If you have recently lost someone, you now have to deal with probate, so the big question is “How long does probate take UK?” In this article, we explain the steps needed to apply for probate so you can see how long probate is likely to take.
The Probate Process
The overall probate process can be summarised as:
- Obtain a copy of the Will (if there is one).
- Obtain the death certificate.
- Assess whether there is any Inheritance Tax to be paid and file the necessary paperwork and pay any tax due on account.
- Complete the application for probate.
- Receive Grant Of Probate (if there is a valid Will) or Letters Of Administation if there is not.
- Sell any property (often the main cause of delay), collect in all other assets (building society/bank accounts etc).
- Pay any debts (remaining Inheritance Tax, other bills and liabilities.
- Distribute the estate in accordance with the wishes in the Will (or under the law of intestacy if there is no Will).
- Deal with any challenges to the Will – contentious probate. This can add severe delays to the process and seems to be on the rise int he UK.
Causes Of Probate Delays
There are several aspects that can cause the probate process to be extended.
Probate Registry Delays
There can be particularly busy periods for the Probate Registry, often in the Winter or during a pandemic, and during these times, whereas often they can return Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration within 6-8 weeks, this can be extended to 12 weeks or even longer.
Selling the property of the deceased can be another cause for delay to the probate process.
This can often take months or sometimes years if the property market is quiet.
Average Time For Probate?
Here are some average times for probate in the UK:
- A simple estate with no property involved – 3 to 6 months.
- A simple estate with one property involved which sells quickly – 6 – 12 months.
- A more complex estate with many assets to value and collect, and one or more properties to sell – 12 months +
These are, as stated, average times for probate and only to give you some idea of how long probate might take in the UK. Every case is different, of course, but at least you have some idea of how long probate might take.
Can The Probate Process Be Speeded Up?
If you use a solicitor who specialises in probate, they will know how to overcome many of the problems that can be encountered along the way, such as delays with the probate registry and collecting in assets, to speed up the probate process.
With Solicitors Near Me UK, we connect you free of charge with a specialist probate solicitor.
You can talk with them, see if you like what they say, see how much they will charge for probate then decide whether to ask them to help you or not.