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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
What information do you need before applying for probate?
Our probate specialists are here to help and can offer you a free, no obligation quote over the phone.