to funds in the Estate. If there is available cash held in bank accounts, banks will normally release funds to settle any Inheritance Tax due. If not, the Executors or Administrators will need to work out another way to pay the Inheritance Tax, perhaps by paying out of their own pocket, getting a loan or setting up a payment scheme.

It can take some time to organise all this, while the extra correspondence needed with HM Revenue & Customs can slow things down.

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*.

Mistakes on Probate Application

When you send your application to the Probate Registry, they will review all the paperwork that has been sent. If anything is missing, or mistakes have been made, the Probate Registry will not be able to issue a Grant of Probate. Instead they’ll advise you of the problem, which you’ll need to rectify. Your application will then be reviewed again.

Probate Registry Offices

All Probate Registry offices are subject to busy periods. This has been particularly true recently as some Probate Registries have closed down, meaning those remaining have shouldered extra work. This can be a major factor in the time it takes, as your local Probate Registry may be working through a backlog.

How Long Can Probate Take?

If you’re really hoping to find an answer, all we can do is share our own experiences with you. We’ve had Grants issued within one week of sending the application off, but this is exceptionally fast. Generally for a simple Estate, two to three weeks would be considered reasonable. It will take longer if Inheritance Tax is payable on the Estate or the Estate is complex requiring a more detailed Inheritance Tax account.

A way of minimising delays is to ask a Probate Solicitor to make the application on your behalf. This will help to ensure that the Probate application is correctly completed, the Inheritance Tax payment is organised, and the supporting paperwork prepared.

To speak with a Co-op Probate Advisor call 03306069584 or contact us online and we will call you.

* We can also pay all the costs of a Co-op Funeralcare funeral, providing the Estate owns sufficient assets which can be sold in due course to repay our costs.

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