How Long After Probate Is Granted Does It Take To Receive Inheritance?

probate timelines
How Long After Probate Is Granted Does It Take To Receive Inheritance?

It could take as little as three months for beneficiaries to obtain their inheritance from a straightforward estate with no real estate and a single bank account. The preponderance of estates in England and Wales, however, are significantly more complex.

Depending on the complexity of the estate, it can take anywhere from six to twelve months for beneficiaries to begin obtaining their inheritance.

There are a number of variables that affect the complexity of an estate, and some of these can lengthen the time it takes for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. Probate can take years to accomplish for some exceptionally complex estates.

Collecting the assets of an estate

The person responsible for administering the estate (called the personal representative) is responsible for collecting in all the assets. This includes closing any bank accounts in the deceased’s name, selling or transferring their shares, and selling or transferring any property held solely in their name.

It may be necessary to have a legal document in order to complete these duties. This document is typically referred to as a grant of probate if there is a Will, or a grant of letters of administration if there is no Will. After obtaining this document from the Probate Registry, an official copy must be sent to all banks and financial institutions that have requested to see it.

Collecting simple estate assets such as bank account funds typically takes between three and six weeks. However, shareholdings, real estate, and other assets may entail additional complexities, which can lengthen the time required to receive an inheritance.

When it may take longer for heirs to obtain their inheritance

Here are the most common factors that can cause a delay in the distribution of an inheritance:

Selling shares

The sale of some assets, such as shares, requires more time than others. This is because shares are typically sold through a stockbroker or share registrar, which can entail a great deal of paperwork. If share certificates are lost, a search must be conducted, and if they cannot be located, replacements must be requested.

Selling a probate property

The sale of a property can also contribute to delays during the administration of an estate, simply because locating a buyer and concluding the conveyancing can take time.

Selling foreign assets

Dealing with foreign assets will add to the complexity of the inheritance procedure. If a property abroad needs to be sold, foreign estate agents and solicitors must be contacted. Additionally, the personal representative must comply with local laws when issuing death notices and obtaining the essential permissions to sell the property.

Finding missing beneficiaries

Missing beneficiaries are another common cause of delay. If a beneficiary cannot be located, reasonable efforts must be made to locate them, typically through the use of a tracing agent. This can occur if family members have difficulty locating a beneficiary specified in the will or if the deceased is estranged from his or her relatives.

Placing statutory advertisements

When a person dies with outstanding debts, creditors may seek repayment from the deceased’s estate. The personal representative can notify potential creditors of the decedent’s passing by publishing a legal notice in the Gazette and the deceased’s hometown newspaper. Again, this can prolong the process, as creditors and other potential claimants are given a minimum of two months to come forward.

Investigation by DWP

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may decide to investigate whether payments were overpaid to the deceased. If they have, the estate must return them. This probe frequently adds 6 to 9 months to the probate process.

Claiming on a life insurance policy

If an insurance policy is included in the estate, the policy trustees often have control over who receives payment. Many questions are frequently asked of possible beneficiaries and the circumstances surrounding the death.

Distributing inheritance to beneficiaries

Before the estate’s final valuation can be determined, all estate assets must be sold or transferred, all available monies must be received, and all remaining debts and expenditures must be settled. Once everything is completed, the beneficiaries will be able to receive their inheritance.

In many circumstances, if the majority of the assets have been gathered, an interim payment to the beneficiaries can be given, as long as adequate funds are set aside to satisfy any outstanding fees. The remaining funds can be given to the beneficiaries once these final costs or payments have been paid.

Dealing with the administration of an estate can be time-consuming. Our experience has taught us that the more time spent in the early stages, the easier the subsequent stages will be.

Avatar of DLS Solicitors by DLS Solicitors
6th October 2023
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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