probate forms

The probate process in the UK in 2020

There are times when people die before they allocate their property to family members. Such cases necessitate a probate process to obtain the grant of representation. Though it might be a lengthy process, by following several rules, you can easily do it on your own.

Before we delve into the topic, let’s take a look into the meaning of probate.

What is Probate?

When someone dies and they leave money and other possessions behind, their loved ones will have to split the property.

This process involves distributing the money and possessions among the loved ones. Applying for probate simply means you will have the right to deal with the affairs of the dead person. Though there are experts who are trained to take care of such matters in the probate registry, you can do it alone, as long as you follow the right procedure.

It is possible to get more information using a genuine probate registry helpline. You must have the letter of administration and the probate form PA1 before you can apply probate.

This will allow you to apply for probate. You will also need to report the value of the estate to HMRC. Make sure you make your payments to the HMRC when it is due.

Here is a short video from us explaining the probate process.

The Cost of Applying for Probate

The probate costs you should consider when calculating the total cost of probate include the fixed cost and the variable cost.

The variable costs involve the cost of experts you will hire to help you with the process. These could be solicitors, banks, or a probate professional. The variable fees can range from 2% to 5% of the entire value of the landed property.

If the estate is worth £100,000, then the variable cost might range from £2,000 to £5,000 with VAT included.

Before you can receive the grant of letters of administration, you have to pay a non-refundable application fee.

Here are some guidelines you should follow

  • In case the dead person had an estate that is worth more than £5,000, you will have to pay a flat rate fee of around £215. You should note that the worth of the estate is calculated after the funeral costs and debts of the deceased have been factored in.
  • £155 is also charged for application done by a specialist or the probate solicitor.

The Variable Fees of Probate

Note that the cost of having an estate administered might vary greatly depending on who is taking part in the process. You can choose to have it done by a bank, a probate specialist, or a solicitor.

The cost ranges from 2.5% to 5%, depending on the institution you use to apply for probate. Some will simply charge higher rates because of their high level of experience. You can run more searches about the variable fees on reliable online and offline sources.

Regardless of the person or institution, you select to help with the process, you will be charged a fixed hourly fee. This is a specific percentage of the entire value of the property. However, in case you are dealing with a small property with low value, you can avoid the probate cost by doing it yourself.

The Actual Cost of Probate

From the illustration above, you can easily see that the cost of probate varies depending on some factors. Then it might be possible to predict the fixed cost. The variable cost is quite complicated and might need some time to compute conclusively.

The variable cost might be too high, especially if you are catering to 5% of the value of the property. For example, if the property is valued at £500,000, you might pay a total of £25,000, including the fixed cost.

You Can Be Helped with the Probate Process

Filling the probate form PA1 can be challenging, especially if you are dealing with a large estate. You can choose to get some help from a bank, or a solicitor. Many other probate specialists can help you complete the probate forms.

You need to make this decision in advance after considering important aspects of the process. Note that depending on the person helping with the process, the cost of the process might vary greatly as explained below.

Probate application form

Solicitors Fees

For solicitors, you can always estimate the entire fee as between 3% and 5% of the entire value of the estate plus the value-added tax. For instance, if you are dealing with a property with a value of £500,000, then you will have to pay the solicitor from £15,000 to £25,000 plus VAT. That said, with VAT, at 20% there will be an increase in the cost to £18,000 and £30,000.

Solicitors charge hourly rates differently, depending on their levels of experience working in probate registry and the number of people involved in your case.

At some point, you will face challenges trying to take care of the estate by yourself. Therefore, you might need assistance from a specialist. Even if your process is complicated, an experienced solicitor will be able to handle it properly.

Bank Fees for Probate

Compared to using probate specialists or solicitors, banks are way more expensive. They will always charge rates that range between 4% and 5% of the value of the estate plus the VAT.

From this illustration, it is quite advisable to use a solicitor or a probate specialist instead of a bank.

Probate Specialists Fees

Probate professionals will always provide services similar to those of solicitors and banks, but they are always cheaper compared to the two. They usually charge between 2.5% and 5% of the entire value of the property, plus VAT.

