Inheritance tax

How long does probate take in 2020 – All the key questions about the probate process answered

The probate process refers to the legal steps of reviewing a will with the aim of determining its validity and authenticity. It can also be defined as the general administration of a deceased person’s estate.

In this guide, we will analyse the concept of probate and the period after which probate is granted.

1 – How Long Does Probate Take?

After the oath swearing, the grant of probate usually takes between 3-4 weeks to be received. The remaining probate process usually takes up to 6 months to complete but can easily go past 12 months. The revenue and customs authority can take up to five months to process capital gains tax and the inheritance tax. You should pay inheritance tax to make sure the process takes the shortest time possible to complete.

Here is a short video that explains a little more about how long probate takes.

 2 – The Probate Process?

Usually, the court appoints an individual who is also called an executor named in the deceased’s will mainly if there’s no Will of garnering the assets, paying the remaining liabilities on the individual’s estate, alongside distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries.

Here is a short video explaining what probate is and what it costs.


3 – What Is the Cost of Probate?

You can read more about the costs of probate here.

In essence, the costs are split into two parts.  There is the fixed fee that you pay to the government and then there is the fee that you pay to a solicitor or probate specialist to deal with all matters.

The fixed fees changed from April 2019.  At present, there is a £215 cost for a probate application fee made by an individual or £155 for applications made by a probate solicitor or specialist.

The fees for using a solicitor or probate specialist will typically range from between 3% to 5% plus VAT.  As an example, if your estate is worth £500,000, then costs will range from £15,000 to £25,000 plus VAT.

Therefore the probate cost will vary depending on the deceased person’s assets and property value. Generally, as you can see, the higher the value of the asset, the more the probate costs.

4 – What is a Grant of Representation?

A grant of representation is a legal document that an individual should acquire to deal with the deceased person’s estate.

This document confirms your legal status and your ability to deal with all things related to the Estate of the person that has died.   You should also note that the grant of representation may still be needed irrespective of whether the person that died left a Will.

5 – Who is allowed to apply for probate?

The testator usually appoints the person who should serve as the executor. If the will of the testator doesn’t nominate such a person, it won’t be possible for one party to apply for probate. In such instances, one of the beneficiaries is allowed to apply for legal documents allowing them to act as administrators.

6 – What is the timeframe to apply for probate?

In England & Wales, there are no time limits for the probate process.   However, there are other aspects of the probate process, such as settling inheritance tax issues, that do have timescales attached.   When applying for probate you first need to make sure you have a grant of probate.   This allows you to deal with their affairs.

When it comes to inheritance tax, this must be deal with within 6 months of the date of death.

Probate case


7 – How long does probate take after a death?

Typically it will take between 6 to 12 months with 9 months being the average time for probate to complete.   If there is a Will in place and the estate is relatively straightforward it can be done within 6 months.  If there is no Will or the Estate can not easily be valued or identified then it can take 12 months and sometimes longer.

 8 – What is the probate valuation?

When a person dies, the assets they owned, including money and property should be evaluated prior to issuing a grant to the executor. This has to be done so you can establish whether there is any inheritance tax owed.

This should be worked on before the assets of the deceased are handed over to the beneficiaries.

9 – What is the Role of the Probate Registry

The Probate Registry is part of the HM Courts & Tribunal Service. Its role is to issue the grants of representation.  As outlined above, this is the legal document that you need to have the legal right to deal with the Estate of the person that has died.

10 – What if you have a Contentious Probate?

It may be challenging for an executor to deal with the administration of an asset. Whether the deal revolves around the beneficiary or an executor, working with a team of solicitors who can contend contentious probate will come in handy for both parties.

Contentious probate refers to a clash relating to the administration of the deceased person’s assets. It may entail an argument over how the will is being interpreted or working with prosecutors who barely understand their role in the administration of the will.

Apply for probate


No upfront costs | Meet with you in your home | Fixed fees for peace of mind | Fast service 

The UK Care Guide has partnered with Co-Op Legal Services, the UK’s leading probate specialists, to bring our site users a cost effective but premium level probate service.  

We realise that for many it is essential that probate is completed quickly.  That is why our dedicated service is designed to speed things up as much as possible for you and consequently reduce the time it takes for probate to be completed.

Our support can be broken down into 2 options.  This allows you to choose how involved you want to be in the probate process.

Option 1 – “Tell me what to do” – Initial advice using this service is ALL FREE

Using this approach means that we provide you with some support and tell you what you need to do.

Co-op Legal Services offer a Bereavement Notification Service, which provides practical advice and assistance following a bereavement. This then allows you to take on much of the work involved with probate.

The Co-op can help with financial matters, such as providing template letters for you to give to the bank, building society, pension provider and other financial institutions about your loss.

The service can also help with stopping unwanted mail, closing social media accounts and giving advice where there has been a referral to the coroner or there is to be an inquest.

For free initial advice call a Probate Specialist now on – 0800 029 4593

Or, you can click here to book an appointment for someone to call you at a time that works for you.  

Option 2 – “Do it all for me” – Initial advice using this service is ALL free

Co-op Legal Services offers a complete Probate Service and will do all the work for you. There are no upfront costs for this service and a fixed fee can be agreed at the outset to give you peace of mind.

They will take full responsibility for getting the Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excluding VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs on your behalf.

A Probate specialist can meet with you in your home or another location (in England or Wales) to explain the Probate process and to answer your questions.

They will provide you with a Fixed Fee Probate quote which is based on the individual circumstances of your loved one’s Estate. The prices are some of the best value in the UK.

There are no upfront costs to pay as all Probate fees are deferred and will be taken from the Estate once it is in funds. 

For free initial advice call a Probate Specialist now on – 0800 029 4593

Or, you can click here to book an appointment for someone to call you at a time that works for you.  

Co-op Legal Services is a trading name of Co-operative Legal Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Book a free consultation with a Co-op Probate specialist

If easier, you can book an appointment on this page, using the calendar below, with a probate specialist.  They will be able to help answer any questions you have and also provide you with more information on the free bereavement support service that they offer.




Summary of the page

1 - How much does it cost to go through probate in the United Kingdom?

The cost will depend on whether you use a probate solicitor, probate professional or a bank. The cheapest is a probate professional. For it to be done properly the costs can typically be anything from £1,000 upwards.

2 - Who can help me through the probate process to make sure it's done correctly?

Firstly, you are able to undertake the probate process yourself. However, most people prefer to get help. You can approach a solicitor or probate professional. The bank can help but they tend to be very expensive. We work with Co-op Legal Services if you need help to do things quickly and cost effectively.

3 - How much money before probate is required?

The threshold for Probate is usually around £15,000. However, this depends on which banks and financial institutions are holding the deceased person's assets. Therefore we recommend you seek legal advice to check whether or not Probate is required.

4 - How long does probate take to do in the UK?

There is no fixed time for the probate process. However, it would typically take between 6 and 12 months. But there are many factors that impact this and when any potential inheritance is released. You can read more about these factors on our site.

5 - When is probate not required?

When someone passes away, it is not automatic that you need to go through a probate process. Estates that have a low value or are made up of assets that were jointly owned do not always require probate.

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All probate advice is provided in conjunction with Co-op Legal Services, which is a trading name of Co-operative Legal Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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