When is probate required?

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.

When is probate required?

Probate is usually required if the estate of the person who died is worth more than £10,000. However, if most of the assets in the estate were jointly owned, probate may not be needed at all.


When is Probate Required

Need help with probate?

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

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    Probate definition

    Probate is the legal process you need to go through to deal with someone’s estate when they die. After going through this process, you’ll receive a government-approved 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.

    Depending on your specific situation, you’ll either need a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration. In some cases, probate may not be required at all – but we’ll come back to that a bit later.

    If you think you might need probate, you can use our free online tool to check.

    How much money can someone leave before probate is required?

    Banks and financial institutions
    Aviva – £50,000
    AXA – £10,000
    Bank of Ireland – £10,000
    Bank of Scotland – £25,000
    Barclays – £50,000
    Birmingham Midshires – £25,000
    Britannia – £30,000
    Cheltenham & Gloucester – £25,000
    Co-op Bank – £30,000
    First Direct – £20,000
    Halifax – £50,000
    HSBC – Decided on a case-by-case basis
    Lloyds TSB – £50,000
    M&S Money – £15,000
    Nationwide Under £5,000 – no Grant of Probate is required
    £5,000 – £30,000 – a certified copy of the Grant of Probate is required, or alternatively the ‘close account’ form will need to be witnessed by a Solicitor.
    Over £30,000 – the original Grant of Probate is required
    Natwest – £25,000
    NS&I (National Savings / Premium Bonds) – £5,000 to £15,000 depending on the Will and the number of Executors.
    Post Office – £10,000
    Royal Bank of Scotland – £25,000
    Sainsbury’s Bank – £20,000
    Santander – £50,000
    Skipton Building Society £15,000
    Tesco Bank – £25,000
    Woolwich – £15,000
    Yorkshire Building Society – £30,000

    Do I need probate?

    Probate is required after around 50% of deaths in the UK and can be needed whether there is a will or not. Here are two things you can do to try and find out if you need probate:

    1. Work out the value of the estate

    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.

    2. Find out if the assets are jointly owned

    The next thing to find out is how the assets are owned. If all the assets in the estate are jointly owned – such as property, bank accounts and savings – these will automatically pass to the surviving co-owner. This means that you won’t need to apply for probate to release these assets, you’ll just need the death certificate.

    However, you may still need to apply for probate if the property was owned as tenants in common, or if there are other solely owned assets within the estate. This may include things like bank accounts, shares, pensions and life insurance policies.

    3. Get a free probate consultation

    If you need help working out whether you need to apply for probate, you can speak to one of our probate specialists for free by calling 0808 188 9008. We’ll talk through your situation for a few minutes and offer guidance on the estate you’re dealing with.


    Do I need probate if there's a will?

    Probate can be needed whether there’s a will or not. If the estate you’re dealing with is worth more than £10,000 and includes a number of solely-owned assets, then you probably need probate.

    However, if the estate you’re dealing with is worth less than £10,000 or is only made up of joint assets (such as a mortgage or joint bank account), then you may not need probate.

    To find out if you need probate, call our friendly team today on 0808 188 9008

    When isn't probate required?

    Probate isn’t usually required if the estate is worth less than £10,000. This is because most banks and building societies will release funds under £10,000 without seeing a grant of probate.

    Another scenario where probate may not be needed is if most of the assets are jointly owned. This is because assets like joint mortgages and savings accounts automatically pass to the surviving owner.

    How to apply for probate

    Once you’ve worked out that you need probate and built up a good picture of the assets and debts within the estate, you should start your application as soon as possible. The government can take a little while to approve applications, so the sooner yours is submitted, the better.

    When it comes to applying for probate with Probate  Specialist, you’ll have a choice between two different options:

    1. Getting the grant

    The cheapest option is simply to get the grant of probate or letters of administration. For this, Probate Specialist quotes a fixed-price of just £499 – or £899 for more complex cases. This is a great choice if the estate is fairly straightforward, you have plenty of free time and you’re good with numbers.

    After a brief consultation over the phone, we’ll set up a follow-up call to record all the necessary information about the estate. Once we have everything we need, our legal team will complete the application and tax forms, then we’ll send this to you for your approval before submitting it to the probate registry.

    Once we receive the grant, we’ll send it out in the post, then you’re free to sort out the estate yourself – including selling property, paying off debts, closing bank accounts and distributing assets.

    2. Full estate administration

    If you’re short on time, want more support or feel that the estate is too complex to take on yourself, we also offer a full estate administration service. This reduces the burden on you and your family and gives you the assurance that the estate is being dealt with correctly.

    Here’s a brief breakdown of what’s included with full estate administration:

    • Contacting third parties about the assets and debts in the estate
    • Completing the application for probate
    • Collecting or transferring assets
    • Paying off debts to include taxes
    • Contacting beneficiaries and ensuring that they receive their inheritance

    As full estate administration is a more involved service, our pricing varies on a case-by-case basis. Call our probate specialists today on 0808 188 9008 for a free quote.



    • Probate is usually needed if the estate of the person who died is worth more than £10,000.
    • If most of the assets in the estate were jointly owned – such as a joint mortgage or bank account – probate may not be needed.
    • If you need help working out if probate is needed, you can speak to our friendly specialists by calling 0808 188 9008

    Do I need probate if my husband or wife dies?

    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

    ICO Reg Number ZA807624

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