How Long Does Probate Take?

As soon as you make the request, you should receive a grant of letters of administration and the application form.

The process can take a whole year or even more if you are dealing with a complicated case. Many institutions might be involved in the procedure, and they include banks, insurance companies, and building societies. The more the institutions involved, the longer the process might take. It is vital that you wait until all the companies have received the claims before you commence working on the estate.

Once the probate has been issued, there is a six-month allowance for anyone wishing to make a claim against the property.

Some delays are caused by arguments among family member, personal representatives, and beneficiaries. It is a must that all disputes are settled before the grant of representation is finalised. Many other things might make the process to delay. These include:

  • The possessions of the person who died and where they are at the moment.
  • If the tax of inheritance should be paid.
  • Many elder people make a will before they die, and the rules they outline must be considered.
  • If the person that died had an interest in a firm or a business.

What Happens in Cases where there is a Contentious Probate

Contentious probate refers to any disagreement that is related to the administration of a property that belongs to someone who died.

Regardless of the nature of the dispute, it can affect the entire process. It is advisable that when there is a dispute over a given property, you make sure that it is settled quickly to ensure the safety of the estate.

Most of the time, disputes involve a family member who claims that they deserve more than what they are allocated from the property of someone who died

In case there is a dispute, the person taking care of the case will enter a caveat so that the grant of probate is not taken out. Caveat helps the solicitor to create enough time to see whether a given probate application form is valid. It also allows more time to decide whether the application should be presented before the court.

A good example is a situation where there is a dispute between two or more individuals who have the right to apply for a probe concerning the will.

When is Probate Required?

Whether probate is needed depends on the property that was owned by the decedent and how it was held. It also depends on the law of the area in which the property is located. It is worth noting that even with a will, probate is still necessary. Below are some of the reasons why probate is necessary.

  • In case the elder did not make a will, then probate is a must so that the beneficiaries and identified. They are then given their share of the property following a legal process. In this case, the letter of administration might be provided by the probate court.
  • If there is a valid will that allows the estate (whether big or small) to be distributed as stipulated by the dead person. For the process to proceed successfully, there has to be a probate.
  • Also, there must be probate if there is a problem with an existing will. The common issues include the submission of a will that is not considered as the final, there is a substantial mistake in the Will if it was created when the decedent was not in their right mind, and many other problems that might corrupt the integrity of the will.

The Steps to the Probate Process

If you have never applied probate before, you might not be sure how to go about the process. Have in mind that the timeline of the process depends on the nature of the property. Here are the main steps that you will have to adhere to

1 – File a Petition

To begin the process of obtaining probate, you will have to file a petition.

This request must be filed within the county that the person used to live. Alongside the petition, you must attach a valid will to the probate forms. After the submission, the court of law will decide when the hearing will be done to prove the executor.

You will then be considered the executor of the Will of the senior.

2 – Provide a Notice

You must inform all the creditors, beneficiaries, and heirs that the property is on probate. This can only happen if you have the grant of probate. If the state has a high value, then you may have to publish the notice in a newspaper. You might be asked to do this by the probate office.

3 – Inventory Assets

All the assets that are affected by the probate must be included in a clear list. The list must be presented in court alongside the probate. However, if you are applying for probate online, you will have to scan the original copy and submit it to the probate office or court.

Applying for probate online can simplify the process significantly. You can use the probate registry helpline in case you experience any challenges in the process.

4 – Take Care of Bills and Debts

In case there is money that is owed to the state, ensure that you have them collected on time.

Also, in case there are any bills and checks, you have to confirm them and plan when you will have them settled. It is vital to be sure that the estate has enough assets to clear all the debts before paying them. If there are applicable taxes, you should make sure that they are paid.

5 – Distribute the Remaining Assets

After paying all expenses, claims, and debts, you will hand over the remaining assets to the rightful heirs as indicated in the will. Usually, a large proportion of the assets will be passed on as per the legal order of next of kin.

