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How long does it take for Probate to be granted in the UK?

Updated: Jan 15

It’s not uncommon for the whole process of administering an estate to take up to 12 months or even more. Whilst a Grant of Probate can be obtained relatively quickly, this is only the first step of sorting out the property, pensions, money and other assets the deceased may own.

People’s estates can be complicated and there are large numbers of organisations involved in the process, for example banks, building societies, insurance companies and the Inland Revenue.

The length of time it takes also depends on the experience of the person who is applying for probate and managing the process. If you are doing a DIY version and taking the task on yourself, then it is likely to take longer than an experienced probate solicitor with a legal team behind them.

An estate cannot be fully dealt with until every claim on it has been received. Even then, individuals have six months from the date that probate was granted to make new claims against the estate.

Some of the things that can affect the speed of the process include:

  1. Whether the deceased’s financial affairs were in order and well-documented (Many aren’t).

  2. If the deceased owned a business or a farm? This can complicate things, especially if there are partners.

  3. The contents of the Will and whether it took into account any children or divorce issues.

  4. Whether any legal disputes that have arisen.

  5. Whether inheritance tax (IHT) has to be paid? (If IHT is due, this must ordinarily be paid in advance).

  6. Whether Inland Revenue files have been closed and income tax, benefits agencies and pensions been sorted out,

  7. Family arguments and disagreements between executors and personal representatives (Solomons Solicitors are specialists in contested probate if such issues should arise).

  8. The amount of work your local Probate Registry is currently dealing with

Taxable estates can take a long time to administer. The application process for Probate requires calculating how much Inheritance Tax (IHT) is due to be paid. This is often where the whole process can grind to a near halt because HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) often take months to review the information submitted.

It is important to bear in mind that the Personal Representative has to advise that the IHT is due and communicate with them about payment.

Any IHT other than that relating to real property must be paid before the end of sixth months after the deceased passed away. When the tax has been paid, HMRC will provide a receipt which is sent to the Probate Registry so that they can issue Grant of Probate.

You have to pay Inheritance Tax before the Grant of Probate issued. But you may not easily be able to get funds from the Estate. This is one of the conundrums of getting Probate granted.

Banks and Building Societies may allow you to access any available funds, before Grant of Probate, but not always. So you may have to fund IHT yourself through your own resources, or by getting a loan organised.

All estates are individual. The circumstances vary and this affects the length of time to get the Grant of Probate and administer the estate. This is why a qualified and competent probate solicitor should, in our opinion, be your first port of call.

It is advisable to get Solomons Solicitors on board early, so that we can handle things correctly and efficiently, leaving you to get on with your life, without the worry of making a mistake. We have had many people come to us, halfway through the estate administration process, in frustration and despair.

There are benefits of getting an experienced professional to deal with the matter thoroughly to avoid getting things wrong. Speed is not the same thing as efficiency!

If you are looking for a transparent probate service in Bournemouth, Dorset, Poole or the surrounding area please get in touch.

We will be happy to give you a fixed price Probate service. For more information, or to arrange a no obligation initial appointment, contact our experts on 01202 802 807.

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