Frequently Asked Questions
About Probate

1. What is probate?

Answer: Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate, including their assets, debts, and distributing their property as per their will or intestacy laws.

2. Do all estates require probate?

Answer: Not all estates require probate. Smaller estates with minimal assets or assets held jointly with a surviving spouse may not need probate.

3. How long does probate take?

Answer: Probate can take several months, but it depends on the complexity of the estate and any disputes that may arise. We’re currently seeing most probate cases taking 6-9 months.

4. How much does probate cost?

Answer: The cost of probate can vary widely, but it typically includes court fees and solicitor fees. Solicitor fees are normally a percentage of the estate value or are charged hourly. Final Duties offer fixed fee probate which often means we undercut our competitors.

5. What is a grant of probate?

Answer: A grant of probate is a legal document that confirms the executor’s authority to manage the deceased person’s estate.

6. What happens if there is no will?

Answer: If there’s no will, the estate will be distributed according to intestacy laws, which prioritize surviving spouses and close relatives. As there is no will, there won’t be any executors appointed so willing parties will have to apply for letters of administration.

7. What are the laws of intestacy?

Answer: They are the laws that come into play when someone dies without a will in place. They dictate who will inherit the estate. The rough order of inheritance is spouses and civil partners, then children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and then other relatives. Unmarried partners won’t receive anything from the estate unless its stipulated in the will.

8. Can I challenge a will in probate?

Answer: Yes, you can challenge a will if you have valid reasons, such as undue influence, fraud, or lack of mental capacity when the will was created.

9. How do I apply for probate?

Answer: To apply for probate, you’ll need to complete the necessary forms, submit them to the Probate Registry, and pay the required fees. This may seem simple, but it’s important to understand the extent of the work and liability you take on as an executor.


10. What are the executor’s responsibilities?

Answer: Executors are responsible for gathering assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the estate to beneficiaries according to the will or intestacy laws.

11. Can I distribute assets before probate is granted?

Answer: It’s generally not advisable to distribute assets before probate is granted, as this can lead to legal complications. If you are also a beneficiary and you’re in need of the assets within the estate, then there are options available to support you. Enquire with us today for more details.

12. Are there inheritance taxes in the UK?

Answer: Yes, there is an Inheritance tax (IHT) in the UK, which may apply to estates over £325,000.

13. When do I need to pay inheritance tax on an estate?

Answer: Inheritance tax on an estate needs to be paid within six months of the date of death.

14. How can I minimise Inheritance tax liability?

Answer: You can use various strategies, including making gifts, setting up trusts, and using exemptions and reliefs, to minimise inheritance tax liability.

15. Can I act as an executor if I live abroad?

Answer: Yes, you can act as an executor if you live abroad, but it may involve additional paperwork and considerations. There is also the strong likelihood that you will have to travel to the UK to complete certain roles as an executor.

16. What happens to joint assets in probate?

Answer: Joint assets typically pass directly to the surviving joint owner through sole survivor ownership and do not form part of the deceased’s estate.

17. How do I locate a missing will?

Answer: You can check with the deceased person’s solicitor, the Probate Registry, or the Will Register to locate a missing will. If you need help finding a will or assets for an estate, then enquire with us and we can help you utilise all the tools at your disposal.

18. Can I be removed as an executor?

Answer: Yes, an executor can be removed if they fail to fulfil their duties or are found unsuitable. A court order may be required.

19. What should I do if I have concerns about the probate process?

Answer: If you have concerns or questions about probate, then contact us today and we’ll be able to help. It’s always best to consult with a probate expert for legal advice as acting improperly can result in you being liable to the beneficiaries for damages.

20. How do apply for a grant of probate?

Answer: Firstly, you need to have the estate valued, with this figure being reported to HMRC and then any inheritance tax that is due will have to be paid. Once the IHT (inheritance tax) has been paid on the estate, you can then make the application for probate. If there is a will in place you will need the original document as well as 2 copies and the death certificate. If the estate is valued at over £5,000 there will be an application fee of £273 that must paid with the application that can be made online or in the post.

21. What happens to digital assets in probate?

Answer: Digital assets, such as online accounts and cryptocurrencies, should be included in the estate and dealt with in accordance with the will or intestacy laws.

22. Can I distribute personal possessions without probate?

Answer: In some cases, you can distribute personal possessions without probate, but it’s advisable to seek legal guidance to avoid disputes.

Probate Advice

You can name up to four people in your Will to act as your Executors.  The probate office will only issue the grant of probate to up to four people
When an executor has finalised the distribution of an estate subject to probate the relevant probate office will forward details to the public records office
What happens if an executor dies? This can be broken down into two subsections. The executor dies before the deceased…
You may be liable for inheritance tax if on death if your estate is worth more than £325,000 or in the case of a married couple or those in a
Often solicitors, banks or will providers write themselves in a will as a professional executor.
The Executors in your Will should be someone you trust to administer your estate.  The role is time consuming and can be complex so you should be sure you are

Get in touch today

020 3833 9998