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What is Probate? 

When a person has passed away, the banks and other organisations (in the majority of cases) will require a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (referred to in our probate solicitor’s blog as ‘Probate’) to release the funds to a family member or friend of the deceased. 
In some cases, if the amount in the bank is below the bank’s threshold, they may release funds without requiring Probate, although there is no legal threshold for this. To find out what the bank’s threshold is, you will need to contact them directly. 

Contact our Wills & Probate specialists 

What is the difference between Letters of Administration and Probate? 

A Grant of Probate is granted to the executor(s) named in the Will of the deceased. It is basically legal confirmation from the High Court, that the Will is valid, and that the executor(s) have the legal power and authority to deal with the deceased’s estate. 
When you are making a Will, our Probate solicitors will recommend appointing a person, or people, that you trust, and who you feel has the ability to deal with your affairs effectively and as per your wishes. 
Your Executor will have the ability to deal with your estate (all of your assets and liabilities) after your death, and will have the power to cash in and pay out any funds from your assets, before distributing them to your beneficiaries. 
Letters of Administration are similar to a Grant of Probate, but are generally required when the deceased has not left a Will. 
If a couple is married, their spouse or civil partner will generally be the person who applies for Letters of Administration. If they have predeceased, or are not able to do this, then the next people who could apply would be children or grandchildren. If there are no children, grandchildren or remoter issue (great-grandchildren, or great-great grandchildren, etc) then other family members may be entitled to apply for Letters of Administration. 
You can find out more about the Rules of Intestacy on our Probate solicitors’ blog, here
If a person has not made a Will, they have not appointed a specific person as their Executor so there is not automatic authority for a friend or family member to do this, in most cases. 
If the person or people appointed as Executor(s) in the Will are not able to act, or do not want to, commonly one of the beneficiaries will apply to act as Executor. Even though there is a Will, they will apply for Letters of Administration. 
To avoid any issues with your Executor(s) not being able to act, our Probate solicitors would usually suggest appointing a replacement or ‘back-up’ Executor(s). 

What is the process for applying for Probate? 

Regardless of whether you are applying for Letters of Administration or a Grant of Probate, the process is generally the same if the estate is under the Inheritance Tax Threshold (which is currently £325,000.00 or £650,000.00 for a married couple if the assets have passed to each other). 
The Executor(s) or the applicants will need to sign a Statement of Truth (which was introduced in April 2019) to replace the use of an Oath. They will also need to sign an IHT205, an inheritance tax form which outlines what assets the person had, and provide the original Will (if there is one). These forms are then submitted to the Probate Registry who will process the application and issue Probate if they are satisfied that the person is entitled to deal with the estate. 
If the deceased’s estate is worth over £325,000.00, then more intricate inheritance tax forms are required to be completed, which details what assets were owned and what they were worth, which allows any inheritance tax payable to be calculated. The inheritance tax usually has to be paid before Probate can be issued. Our Probate solicitors can go through this process with you, and the draft the forms on your behalf. 

How long does the process of applying for Probate take? 

If the estate is under the inheritance tax threshold and there is a Will, the process can be completed in around 3 months, although this could take longer if the Probate Registry is experiencing any backlogs. 
If the estate is over the tax threshold, it could take 6 to 12 months to complete the whole process, including paying the inheritance tax and obtaining the final Probate document. 
For a more accurate timescale depending on your matter, you can contact our local solicitors, here
If you’ve lost a loved one, contact our team at your local office, here, or email Our team have over 15 years’ experience and can provide you with advice in relation to all types of Probate applications, from simple to more complicated matters. 
Our local solicitors also offer fixed-fee Wills for £140.00 plus VAT (for a single Will) and £240.00 plus VAT (for mirror/two Wills). You can complete our Will enquiry form online to get the ball-rolling. 
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