The probate process

How long does probate take?  Unfortunately the timescale for dealing with an estate can vary greatly from estate to estate. For example if you are dealing with a relatively straight forward estate, from our appointment to deal with applying for probate, making a final distribution could be anywhere between 12 to 18 months. Similarly we have known estates to be finalised years after the deceased passed away.

What we will aim to do is to advise you as the estate progresses if we expect there to be any unforeseen delays. Please be aware that you may still need to instruct a solicitor to deal with certain aspects of the estate. For example if a property needs to be transferred from the deceased to a beneficiary, a solicitor will be required to complete the relevant land transaction forms to register the new legal title with the land registry.

We are only licensed to deal with non-contentious probate. If we believe an estate is or could become contentious we will advise you that you need to seek a solicitor to take over dealing with the probate administration for the estate until any issues are resolved.

Stages of dealing with an Estate

  • Initial meeting to discuss the complexity of the estate and our involvement and the level of input required from us (free of charge)
  • Sending notifications of death to the relevant government organisations, financial institutions, utility providers and other third parties as required.
  • Checking validity of will, codicils and legacies
  • Prepare the necessary affidavits, for example seeking confirmation that executors are certain that the will presented is the last known will of the deceased
  • Identify beneficiaries based on the provided information
  • Advise whether a grant is required
  • Writing to relevant third parties to establish exact quantities of assets held i.e. shares or values of assets i.e. bank accounts, ISA’s etc.
  • Obtaining valuations of assets i.e. land, property
  • Finalise the income tax and capital gains tax position of the deceased for the period from 6 April to date of death.
  • Ascertaining liabilities and expenses, funeral expenses, electric, gas etc.
  • Collating relevant evidence for gifts made in the seven years prior to death
  • Completion of probate application (PA1) and submission of the same
  • Preparation and submission of inheritance tax forms (IHT), if required, including calculation of the inheritance tax liability
  • Place statutory notices in The London Gazette and local newspaper
  • Prepare and take any appropriate oaths
  • Obtain the grant
  • Take control and gather assets of the estate
  • Pay debts of the estate, including tax liabilities
  • Calculation of tax liabilities for the period of administration
  • Pay any legacies
  • Transfer the remaining balance to residuary beneficiaries
  • Preparation of estate accounts
  • Preparation of forms R185 for beneficiaries
  • Dealing with any corrections that need to be made to the original IHT forms


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