Stamps, pen and glasses sitting on top of a will. SAM Conveyancing's guide on how to apply for grant of probate
Death of a family member left you in dismay?
We explain how to apply for grant of probate, to help make things easier during this difficult time.

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How To Apply For Grant Of Probate

(Last Updated: 08/12/2023)
5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • When a deceased family member dies and leaves a will, you must apply for grant of probate before being able to manage their estate.
  • There are certain situations where obtaining probate is not necessary.
  • You can do this process by yourself, although for more complex cases we recommend getting help from a solicitor. We explain how to apply for grant of probate below.

What is a grant of probate?

The term probate refers to the legal right one has to manage someone else's assets after their death, as long as they've been named executor in the will. Before being able to exercise this right, you will need to apply for grant of probate. It is not recommended to take any action regarding these assets, until you are granted this.

Do you have to go through probate if you have a will?

Yes, even if there is a will which indicates you as the executor, you will need to apply for grant of probate.

If, however, there is no will in place, under the rules of intestacy, the estate is passed on to the surviving relatives. You can check if this applies to you, and if that is the case, you will need to apply for a letter of administration. This serves the same purpose as the grant of probate, but it is applicable when there is no will.

This is not applicable in the case of joint tenants. For this type of ownership, joint tenants have equal rights to the entire property. For this reason, if one dies, they cannot pass their share to anyone else, even if they have a will. For tenants in common, the relevant share of property will be inherited, which you will still need a grant of probate for.

You will also not need to worry about how to apply for grant of probate in the following situations:
  • insolvency
  • assets are held in a trust
  • there is no property to manage and the estate only consists of cash and personal belonging
  • the estate value is under £5,000 and any financial institutions (i.e. banks) have agreed to release funds without you obtaining probate

Why do you need a grant of probate?

You will need a grant of probate before being able to manage the deceased's assets. This document attests that you are, in fact, the executor indicated in the will and can therefore manage the estate.

Alternatively, other family members can always dispute someone's right to apply for a grant of probate. The person starting the claim will act as the Caveator and they will start a probate caveat process. This means that you will not be able to receive grant of probate, until the court makes a decision.

What is the process for grant of probate?

    Make sure you have the will and death certificate
When sending your application, you will need to include the original will with it. You might be able to apply for probate, even if the original is lost. This is done by filing a Form PA13.

    Figure out if there's inheritance tax to pay
Before applying for grant of probate, you will need to get a house valuation. This is an important step, as this will let you know if you need to pay inheritance tax. You will need to report this to HMRC.

    Apply for grant of probate
When there is a will in place, you will need to fill out Form PA1P.

If the value of the property surpasses £5,000, then you are liable to pay an application fee of £273. If the property turns out to be worth less than that, this is not applicable. Extra fees might be incurred so make sure you are informed when applying. If you're on low income, you might be able to claim help with these fees.

    Collect and manage the assets
Only when you've been granted probate, can you finally administer the estate. You can then pay off the deceased's debts as well as paying any other beneficiaries.

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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