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What is a Grant of Probate?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

If you should die with a valid Will in place, the named executors in the Will may need to apply for a Grant of Probate in order to deal with any assets of value in the Estate.

Probate may not apply if the Estate has a low value, or if jointly owned property and assets are passing to the surviving partner of the deceased.

What does a Grant of Probate Do?

The grant of probate is a legal document. It confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the estate of the deceased.

This authority will enable the Executor to manage the deceased person’s assets, including money, property and belongings.

The Grant of Probate will give the Executor authority to close down accounts and collect in the proceeds, pay off any liabilities in the Estate and then eventually pay the beneficiaries named in the will.

A Roadmap to Estate Administration

Following the death of an individual, the Executors may have to carry out the below tasks in order to complete the Estate Administration:

  • Registering the death
  • Arranging a funeral
  • Ascertaining the value of assets and liabilities
  • Arranging the valuation of any properties
  • Applying for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
  • Settling liabilities such as utilities, care fees, overpayments of pension
  • Paying Inheritance/Income/Capital Gains tax
  • Paying beneficiaries their entitlements
  • And many more tasks…

The length of time probate takes can vary, depending on the complexity of the individual estate, but typically, a simple Estate can take around nine to twelve months to be finalised. If the Estate is complex, the administration can take years to finalise.

What Happens if There is No Will?

If a deceased person dies without a Will, the rules of intestacy apply and the next of kin will be entitled to obtain Letters of Administration in order to administer the Estate. Like when obtaining a Grant of Probate, the next of kin will apply for this at the Probate Registry.

After the court has issued Letters of Administration to the next of kin, it will be their task to administer the estate.

Dying without a Will and leaving your Estate to follow the intestacy rules can cause a multitude of complications. Namely, dying intestate means that if you are unmarried but in a relationship at the date of your death, your partner will not have any legal authority to deal with your affairs.

This is the case even if you have been cohabiting with your partner prior to your death. This could mean that those appointed to act in your Estate may not have been close to you during your lifetime and as a result may not follow your wishes.

In these types of circumstances, the Estate Administration can be unnecessarily prolonged, with family members in dispute over who is best-positioned to manage the deceased’s affairs.

Therefore, it is our advice to ensure you have a valid Will, so that on your death, the Administration the Estate is likely to be less complicated.

Do You Need a Solicitor for Probate?

Some estates are simple and straightforward and as a result there isn’t much to be sorted on death. However, where an estate is more complicated, with multiple beneficiaries, then having the right kind of professional legal advice and support can be very useful.

Typically, if you are having to pay inheritance tax in the Estate, then it would be advisable to seek professional advice to guarantee that you are paying the correct amount of tax.

Furthermore, should a beneficiary within an Estate contest a will then obtaining legal advice and appointing a representative on your behalf will assist with keeping the probate process on track and aid the family with resolving any issues.

Nevertheless, if you’re an executor, you can apply for a grant of probate yourself which is a slightly different process to the procedure which a legal professional has to follow.

For more details about how we can help you with wills, probate and trusts, please contact us.

Bethany Kay


Bethany Kay

Associate FCILEx

Bethany is an Associate in our Private Client Team and a FCILEx (Fellow – Chartered Legal Executives). CILEX Fellowship Grade offers Chartered Legal Executives ‘Authorised Person’ status with independent regulation. Since joining the firm in 2015, Bethany has considerable experience in dealing with all manner…