When is Probate Required?


While there are exceptions, in England and Wales, Probate is usually required when the deceased person owned property.

If the deceased person’s Estate is valued above the Probate threshold, which varies by each bank or financial institution holding the assets, and the assets were owned in the deceased’s sole name, then Probate is required.

Probate may not be required for Estates with certain assets which are valued at less than £5,000 or if the person who died held all their assets jointly with another person.

If you’ve been named as an Executor in a Will, you may need to apply for Probate - a Court Order from the Probate Registry that gives you the legal authority to manage a deceased person’s Estate (their money, property and assets) following their death.

Applying for Probate

You must estimate and report the Estate’s value before applying for Probate. At Simpson Millar we offer a Grant of Probate Application service and our Full Probate Service which deals with the complete Probate process on your behalf.

For free initial legal advice get in touch with our Probate Solicitors and we will help you.

Call us on 0808 239 4634 or request a callback

More information on When Probate is Required

Property Ownership

A Grant of Probate will be required before you can transfer or a sell a Probate property if the deceased was the only person named as the owner. If ownership is shared with another person, such as a spouse, as a joint tenant, then a Grant of Probate would not be needed, as the deceased’s share of a property would automatically pass to the surviving spouse.

For more information see Do I Need a Grant of Probate?

Bank Accounts

Similarly, a Grant of Probate may be required if the person who has died had a bank account solely in their name, with funds over a certain limit. Each bank has its own limit on how much money it will release before a Grant of Probate is required.

If a bank account was held jointly and one of the account holders dies, the surviving account holder will automatically be given full control.


If the deceased held stocks, shares or other investments, these are not usually released by a financial institution without a Grant. This means that a Grant of Probate document may be required for each financial institution.


You might not need Probate if the Estate is insolvent, which means there isn’t enough money to pay the deceased’s liabilities, such as taxes and debts.

Probate with or without a Will

Grant of Probate is required if the person who died left a valid Will, but if they did not make a Will then the intestacy rules (inheritance laws) will apply and a Grant of Letters of Administration will be needed.

For more information see Applying for Probate with or without a Will.

Probate may also be required if there are any concerns over a Will. For instance, does a family member believe the person who made the Will was unduly influenced or didn’t have the mental capacity to make a Will? Is there a mistake in the Will? Did the deceased update their Will and you’ve got an outdated version?

For information see Contest a Will / Contentious Probate.

How Long Does Probate Take?

A simple Estate can go through Probate process in as little as 6 months depending on how busy the Probate Registry (Court) is, but in general Probate can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months and complex Probate cases can take years to conclude.

How Simpson Millar Can Help You

Our Probate Solicitors can provide comprehensive legal advice and services tailored to your specific circumstances. We can do as much or as little of the Estate administration work as you need.

With our Full Probate Service, we’ll return passports to the passport office, deal with house clearance, house insurance and utility bills, check for missing assets or policies and protect the Estate against unknown creditors.

We’ll also gather in all the Estate assets, have them valued, deal with HMRC for Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax matters; prepare full Estate accounts and pay any debts before distributing the remainder of the Estate to the beneficiaries.

For free legal advice call our Probate Solicitors

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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.