What Documents Do I Need When Applying for Probate?
08 November 2017
When a probate application is submitted to the Probate Registry (Court), there are several documents and forms that will need to be included. These documents provide essential information on the estate, such as its value and how it will be distributed to the beneficiaries.
Documents and forms to include when applying for probate
The documents and forms that will need to be submitted with a probate application are:
A probate application form PA1
An Inheritance Tax form (details below)
The original will along with any codicils (which are any additions or amendments to the will)
Applying for Probate yourself? Then you will also need to submit the Probate application form PA1 along with an official copy of the death certificate. Please note that if you deal with Probate yourself you can be held financially liable for any loss resulting from any mistakes made during the Estate Administration process.
Applying for Probate through our Probate Solicitors? Then we they will submit all of the above documents to the Probate Registry on your behalf.
When sending the above documents, the Probate application fee of £215 should be paid to the Probate Registry, unless the total value of the Estate is under £5,000. If Co-op Legal Services submits the Probate application on your behalf, then you will only need to pay a Probate Registry fee of £157.50
With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for obtaining Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excl VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs*.
* 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.
Probate application form PA1P
If you choose to apply for a Grant of Probate yourself, and not use a solicitor or professional probate provider, the first form you will need to complete is a Probate PA1 application form. You can download form PA1P from GOV.uk.
The PA1P form is 12 pages long and requires a lot of information about the person who has died, along with details of the person who is applying for the Grant of Probate.
Once form PA1P has been completed and signed, it needs to be sent to one of the Probate Registry offices with the Probate application fee, details of which can be found here.
Completing the inheritance tax Form
The inheritance tax form will need to be submitted with your probate application. An inheritance tax form needs to be completed even if no inheritance tax is payable on the estate. There are two different types of inheritance tax form:
Form IHT205 Return of Estate Information
This is the shorter inheritance tax form, which will need to be completed if no inheritance tax is payable. We explain below how to calculate whether inheritance tax will be payable.
Form IHT400 Inheritance Tax Account This is the longer inheritance tax form, which will need to be completed if inheritance tax is payable. There are also separate forms called schedules which ask for information about different assets in the estate. The relevant schedules will need to be completed too and sent in with the IHT400 form.
How to know which inheritance tax form to complete
The total value of the estate will need to be calculated, and inheritance tax won't be payable if the value is less than or equal to £325,000. This is the excepted estate limit, or nil rate band. If the gross value of the estate is below or equal to the limit, then it won't be liable for inheritance tax. This is known as an excepted estate.
If the person who died was married or in a civil partnership with someone who died before them, the excepted estate limit might be higher. This is because their spouse's unused £325,000 can be added to their own £325,000, bringing the limit to £650,000.
A claim to transfer to the unused £325,000 nil rate band will need to be attached to the application. The form that will need to be completed to transfer the unused nil rate band is called an IHT217. For more information, see Transferring Inheritance Tax Allowance case study.
If the whole of the estate is being left to a spouse, civil partner or charity ad is worth under £1 million, there will be no inheritance tax to pay. This is because anything being left to these beneficiaries is exempt from inheritance tax.
If one of the above criteria is met, the IHT205 can be completed and sent to the Probate Registry. If the estate does not meet this criteria, then inheritance tax will be payable and the longer IHT400 will need to be completed.
The grant of representation
Once the Probate Registry has received all of the necessary forms, and the Registrar has confirmed that everything is correct, they will issue the grant of representation.
Once the grant of representation has been issued the people named on it will be able to sell or transfer the estate assets and settle any debts or liabilities, before distributing what’s left to the beneficiaries.
If the deceased left a Will, this will be held by the Probate Registry and become a public document that anyone can ask for a copy of, much like Birth or Marriage Certificates.
The probate and estate administration process can take anywhere from 6 months to over a year to complete. It depends on the complexity of the estate, and whether they are any claims made against the estate.
If you deal with probate yourself, you can be held financially responsible for any mistakes made.
Please note that if there is inheritance tax to pay, some of the tax will need to be paid before the grant of representation is issued.