Probate involves two things: getting a legal document (usually called a ‘grant of probate’ or ‘letters of administration’) that lets you deal with someone’s estate after they die. Then sorting out the estate. We can help with one or both of these, depending on your needs.
This can take a further 3 to 6 months and might include paying inheritance tax (and making sure that HMRC are happy with what you’ve paid), dealing with property, closing accounts and giving out money to the people inheriting it.
For too long, applying for probate has been slow, complex and expensive. We created Farewill to change all that, and we’re proud to be winning awards for our approach.
Top questions about applying for probate
Probate is the legal process you need to go through to deal with someone’s estate when they die. This is often called ‘applying for probate’. After submitting your application to the government, you’ll receive a document that you can take to banks, the Land Registry and other organisations. This gives you the authority to collect assets and distribute funds to beneficiaries.
Probate is required after around 50% of deaths in the UK and can be needed whether there is a will or not. If most of the assets were jointly owned or the estate’s value is less than £10,000, you may not need to apply for probate. In most other cases, applying for probate is an essential step in dealing with someone's estate.
In cases where probate is required, it's the executor's responsibility to apply for probate and deal with the estate. This may include gathering information about the deceased's assets, submitting the probate application, selling property, closing bank accounts and distributing funds to beneficiaries.
Farewill's Essential Probate service can help you get a grant of probate for as little as £595. We also offer a Complete Probate service if you don't have the time or confidence to deal with the estate admin yourself, which we quote for on case by case basis.
If you're happy to sell property, close down bank accounts and distribute money in accordance with your loved one's wishes, your probate fees could be as little as £595 with Farewill’s Essential Probate service. This could save you hundreds compared to the UK average of £1,400.
If the estate you’re dealing with is more complex and you don’t have the time or confidence to deal with all the admin, you may also be interested in our Complete Probate service. This is quoted on a case-by-case basis depending on the complexity of the estate, but is fixed and agreed upfront.
The whole probate and estate admin process can take 3 to 12 months
The exact timelines will depend on the size of the estate, and how complicated it is to sort out. For the most complex cases, the process can take longer than a year.
The first step (getting you the legal probate document) can take 1 to 3 months
This document is called the ‘grant of probate’, or ‘grant of letters of administration’ if there’s no will. For simple cases, we always aim to get this document to you within 30 working days. But because of the way the probate registry works, and delays being caused by COVID-19, it’s currently taking more like 1 to 3 months.
If there is a will, the executors named in the will are responsible for obtaining probate and distributing funds to beneficiaries. In cases where there is no will – or when the executors of the will have died or are unable to deal with the estate – the person who stands to inherit the most usually handles the application.
If the total value of the estate is less than £10,000, you probably won’t need to apply for probate. This is because banks are more willing to release smaller funds and assets without seeing a formal grant from the government.
In some cases, banks and other organisations have been known to release up to £50,000 without seeing a grant. So if you think the estate value is fairly small, check with the specific companies to see what their probate threshold is.
Compared to most probate solicitors, Farewill is faster, more affordable and less hassle. Our legal team submits most probate applications within 7 days for a fixed price of £595 inc VAT. And because everything is handled over the phone, there's no need to visit a probate registry either.
Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult thing to go through, so we’ve created a free guide to help make things a little bit easier. You can see our guide on what to do when someone dies here.
Prefer to talk to a specialist about your situation? Give us a call on 020 3695 2090 – we're here from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 7pm to help.