GUIDE

How long does probate take in the UK?

The amount of time it takes to apply for probate and deal with your loved one’s estate can vary depending on how complex it is. The entire process can take anywhere from three months to a year from start to finish, and probate for more complex estates could take even longer than this. This article will help you figure out how much time probate should take for you and why.

For free initial advice call our Probate advisors or request a callback and we will contact you.

Your guide to Probate

Part 1

If there is a will

Most of the time, your loved one will have told you that they have written a will and named you as executor. If this is the case, then you are eligible to apply for a grant of probate. If you are unsure who they named as executor, it should be listed in the will.

In some cases, the named executor will be unable to carry out their duties. This might be because the executor has died or lacks the mental capacity to handle the estate due to illnesses such as dementia. Another possibility is that the executor is alive and well but refuses to apply for probate. In these cases, the court will name an administrator. Usually, this is the beneficiary who stands to inherit the most of what was left in the will.

If there is a will

Part 2

How long does the application take?

You will need to gather a lot of information about your loved one’s estate before you can send your probate application off. If the estate is small and straightforward there will be less information to gather and you might be able to submit your application in just one week. On the other hand, probate applications for larger, more complex estates with multiple bank accounts, savings accounts, pension funds, taxes and debts could take up to two months. Before you apply for probate, there are several things that you should do to speed up the process:

  1. Use the government’s ‘Tell Us Once’ service – available in England, Scotland, and Wales – to notify them of your loved one’s death.
  2. Locate the will – if there is one – and ensure that it is not tampered with
  3. Determine whether your loved one included an inventory of their assets and funds in their will. If they did not, you should start looking through their paperwork and writing a list of all the assets they owned.
  4. If there is no will, you should look for any birth, death, marriage, or divorce certificates that can prove that you are the person who should be applying for probate.
  5. Get in touch with relevant financial institutions as soon as possible to let them know of your loved one’s death and ask them to value and freeze their assets.
  6. Have any property valued, preferably with a RICS qualified surveyor or estate agent.
  7. Hire a professional service such as Kwil, which will help you prepare your application. Probate applications involve a lot of confusing language and forms, which can be confusing and worrisome for those concerned about making mistakes that might delay the application.

This process should take the same amount of time whether there is a will or not, as the information that you are gathering is the same in either case. The application will be much quicker if you are a close relative of the deceased and already know a lot about the value of their estate.

How long does the application take?

Part 3

How long does it take to get probate after applying?

After submitting your application, you will likely be waiting for three to six weeks for it to be approved, at which point you will receive a physical copy of your grant of probate in the post. This amount of time depends on the size and complexity of the estate, but it can also take longer if there is a backlog of applications or if there are any hold-ups with your application. Therefore, it is important for you to gather as much information about the estate as you can before submitting your application.

Currently, there is a backlog of probate applications due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is causing a delay. This means that it might take two to three months for your application to be approved.

How long does it take to get probate after applying?

Part 4

How long does it take to deal with an estate?

Dealing with your loved one’s estate is the lengthiest part of the probate process. It takes most people three to six months to complete. Below is a list of some of the duties you will have after probate has been approved.

  1. Selling any property or transferring ownership to the beneficiaries
  2. Accessing pension funds
  3. Submitting an inheritance tax return
  4. Paying any outstanding debts
  5. Closing any bank accounts and collecting the funds together
  6. Paying any due taxes
  7. Claiming on life insurance policies
  8. Distributing assets and funds to the beneficiaries of the will

Many people choose to hire a professional to help with handling the estate. This won’t always make the process quicker, but it will ensure that no mistakes are made, and it is useful for those who don’t have a lot of free time to complete these tasks.

How long does it take to deal with an estate?

Part 5

How long does it take to receive inheritance money?

If there are multiple beneficiaries, all assets and funds will need to be gathered into one place before they can be distributed. This process can take up to six months to complete but is relatively straightforward for the administrator to accomplish. If you are the main beneficiary of your loved one’s estate and you are acting as administrator or executor, this process could take as little as one month.

How long does it take to receive inheritance money?

For free initial advice call our Probate advisors or request a callback and we will contact you.