Personal Law

How Long Does Probate Take?

Estimated read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, July 28, 2021

Probate is not something you want to deal with – it means that you have lost a loved one. But it’s an essential part of making sure their estate is managed properly and their final wishes are carried out.

So what is probate? And how long does it take to sort out?

What is probate?

Probate is the process of being granted permission to deal with someone’s estate after they are gone.

You’ll receive a grant of probate if your loved one left a Will. If there is no Will, you’ll receive letters of administration instead.

If the person who has passed away left a property or other assets behind, probate will usually be needed to deal with these issues.

Not everyone needs probate. For example, if you were married or in a civil partnership, a home or assets will probably be passed to you, meaning there is no need for probate.

But if your spouse owned a property or bank account in their name only or you were tenants in common, this is more complicated. In these situations, you’ll probably need probate to gain full ownership or access any money.

Banks will require a grant of probate for you to access your loved one’s savings if they had above a certain amount of money. The amount depends on the specific bank, but most are between £20,000 and £50,000.

How long does probate take?

There is no set timeframe for how long probate takes to be granted, as uncertain as this sounds.

The government has said that because of the Covid-19 pandemic – which resulted in many offices closing – probate applications are taking up to eight weeks to process.

But that doesn’t mean that when you apply, you’ll wait exactly eight weeks to receive a grant of probate. There could be other delays that extend this period.

Many in the probate industry agree that it can take around nine months to receive a grant of probate, with some saying it can take six months and others saying 12 months.

What affects how long probate takes?

The length of time you’ll wait for probate to be granted will depend on the situation around your loved one’s estate. Some estates will have probate granted much faster than others since they are more straightforward.

For example, you may need to find out about any debts your loved one had. You may also need to put together a list of all the bank and financial accounts they had. If they had a lot – and if you weren’t aware of all of them – it could take a longer time to gather all the information you need. This will delay your probate application.

But if you have a good knowledge of the assets in your loved one’s estate and can get the necessary information together quickly, it will generally only take a matter of weeks to apply for probate.

Once you’ve received the grant of probate, you could then have to sell a property, pay any taxes or debts or carry out other administrative duties. How long this takes will depend on each of the actions you need to take – but it could take months.

Can I speed up the process of probate?

Probate can take a long time because of the red tape you’ll need to deal with. You will likely spend a lot of time waiting for institutions, like banks, to provide you with information.

There isn’t a huge amount that you can do to speed up the process, but working with the right legal team will give you the best chance of getting your application right the first time around and avoiding any unnecessary delays.

To find out how First4Lawyers could help you, just give us a call, request a call back or make an enquiry online and we’ll get back to you when it’s convenient.

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