Grant of Probate
Many organisations require you to obtain a Grant of Representation before you can close bank accounts, sell shares, cash investments or sell/transfer property.
We have a wide range of experience in obtaining all types or grants of representation.
What is a grant of probate UK?
A Grant of Probate is a document which gives legal authority to the Executors named in the deceased’s Will. The Grant of Probate is often necessary to sell the deceased’s assets which are held in their sole name. It proves to organisations that it is safe to take instructions from the Executors.
If the deceased held assets in other legal jurisdictions then it may be necessary to reseal the UK Grant of Probate.
Do I need a grant of probate?
You may need to apply for a grant of probate if you are selling the deceased’s property, closing their bank accounts or selling their shares.
How much does a grant of probate cost?
It depends on whether you instruct your solicitor on a fixed-fee basis (i.e. £800 plus VAT) or if you agree an estimate on the basis of their hourly rate i.e. four to five hours at £210 plus VAT per hour.
The solicitor will estimate how long it will take them to draft the paperwork. So the cost depends on how much time is needed to collect the information and the complexity of the application.
If the Estate is liable for Inheritance Tax or if there is a variety of different banks accounts or shareholdings then the application process is more complicated and the solicitor will spend longer working on it. This time will be reflected in the estimate. So, an estimate for a simple Estate costs less than a complicated Estate.
How long does it take to get a grant of probate?
This is dependent on the complexity of the Estate. To apply for Probate you need to obtain valuations of a person’s assets and liabilities. This includes writing to every bank with which they held accounts. A person may own a variety of assets and you have to wait for each organisation to respond to your request for a valuation. For example, if a person held shareholdings in the US you have to wait for each share registrar to post the information to you and this can take weeks.
It can also take time to arrange valuations of properties by estate agents or surveyors. You may even need to value the deceased’s personal belongings.
On this basis, it can take several months to collate all the relevant information. However, if you are familiar with the deceased’s assets then this process is much quicker.
Once the information has been collected, the solicitor usually drafts the paperwork in two weeks. The application is then sworn and sent to the Probate Registry and they usually prepare and send the Grant in 2-3 weeks.
If there is Inheritance Tax due then it can take time to arrange payment of the tax. The calculation also has to be agreed with HM Revenue & Customs which slows down the process sometimes by several months.
Applying for probate without a solicitor.
It is possible to apply for probate without using a lawyer to help you. You can apply directly to the Probate Registry and HM Revenue & Customs. However, it is often sensible to ask for assistance. A lawyer can advise on the validity of a homemade Will. If there are potentially problems in proving the Will then a lawyer can assist by preparing affidavits in support of the application. A lawyer can also advise on the best way to approach calculating and paying Inheritance Tax. There may be reliefs and exemptions of which you are not aware that will reduce the overall liability.