all the steps in the probate process

How long does probate take?

Traditionally, applying for probate has been a complex, expensive process that can take many months to get sorted. But there are now options available to help make things quicker, simpler and more affordable.

  1. How long does it take to apply for probate?
  2. How long does it take for a probate application to be approved?
  3. How long does it take to deal with someone's estate?
  4. How much does the probate process cost?
  5. How do you get probate?

The probate process can take anywhere from 3-12 months – sometimes even longer in more complex cases. This covers everything from collecting information about the estate to distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Here, we’ll go through each of the steps in detail so you know exactly what to expect.

How long does it take to apply for probate?

In order to apply for probate, you need to start by gathering information about your loved one’s estate. If the estate is quite small and simple, this may only take a few hours. However, if there are multiple accounts, pensions and properties to deal with, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months to gather all the necessary information.

This may involve things like:

  • Using the government’s Tell Us Once service
  • Getting the property valued
  • Looking through paperwork to find out where money is kept
  • Speaking to banks, pension providers and other financial organisations to find out how much is in each account
  • Gathering information about any debts or gifts given in the last seven years
  • Finding out how much tax is owed

Once you’ve gathered all of these details in one place, you’re ready to start your probate application. You can find out more about the information you need to apply for probate here.

How long does it take for a probate application to be approved?

Once your application has been submitted to the probate registry, it takes between 3-6 weeks for it to be approved – sometimes longer if the estate is particularly complex. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you or your probate solicitors can do to speed up this part of the process.

After your grant has been approved, it will be sent out in the post. You’re then ready to start dealing with the estate.

How long does it take to deal with someone's estate?

Depending on the complexity of the estate, it usually takes 3-6 months to sell off property, close bank accounts and distribute the assets to any beneficiaries. Using a professional for full estate administration doesn’t necessarily speed this process up, but it does help to take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Here are some of things you may need to do when administering the estate:

  • Complete an inheritance tax return and pay any taxes due – such as inheritance tax, income tax or capital gains tax
  • Put the house on the market and oversee the sale
  • Close bank accounts and collect funds in one place
  • Contact pension providers to access funds
  • Claim on any life insurance policies
  • Repay any outstanding debts owed by the deceased
  • Distribute funds to the beneficiaries

How much does the probate process cost?

In most cases, probate costs somewhere between £1,000 and £5,000. However, larger estates can easily cost upwards of £20,000. This is because different probate solicitors charge their clients in different ways. Some offer a fixed-price quote upfront, while more traditional providers tend to work on an hourly rate or percentage basis.

Another reason for the huge difference in price is the type of service you receive. Here, we’ll cover the two main options available:

1. Grant-only service

If you're happy to sell property, close down bank accounts and distribute money in accordance with your loved one’s will (or the rules of intestacy if there isn’t a will), you could save thousands by choosing a simple, grant-only probate service. This can usually be dealt with over the phone, email and post, so there’s no need to visit a probate registry or swear an oath.

2. Full estate administration

If you're uncomfortable handling all the admin that comes with distributing the estate, or you feel like the estate is simply too complicated, you may choose to pay a probate solicitor to do this for you. The fees for this can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate, and how many assets need to be dealt with.

How do you get probate?

At Farewill, we offer a grant-only probate service for just £595 – or £1,045 if the case is more complex. We also offer a fixed-price estate administration service, but this is quoted on a case-by-case basis.

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Need help with probate?

Our probate specialists are here to help and can offer you a free, no obligation quote over the phone.

Call 020 3695 1713
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