How long does probate take?

Applying for probate can be a Stressfull and Exhausting task, but our specialists are here to make it feel simple. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about going through probate and dealing with someone’s estate.

How long does probate take?

Probate on average takes 1-3 months depending on the complexity of the estate and also any delays at HMRC or the Probate Registry.  It can then take up to about 6 months to 12 months to close accounts, sell the property and pay taxes.

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    The complete 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 a grant of probate with a will?

    1 month to 3 months

    The amount of time it will take for you depends on a number of factors, including:

    Whether there’s an inventory of assets included within the will.
    The size and complexity of the estate.
    How much you already know about the assets in the estate.
    The time it takes your probate provider to prepare the application.

    Before your application can be submitted, there are a number of steps you may need to follow, including:

    Using the government’s Tell Us Once service.
    Getting the property valued
    Looking through paperwork to find out where the 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. 

    How long does it take to apply for a grant of probate without a will?

    1 month to 3 months

    It usually takes somewhere between 1 and 3 months to apply for a grant of probate without a will.

    If you’re the spouse of the person who died and already knows a lot about the assets in their estate, your application could be prepared and sent to the probate registry within a few weeks.

    However, if you need to search through paperwork, track down accounts, get a property valued, and find out about any debts, it could take a couple of months to get all the information together before you can start your probate application.

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

    3 – 12 weeks

    Once your application has been submitted to the probate registry, it takes between 3-12 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?

    3 – 6 months

    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 the 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 long does it take to get inheritance money after probate is granted?

    1 – 6 months

    It can take anywhere from 1-6 months to get inheritance money after probate has been granted.

    If you’re the executor or administrator of the estate and the main beneficiary, you could start receiving your inheritance as soon as you start closing accounts and gathering funds together.

    However, if the inheritance needs to be shared between a number of beneficiaries named in the will, it’s better to pool everything together in one place before distributing any funds. This usually means people need to wait a bit longer for their inheritance, but it makes things much more straightforward for you if you’re administering the estate.

    How long is probate taking at the moment?

    6 – 16 weeks

    According to the probate registry, the current delay is around 6-8 weeks, taking the total processing time to 10- 16 weeks. This has been caused by an increase in applications during the coronavirus pandemic.

    However, our probate specialists have had many grants approved in less than 8 weeks during this time, so there’s a good chance you won’t have to wait the full 16 weeks but we cannot guarantee this time as times are always changing. 

    How much does the probate process cost?

    In most cases, probate costs somewhere between £1,000 and £5,000 in the UK. 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 probate administration

    If you’re uncomfortable handling all the admin that comes with distributing the estate, or you feel like the estate is simply just 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 Probate Specialist, we offer a grant-only probate service for just £499 – or £899 if the case is more complex. We also offer a fixed-price full probate administration service, with prices starting at £1,899 and more complex situations at £2,699 we do however quote these services on a case-by-case basis. You can get an instant quote for Probate Full Administration and grant only probate below.

    Why does probate take so long?

    In short, the answer to why probate takes so long is, quite simply, because it’s so complicated. It involves a lot of research, a lot of back and forth with financial organisations, and some fairly complex probate and tax forms.

    But while there are some things you can’t change (like the current backlog at the probate registry), there are a few ways you can speed up the probate process:

    Check if there’s an inventory of assets with the will or stored with other important paperwork – this can make it much easier to track down old pensions or savings accounts.
    If you can’t find an inventory, search through paperwork as soon as you can to make a list of the assets within the estate.
    If there’s a will, track it down as soon as possible and make sure it isn’t tampered with – this includes unbinding it or adding any markings
    If there isn’t a will, you may need certificates to prove you’re the right person to apply for probate, so it can be helpful to find copies in advance – e.g. birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates (i.e. decree absolute)
    Contact financial organisations straight away to notify them of the death, and ask for confirmation of the date of death valuations for all assets and debts
    Get the house valued as soon as possible – you can find out more about valuing assets for probate here
    Don’t apply for probate yourself unless you’re comfortable with all the jargon – the smallest mistake could add months of delays at the probate registry.
    Choose a probate service who can guide you, prepare your probate application and submit it to the probate registry in good time
    At Probate Specialist, we gather all the information we need as soon as you’re ready and get it over to our legal team. They’ll then prepare and send the application to HMRC in the first instance in as little as 5 business days. We will then process your probate application through the probate registry.  A High Court document will then be produced which you will have to sign.

    Once everything has been signed and sent back, it’ll be submitted to the probate registry for approval.

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    What information do you need before applying for probate?

    You can call free on 0808 188 9008 or you can call us on 0207 965 7568 local call charges apply 

    Probate Specialist Limited, 5th Floor, 167-169 Great Portland Street, Marylebone London, W1W 5PF

    Probate Specialist Limited 126, High Street , Marlborough SN8 1LZ

    For general email purposes you can email email@probatespecialistltd.co.uk or london@probatespecialistltd.co.uk

    You can also email your specialist directly on specialistname@probatespecialistltd.co.uk

    Probate Specialist Limited, The Office, 21 Ferozeshah Road, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 2JQ

    Company Number: 13015149

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