How to Apply for a Grant of Probate in the UK

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Avoid the Wait and Receive Money from a Will Early

Typically in the United Kingdom (UK) the named executor for the estate of a deceased person files applications and forms related to the estate.

According to the United Kingdom government website, DirectGov and The Law Society, more than one person, but generally not more than four, can be named as an executor for the same estate. In cases where the deceased had more than £5000 in accumulated wealth and did not leave a will, a spouse or next of kin such as children, parents, siblings or aunts and uncles, may be required to apply for a grant of letters of administration in order to exercise control of any property, investments or savings left behind by the deceased.

The process of applying for a grant of probate can be administratively laborious. It is important that one understand the forms and procedures involved in the process before filing an application.

Work through a Solicitor to Get a Grant of Probate
Check with an attorney or a local law society. Sometimes working through a law society can shorten the amount of time it takes to find an experienced probate attorney. After legal fees have been agreed upon, supply the attorney or solicitor with a signed letter that gives them permission to file for the probate grant on one’s behalf. Allow the solicitor several days to complete the necessary forms and file the application.

For filers who wish to gain additional information about the grant of probate process or who wish to locate an experienced probate solicitor without going through a private attorney, telephone the Solicitors Helpline at 0870 174 2454. The Helpline provides free brief legal advice around a grant of probate.

Apply for a Probate Grant in Person
Visit the Principal Registry in the jurisdiction where the deceased last resided to apply for the probate grant without going through an attorney. Ask for a probate application, Form PA1, and an Inheritance summary, Form IHT205 if the deceased lived in England, Northern Ireland or Wales. Request a probate application and an inventory summary, Forms C1 and C5, if the deceased resided in Scotland.

Ask for Inheritance tax forms IHT400 and IHT421 if the deceased lived in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and their estate is valued at £312,000 or more. Telephone the Probate Registry Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM at 0845 302 0900 to ask questions or voice concerns about the above noted application forms.

Complete Grant of Probate Application
Review the guidance notes at the top of the probate application (Forms PA1 and C1) provided by the Probate Registry. Supply data such as the first and last names of the deceased and the date of death. Indicate the reason that the estate executor is not filing for the probate grant if one does not possess rights of executor. List the immediate relatives of the deceased including children, spouse, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Provide types, names and values of bank accounts and other assets the deceased left. Note one’s relationship to the deceased and whether they left a will. Include the deceased’s occupation and date of birth in addition to the above items on Form C1. After completing the grant of probate application form, pay the applicable fees. Fees may vary depending on the specific form one needs. Mail the completed application to the Probate Registry venue where applicants can also schedule an in-person interview to review the details of the submitted application.

Assess the Value of Probate Inheritance
Supply the name and contact information on the inheritance summaries (Forms C5 and IHT205). Provide the name of the Probate Registry where the grant application was filed. Give the name, residential address and date of death for the deceased.

Answer whether the deceased was married or single. Identify gifts and charges the deceased made over the last seven years prior to their death. Other items one must answer on the inheritance summaries include whether the deceased owned assets outside of the United Kingdom, had a trust fund, paid into a pension and if any of the estate is going to charity.

Apply to Pay Inheritance Tax Associated With the Probate Grant
Complete Forms IHT400 and IHT421 if the deceased’s estate is valued at £312,000 or more. Apply to pay inheritance tax. Provide the name, dates of birth and death, region where the deceased lived at the point of their death, marital status, the names of surviving relatives and whether or not there was a will. Include details from the will.

Provide details for single and jointly owned assets including stocks and shares, national heritage assets, farms, bank accounts, household and personal goods and land the deceased owned. Return the completed and signed forms to the applicable Her Majesty (HM) Revenue and Customs Inheritance Tax Office noted at the bottom of each form. The HM mailing address is different depending on the region where the deceased lived prior to their death.

Schedule an Interview to Review the Grant of Probate
Respond to the Appointment Letter received from the Probate Registry venue that has legal oversight for the area where the deceased lived prior to their death. Schedule an interview to review the submitted grant of probate application.

Arrive 10 minutes prior to the interview. Answer and ask questions related to the estate and the grant. Bring identification such as a valid driver’s license, passport, official bus pass, national health card, state pension notification letter or a council tax bill. Generally, the interview is informal and lasts approximately 15 minutes.

Executors for large estates might find it beneficial to contact a probate attorney or lawyer. Probate lawyers understand the various forms, laws and taxes that impact an estate and a grant of probate. This can save people eligible to receive an inheritance lots of time and effort. Probate lawyer directories list attorneys who have experience working with wills, estates, inheritances, probates and their applicable forms and taxes.