How Long Does Probate Take In UK? – Complete Guide

Estimated read time 7 min read

Probate is a time-consuming administrative procedure, and since there are so many factors involved, no two cases are exactly alike in their outcomes. This can be frustrating because, in many cases, the reason you require a Grant of Probate is to obtain possession of the assets, either for your own benefit if you are a beneficiary or for the benefit of the beneficiaries if you are acting as an Executor or personal representative on their behalf, which can be a source of frustration.

Do you really need to know how long does the process of probate take? In most cases, the Probate procedure will take 9 months to complete, starting from the date of death and ending when the estate is settled. However, probate proceedings often take between 6 and 12 months to complete, depending on the complexity and size of the estate to which the probate is being sought.

If the decedent left a Will for an uncomplicated Estate, completing the task in six months should be quite simple. However, where a person dies Intestate, that is, without a Will, or when the estate cannot be assessed or recognized, a timescale of 12 months is more likely to be a reasonable expectation. 

How long does probate take? Why?

What is it about the Probate process that takes so long

The length of time that probate takes depends on the size and complexity of the estate, the composition of the estate, and the competency and aptitude of the person or individuals in charge of managing the estate. Therefore, expect the Probate procedure to take longer than you anticipate and to be completed more quickly than you anticipated!

What exactly is probate?

When someone dies away, probate may be necessary. When we say “Grant of Probate,” we are really talking about the “Grant of Representation,” which is formally known as the “Grant of Representation” in England and Wales and the “Confirmation” in Scotland.

Probate is just one step in the larger estate administration process, which includes other steps. Probate gives you the legal authority to carry out the Estate Administration, which includes dealing with real estate, money, and personal belongings, among other things.

In most cases, if the estate is worth more than £5,000, if the deceased owned any property, or if a financial institution (for example, a bank or building society) requires a copy of the “Grant of Representation” in order to transfer the money, probate is needed by law.

If you kept the assets jointly, no probate would be required since they will automatically pass to the surviving husband or civil partner under the Survivorship Rules. Likewise, if you held the assets individually, no probate would be required.

What is the procedure for administering probate?

What is the procedure for administering probate

Probate is normally completed between nine months to a year, depending on the case’s complexity. If you are the executor, the following are the primary actions you must take:

  • Register The death

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, you must register the death within five days of the date of death, and in Scotland, you must do so within eight days of the date of death. This stage is to get a death certificate, which you will require in order to proceed with the execution of a Will.

  • Inform organizations and beneficiaries

call the firms that the dead interacted with, such as their bank, utility company, insurance providers, and so on, so that they may end the account and prevent any extra payments from being incurred. As quickly as practicable, you should notify any beneficiaries who are entitled to a portion of the estate of the deceased person’s estate.

  • Fill up and submit the award of probate and inheritance tax forms

Both of these forms may be accessed and completed on the internet (though you will need to send paper versions of some documents, like the Will). You may find a checklist online to ensure that you don’t forget anything important. It should take around eight weeks; however, it may take longer if any information is missing or wrong on the documents submitted to the court.

  • Pay Inheritance Tax

It may be necessary to take out a loan to pay inheritance tax (since the payment will be due before the estate assets are released). Therefore it’s important to make preparations as soon as possible. Pay any outstanding debts.

  • Debt repayment

This includes obligations such as credit card balances, mortgage or other loan agreements (for their vehicle or furniture, for example) but does not cover school loans. If there isn’t enough money in the estate to pay off the obligation, you may need to come to an arrangement with the creditor to settle the matter.

  • Claim on life insurance

In order to get a payout from life insurance, mortgage, or funeral insurance, the individual who died must contact the issuer of the policy to make a claim for the payout. This cash may be used to pay for the estate tax bill or burial expenses, among other things.

  • Share out the assets

Everything that is left should be distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the desires of the testator’s Will. For example, suppose someone listed in the Will passes away. Their portion of the estate will typically be returned to the estate and distributed among the other beneficiaries unless the Will specifies that their share should be distributed differently.

What is the cost of the probate procedure in the United Kingdom?

What is the cost of the probate procedure in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the average cost of probate is between £1,000 and £5,000 in most circumstances. On the other hand, Larger estates may easily cost upwards of £20,000. This is because various probate solicitors charge their customers in a variety of ways. For example, some suppliers give a fixed-price quotation in advance, but more conventional services prefer to operate on an hourly or percentage-based cost structure.

Another factor contributing to the large disparity in pricing is the quality of service you get. In this section, we’ll go through the two primary alternatives available:

  1. Service provided only on a grant basis

If you’re willing to sell property, terminate bank accounts, and distribute money in line with your loved one’s Will (or the laws of intestacy if there isn’t a will), you might save thousands of dollars by using a straightforward, grant-only estate administration firm. This may normally be completed over the phone, over email, or through the mail, eliminating the need to attend a probate register or take an oath.

  1. Comprehensive estate administration

It’s possible to hire a probate solicitor to handle all of the administrative tasks associated with distributing an estate if you’re uncomfortable with the process or if you believe the estate is just too cumbersome to handle alone. According to the size and complexity of the estate and how many assets need to be handled, costs for this might vary. 

After probate is granted, how long does it take for an Inheritance to be distributed?

After probate is granted, how long does it take for an Inheritance to be distributed

This may vary depending on the intricacy of the case, but in general, recipients can anticipate receiving their inheritance within 6 – 9 months following the grant of Probate in England and Wales. However, we urge our clients to plan on probate taking up to 12 months to ensure that the Probate Registry has had sufficient time to complete the Probate procedure before they die.

Beneficiaries can get their inheritance within three months in the rare scenario if an Estate has no property or just one bank account, and there are no additional complications. 

Wrapping Up 

A financial consultant can assist you in dealing with some of the most difficult parts of probate, such as inheritance tax, life insurance, trusts, and the liquidation of assets (such as investments) in preparation for the distribution of the estate’s assets.

Sarah Cantley

Editorial Head at UK Blog for Business & Startup.

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