If the deceased did not leave a will, the assets will be split with regard to the legal order of next of kin as determined by the court.

6 – Close the State

Once you are done distributing the assets, you must have a clear probate record. Take them to the probate court and ensure that the estate is closed and absolved from the role of executor of the Will. You need to have a copy of probate records, in case you need to refer to something urgently.

The Final Word

If you are interested in obtaining probate, you need to ensure that you follow the right steps.

Though it is great to get help from an expert, you can choose to do it yourself, especially when the property does not have a high value. Also, make sure that you have a clear understanding of the law of your county so that you complete the process successfully. In case there is anything that is not clear, you can talk to the experts in your region.

Before getting help from a professional, confirm that they have enough experience in this field.

How we can help you with Probate

No upfront costs |  Fixed fees for peace of mind | 3 different levels of help available

The UK Care Guide has partnered with Trust Inheritance, one of the UK’s leading probate specialists, to bring you a cost-effective and premium level probate service.  Trust Inheritance have won awards for their customer service and this is a key reason as to why we have partnered with them.  

We realise that for many it is essential that probate is completed quickly.  That is why their 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.

The support can be broken down into 3 options.  This allows you to choose how involved you want to be in the probate process and how much support you want.  This really is one of the most flexible services that we have seen.

Option 1 – “Give me a little help” 

Who is this option best for

This option allows those who want to do as much as they can themselves, safe in the knowledge that there is a specialist on hand to help throughout the process.

What help is provided

This is an in-depth, comprehensive, online ‘Do it Yourself’ service, giving you everything you need to ensure you have dealt with the estate in line with your responsibilities and liability as a personal representative; while being supported throughout by our award-winning team of specialist Bereavement Advisers.

This toolkit can be used whether a Grant of Representation (also known as the Grant of Probate, Administration or Confirmation) is required or not, even if a Will was not left. 

Option 2 – “Give me lots of help” 

Who is this option best for

This option would suit someone who is busy with work or family life and still wishes to retain control of dealing with the estate. It would also suit those who are not familiar or confident with legal documents.

What help is provided

In addition to all the benefits of those in option 1 above, we will also Fast Track the Grant of Representation application.

As we are a Trust Corporation, less information is required by the Courts when we apply for the Grant on your behalf.

This means Court fees are reduced saving money against the estate and crucially, the Grant is expedited and issued within weeks of application, rather than months; quickly freeing up funds to cover costs and expenses, as well as allowing interim payments to be made to those who are due to benefit much sooner.

Option 3 – “Do it all for me” 

Who is this option best for

This option is ideal for those who do not feel comfortable with the processes and what is involved when dealing with an estate, or for those who simply do not have the time available to them.

What help is provided

Simply hand everything over to a specialist. You will be assigned a Solicitor, who will deal with the entire matter for you and will be on hand throughout. They will cover everything needed in order to finalise the Estate Administration and to ensure your legal responsibilities are adhered to.

What you need to do next – Book a free consultation

You may already know which of the three options is best suited to your circumstances.  However, we also recognise that this is likely a difficult time for the family and that you may not know what you want to do.

Therefore, please do get in touch for a free consultation to talk you through what you need to do next and what help they can provide.  

Speak to someone to get the support and help you need with probate.  Here is how:

1 – For free initial advice call a Probate Specialist now on – 0800 840 1187

2 – Book an appointment for a call with a Probate Specialist below


3 – Leave your contact details below and we will get in touch

The Probate Process in visual form

Here is an infographic that helps break down, in an easy way, the steps involved in the probate process.

The Probate Process

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.



Do you want to get probate done QUICKLY and for the LOWEST COST possible? If so, we have teamed up with Trust Inheritance to exclusively offer you some of the lowest charges in the UK.    



You can speak to us on

0800 840 1187


Lines open 24/7

Leave your contact details below and we will contact you

You can book an appointment for a specialist to call you when it's conveniant for you

All probate advice and support is provided in conjunction with Trust Inheritance.

Do you need some help with Probate? If so, arrange a free consultation to see how we can help

0800 840 1187


Lines open 24/7