How Long Does Probate Take? The Probate Timeline Guide

How Long Does Probate Take? The Probate Timeline Guide

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A probate must be granted in order to settle an estate. This guide answers the question: how long does grant of probate take? (both with a will, & without)



How Long Does Probate Take? The 5-Step Probate Timeline Guide 



After the pain of losing a loved-one, nobody should face more stress than necessary. Especially not while they wait for clarity on their inheritance. Grant of probate is the process that must be completed before an estate can be settled. Below, we have answered your questions about the probate application process, including: 

  • how long should probate take?
  • how long does probate take with a will in place?
  • how long does probate take if there is no will?



What is Probate and How Long does it Take?


Probate is the legal and financial processes required to settle a deceased estate. Grant of probate is given if a valid will is present. If the deceased did not have a will, probate will be granted, but under the laws of intestacy. Probate can take anywhere between 3 and 12 months to be granted. Thus, the probate timeline varies, according to a number of factors, including:

  • whether or not there is a will in place
  • if the estate is considered a ‘small estate’ 
  • if the estate is particularly complex, with assets abroad or extensive liabilities
  • the current Covid-19 pandemic 



How do you Apply for Probate if there is a Will in place?


The next of kin or the executor of the will should apply for Probate from the probate registry. Below is a basic breakdown of how to apply for probate: 



Documents required:

  • original and certified copies of the Death Certificate 
  • or an interim death certificate from the coroner
  • the original will to confirm the beneficiaries and proof of executorship


Check that the will is in its original state and not changed in any way. This includes removal of staples, bindings, and any markings that are not notarised. The probate registry will store, authenticate and validate the will.



Estimate the Estate Value and Pay any Inheritance Tax due:

The executor should:

  • compile a list of all the deceased’s assets 
  • compile a list of all liabilities and debts
  • estimate the value of the deceased’s Estate
  • report the estimate to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • pay any inheritance tax due
  • receive a tax clearance notification



Probate Registry and Grant of Probate:

The next of kin or the executor of the will may then take an oath at the probate registry and apply for a Grant of Probate.



How Long does Probate Take if there is a Will?


If there is a will in place, the full probate process should take between 3 – 6 months. If the estate is particularly large and complex, the process may take up to 12 months.



How long does Probate take if there is no will?


In the event of an intestate estate where the deceased did not leave a will, the next of kin will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This can delay the probate process. Additional steps must then be followed:


  • beneficiaries must be identified according to intestacy laws
  • identification documents for the line of succession beneficiaries 
  • these may be a spouse, civil partner or child
  • relevant birth and death certificates, marriage and divorce certificates will need to be submitted


Once the Letters of Administration have been granted, the administrator will follow the same probate timeline. At this point in the process, the question of how long probate should take is based on how much complexity there is within the estate.



How long does Probate take once submitted in the UK?


The application for Grant of Probate usually takes 3 – 6 weeks. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, probate applications by post can take 4 – 6 weeks longer to be processed. This can extend the time for Grant of Probate to 8 – 12 weeks. Because of the delay by post, it may be faster to apply for Grant of Probate online. At Fenix Funeral Services, we would be happy to help you speed up your probate application process. Your immediate needs and comfort during this time are always our priority.





How long does probate take in the UK if I engage a solicitor?

The application for probate can be time-consuming if the estate is very complex. If you are concerned about how long probate takes, it may be helpful to engage a solicitor. The process may still take a number of months to complete, but an experienced solicitor should know how to avoid additional delays. 



How much is the probate fee for application?

If the estate is valued at less than £5000, it is classified as a “small estate” and no probate fees are applicable. If the estate is worth £5000 or more, there will be a fee of £215. The executor is responsible for paying the cost of probate. 



Where can you get help and advice on how long probate should take?

The Courts and Tribunals Service Center can be contacted for online probate advice. 

Their webchat service is available: 

Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm

Friday 8am – 4pm.

Alternatively, feel free to speak to us at Fenix Funeral Directors. We’ve been helping our clients with every aspect funeral services for many years and we would gladly dedicate ourselves to easing this period for you.