At Backhouse Solicitors we understand how upsetting and confusing the probate process can be after the death of a loved one. “Where do I start?”, is usually the first question people ask themselves! Our Probate experts would like to help and have provided guidance and answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What is Probate?

The term “Probate” technically means the legal verification of a Will i.e. obtaining the Grant of Probate. Most people associate it with the administration of someone’s estate after their death and the distribution of assets in accordance with the Will.

When is Probate required?

This all depends on how much the deceased’s assets are worth and how they are held. For example, if the deceased owned their own home, this property would not be able to be sold to a new owner without obtaining the Grant of Probate.

When is Probate NOT required?

Probate is generally not required if the deceased’s assets are of a lower value as most banks will release these without probate. This can also apply in the case of any joint assets as they will likely be transferred to the surviving owner.

How can you apply for Probate?

Only certain people can apply for probate. If there is a Will, the executors named in it can apply. However, if there is no Will, the closest living relative can apply.

How long should Probate take?

There is no definitive answer to how long the process will take as it will depend on various factors such as the size of the estate, how complex the administration may be and the type of application for the Grant. For example, if there is a Will the Probate Registry advise the application will take 16 weeks, but it is longer if there is no Will. As a rough guide, straightforward estates will usually be finalised within 9 – 12 months but many factors can delay this i.e. difficulty in selling a property.

Can Probate be sped up?

The application for the Grant can be expedited in certain circumstances.  However, the rest of the probate administration process is all dependent on how quickly all parties involved can get each stage completed i.e. replies from banks and other financial institutions. However, using a Solicitor to help you deal with probate often speeds up the process rather than doing it yourself.

Can Probate be contested?

Yes, however, it is important to note that for claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act there is a strict time limit of 6 months from the issue of the Grant to make a claim, so seeking legal advice as soon as possible is essential if you want to contest.

How much does Probate cost?

In terms of legal costs, this completely depends on the size of the estate and how much work the executors require to be done by the solicitors.

The fee for obtaining a Grant of Probate is £273 for all applications, except those where the estate is £5,000 or less.

At Backhouse we offer a free 30-minute appointment, and our solicitor will explain the process in more detail, obtain some information from you and be able to provide an estimate of costs.

What is the difference between Grant Only and Full Instruction?

Grant Only refers to a solicitor only preparing the documents necessary to apply for the Grant of Probate. Full instruction includes the application for the Grant of Probate as well as all other aspects in administering the estate i.e. contacting banks, paying debts etc.

Our solicitor will discuss both options with you during the free 30-minute appointment and will be able to explain the process of each.

If I instruct Backhouse for Grant Only, how much will it cost?

An approximate cost for Grant only would be between £1,000 to £2,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

How much do Backhouse Solicitors charge for Full Instruction?

Full instruction ranges between £3,000 to £5,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

How Backhouse can help:

Our specialist Probate solicitors at Backhouse will explain in simple terms how the process works and can help every step of the way. For more information on our Probate services, click here or contact our friendly team to speak to one of our experts.

Tel:          01245 893400
Visit:       17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU
Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website.