What Happens if There is a Will and You Don’t Apply for Probate?
If you don’t apply for Probate, and the person who died left a Will, then the beneficiaries may not be able to access some of the assets left to them in the Will.
Some organisations may request a Grant of Probate to be provided before they release the assets. These assets will still exist, but they’ll remain frozen and inaccessible until after Probate has been applied for. So it’s important that you apply for Probate in good time and don’t delay it, otherwise you could end up with some very unhappy family members.
We understand that applying for Probate might feel like an overwhelming task, but our Probate Solicitors are here to make the process as smooth as possible for you. If you’d like help with any part of the Probate process, get in touch with our Probate Solicitors today for free initial legal advice.
What is Probate?
Probate is when you apply for the legal right to sort out someone’s Estate (their property, savings and possessions) after they die.
It’s an important responsibility as there can be a lot to organise when someone dies, such as closing their bank accounts, selling their property and more.
Who Can Apply for Probate?
In England and Wales this depends on whether the deceased person made a Will.
If there is a Will, then it’s the Executors of the Will who need to apply for Probate. Up to 4 Executors can be named in a Will, but some people may only name 1 or 2. Not all Executors have to apply for Probate, but they’ve all got the option to if they want to be involved in the administration of the Estate.
If there is no Will, the Administrator of the Estate will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. The Administrator of the Estate is decided by something called the Rules of Intestacy.
Until a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration is applied for, the deceased’s assets will remain frozen, and you’ll be unable to sell or transfer a property held in the sole name of the person who died.
There can be some exemptions to applying for Probate. For example:
- If the person who died owned land, property, shares or money jointly with someone else, then these will be transferred automatically to any surviving owners
- The person who died only had a small amount of savings or premium bonds and no other assets
If you’re unsure whether or not Probate is required, our Probate Solicitors can discuss your situation with you and advise you.
You may need to contact the asset holders of the person who died, such as their bank or mortgage provider, to see if you need to provide a copy of the Grant of Probate to access their assets. Some banks may not require a Grant of Probate if the assets held are under £5,000.
How to Apply for a Grant of Probate
There are a couple of different ways you can apply for Probate:
- Online – You can do this if you’re an Executor or Administrator and you’ve already reported the Estate’s value, and you have a copy of the death certificate
- By post – There are two different forms you can fill in depending on whether or not the person who died left a Will. You’ll need to make a payment before sending the form in the post
- By using a Solicitor – Our Probate Solicitors can handle everything for you so you don’t have another stress on your mind. Get in touch with our Probate team today to see how we can help you.
How Long Does Probate Take?
Currently, the Probate Registries are taking approximately 8 weeks to process Probate applications, after which they will issue the Grant. But if the Registry raise an enquiry which needs to be addressed, this will delay your application.
The timescales will then depend on the turnaround time for the particular Registry who is dealing with your application. It usually takes a further 8 weeks for the Grant to be issued from when the enquiry has been dealt with.
How Much Does Probate Cost?
The Full Probate Service includes:
- A fixed hourly rate (dependent on the experience of the Solicitor or Lawyer handling your case)
- A fixed fee quote for Probate – so you won’t be caught out by any hidden costs
- Staged payments – so we can work flexibly around you
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 Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.