How Do I Track A Probate Application In The UK

probate services
How Do I Track A Probate Application In The UK

Probate is required upon a person’s death, regardless of whether they left a will. If there is a will, the appointed executors will seek a grant of probate. In cases where there is no will, a close relative or family member can apply for Letters of Administration as part of the probate process, granting them authority over the deceased’s estate.

Currently, it typically takes 4-6 weeks to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration after submitting the probate application. For straightforward wills and estates, the entire probate process—from death to estate distribution—typically spans about six months. The complexity of the estate directly impacts the duration of this process.

Applying For Probate

Let us first go over how to apply for probate.

To initiate the probate process, you can typically apply online through the HM Courts & Tribunals Service portal, MyHMCTS. Ensure you have the necessary documents and information ready.

  • Original or annexed will (if available).
  • Death certificate of the deceased.
  • Full name, address, and date of death of the deceased.

Once you’ve completed the online application, submit the required documents to the Probate Service via MyHMCTS for verification.

Additionally, you’ll need to fill out and send the appropriate inheritance tax forms to the Probate Service:

  • IHT400 and IHT421 for estates worth over £5,000.
  • IHT200 and IHT217 for estates valued at £5,000 or less.

These forms will be forwarded to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for verification. Until HMRC returns the IHT forms, progress on your probate application may be delayed.

There are certain scenarios where the online service cannot be used for probate applications:

  • Another probate application has been submitted for the same estate.
  • The will is from a foreign jurisdiction.
  • A document certifying a copy of the will is attached to the application.
  • The applicant is under 25 years of age.
  • The probate application is for resealing under Rule 39 of the Colonial Probates Acts of 1892 and 1927.

In these cases, alternative procedures may be required to process the probate application effectively.

Do I need to apply for probate?

Determining whether you need to apply for probate depends on the value and nature of the deceased’s estate. Generally:

  • If the estate exceeds £5,000 in value, a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration are typically required.
  • If the deceased left a will, the appointed executor(s) apply for probate. If no will exists, the next of kin or a close family member must apply for letters of administration to manage the estate.

Letters of Administration are also necessary under specific circumstances:

  • The entire estate is left to one individual.
  • The will does not name any executors.
  • The named executors decline to assume the role.

Only the appointed executor of the estate may seek a grant of probate.

However, if the majority of the deceased’s estate is jointly owned with a living spouse or civil partner (e.g., joint bank accounts or property), a Grant of Probate may not be necessary. Additionally, probate might not be required if:

  • The estate is valued below £5,000, with no ownership of shares or land. For very small estates, like a small bank account balance, the bank may request a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration before distributing funds to beneficiaries.
  • You jointly own assets (like bank accounts or property) with your living spouse or civil partner.

If you are unsure whether probate is necessary for your situation, please reach out to our team for assistance.

How to track probate applications

As a beneficiary or family member of the deceased’s estate, you can determine whether a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration have been issued. However, beyond this confirmation, tracking the probate application’s progress requires being the applicant(s) themselves.

To monitor your probate application, you will establish login credentials for your online account with MyHMCTS. The Probate Service updates your application record with step-by-step progress and details as they are completed, allowing you to track the status.

After probate is granted, it’s advisable to obtain a copy of the Grant of Probate if not already requested during the application.

The Grant of Probate contains critical information for administering the deceased’s estate, including:

  • Date of death, crucial for estate administration.
  • Domicile status (UK or non-UK), impacting claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 (deceased must have been domiciled in England or Wales for claims).
  • Existence of a will or intestacy (dying without a will).
  • Names of executors/administrators who would be involved in contested wills or estate claims.
  • Net worth of the deceased’s estate.
  • Date of probate issuance, establishing a six-month window for claims under the aforementioned Act.

Knowing the probate grant date helps families and beneficiaries estimate when they might receive their inheritance.

Avatar of DLS Solicitors by DLS Solicitors
1st May 2024
Avatar of DLS Solicitors
DLS Solicitors

Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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