Swearing an Oath for Probate

What is probate?

Probate is a term often used to refer to the process of applying for a grant of probate. A grant of probate is a legal document issued by the government, after a valid application has been made, that proves the executors/administrators right to access the assets of the deceased.

Institutions holding assets in the deceased’s name may require the executor to provide a grant of probate before they will release any assets to them.

How do I get a grant of probate?

To obtain a grant of probate the executor named in the Will or if there is no Will, the next of kin designated by the rules of intestacy, must complete a set of application forms

that include but is not limited to the PA1 (the probate application form) and the corresponding Inheritance tax for (either IHT205 or IHT400).

Why do you swear an oath?

The executor/administrator must swear an oath to confirm their right to administer the estate (either appointed by Will or Intestacy), that the information provided in the application is true and correct and that the estate will be distributed according to the law and the wishes in the Will.

Where do you swear the oath?

There are only two places where an executor/administrator can swear the oath either the local probate registry or a commissioner of oaths (usually a solicitor’s office).

When applying for probate as a private applicant, you will be sent the oath by the probate office once they have received your application and it has been reviewed.

If you are using a solicitor for your application, it is them who will prepare an oath to be signed by the executors, solicitors are often able to do this much quicker than the probate office.

Once you have received the oath you can either arrange an appointment with your local probate registry or a commissioner of oaths. The oath must be sworn by all the executors/administrators that are applying for the grant of probate.

Probate registry

Once you have received the oath you should contact your local probate registry to make an appointment. The wait times for appointments can vary but usually are booked 4 weeks in advance.

You will need to bring the oath, the attached checklist and proof of identification. Once sworn, if there are no complications, you should receive the grant of probate within 10 days.

Commissioner of Oaths

Once you have received your oath you should contact a local commissioner of oaths (a local solicitor usually) and arrange an appointment at your convenience. There is a charge for this service, most commonly between £5 and £7.

You will need to bring the oath, the attached checklist and proof of identification. Once sworn, if there are no complications, you should receive the grant of probate with 10 days of the probate office receiving your application.

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