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A wooden house with a tile stating "Probate"; our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster provide a step-by-step guide on what Probate is and how to apply.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is challenging, and the added responsibility of handling their estate can be overwhelming. Whilst there will be matters that you need to deal with first, including the funeral, one of the first legal steps you might need to undertake is applying for Probate. In this article, our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster aim to simplify the Probate process, providing a clear, step-by-step guide on how to apply. 

Contact our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster 

Step 1: What is Probate? 

Probate is the legal process whereby a Will is proved by the Court, and accepted as a valid document that is the final Will of the deceased. In the absence of a Will, the estate is dealt with according to the laws of intestacy, and the Court will confirm that the person applying is authorised to deal with the estate, on a document known as Letters of Administration
Probate involves several important steps: 

Estate Assessment: 

The executor or proposed administrator assesses the deceased's assets (like property, investments) and liabilities (debts, taxes). They will need to prepare an application to be appointed to deal with the estate, known as applying for Probate. Inheritance Tax, or at least a portion of it, is usually paid at this stage, at the same time as submitting the Inheritance Tax application. 

Verifying the Will: 

If the deceased left a will, the court needs to confirm it's valid. This is known as 'granting probate'. Alternatively, the court appoints an administrator, if there's no Will, to handle the deceased's estate. 

Paying Debts and Taxes: 

The executor uses estate funds to pay off debts and any outstanding taxes, including the balance- if any- of Inheritance Tax. 

Distributing the Remaining Estate: 

After debts and taxes, the executor or administrator distributes the remaining assets according to the will or, if there's no will, according to intestacy laws. 
The probate process involves the legal transfer of assets and can be complex, often requiring legal assistance, such as from our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster. Whilst the above steps are an abridged guide of what Probate involves, it is by no means an exhaustive list, and every estate can vary as to what steps are required. Our Probate Solicitors have gone into more detail below. That’s why it is always advisable for executors or administrators to seek expert legal assistance. 

Step 2: Determine If Probate Is Necessary 

Not all estates require probate. Generally, smaller estates with assets held jointly or with pre-nominated beneficiaries, such as pensions, might not need to go through the process. The executor or administrator needs to assess the size and complexity of the estate to determine if probate is necessary. 

Step 3: Locate the Will and Death Certificate 

If probate is needed, obtain the original Will (if the deceased had one) and an original death certificate; your Probate Solicitors in Lancaster will need the originals to be able to assist you. These documents are also essential for the probate application. 

Step 4: Estimate the Estate's Value 

Catalogue and estimate the value of the deceased’s assets and liabilities. This includes property, bank accounts, investments, and debts. 

Step 5: Choose the Right Probate Service 

Depending on the complexity of the estate, decide whether to apply for probate independently or seek professional help from a Probate Solicitor in Lancaster. 

Step 6: Complete the Probate Application 

Fill out the necessary probate application forms. Some applications are now made online; you can find out which on our Probate Solicitors’ article, here. For those that cannot be made online, a paper application will need to be made, which can be downloaded from, here

Step 7: Pay the Probate Fee 

There's usually a fee for applying for Probate, which is currently £273 for the application fee, with an additional £1.50 payable per copy of the Grant required. Ensure you arrange for payment of the fee at the time of making your application, otherwise this could cause delays. When you instruct our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster, we’ll make sure to have the fee ready to pay as we submit your application, ensuring no delays to your Probate matter. 

Step 8: Receive the Grant of Probate 

Once your application is processed and approved, which is currently taking up to 16 weeks according to the Probate Registry, you will receive the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. This legal document authorises you to manage the deceased’s estate. 

Step 9: Administer the Estate 

With the Grant or Letters, you can now legally administer the estate. This involves paying off any debts and distributing the remaining assets according to the will or the laws of intestacy. 

How can MG Legal help? 

Applying for probate can be a detailed and sometimes complex process, but understanding these steps can help make the journey smoother. Remember, every estate is unique, so consider seeking legal advice from Probate Solicitors in Lancaster if you find yourself in uncharted waters. 

Common Probate Questions 

How long does probate take? 

The duration of probate varies depending on the estate's complexity, but typically ranges from 6 to 18 months. 

Can I apply for probate online? 

Many applications for Probate can now be made online, however there are some that the online process cannot accept. Find our Probate Solicitors’ article discussing this, here. 

What if there’s no will? 

If there's no will, the estate is subject to intestacy laws. An administrator, often a close relative, is appointed to manage the estate. 
Remember, handling an estate is a significant responsibility, and it's okay to seek help if you need it from qualified Probate Solicitors in Lancaster. Stay organised, be patient, and take it one step at a time. 

Fixed-fee Probate Solicitors

MG Legal's leading Probate Solicitors offer our Grant of Probate applications on a clear, fixed-fee rate.  
Our team put your first, and work with care to ensure that your wishes are met. Call us today on a free, no-obligation basis at: 01524 581306. 
Get in touch today to speak to our Probate Solicitors. 
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