After all the work that goes into settling any inheritance tax and applying for probate, it can be frustrating when you are waiting to find out if probate has been granted. As a beneficiary of a will, you may also be interested to know when the executor is able to start administering the estate, or when you are able to contest a will, as this can only be done in the 6 months following a grant of probate.
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Finding a Grant of Probate
There are a few different ways to find out if probate has been granted. This article will detail these so that whether you’re an executor or interested party, you can find out how far along the probate process you are. The methods we’ll look at are:
- Checking the Probate Registry
- Contacting the Solicitor
- Consulting Public Records
- Receiving a Copy of the Grant of Probate
How long does a Grant of Probate take?
The length of time between submitting the application and receiving the grant of probate can be variable due to a number of factors including whether the estate had tax to pay and whether the courts happen to be very busy when you apply. You would normally expect to hear from the courts 12-14 weeks after submitting the application, however you won’t be able to chase an application until 16 weeks after the submission.
Checking the Probate Registry
If you don’t know who the solicitor is and you’re not an executor, a simple way to find out if probate has been granted is to check the probate registry at the government’s website: https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/, using the deceased’s name and year of death. The registry contains copies of the grant of probate and the will if these exist, and a copy can be downloaded for £1.50. Copies will not contain a court seal so they cannot be used for court proceedings or for the sale of a property.
Contacting the Solicitor
Another way to find out if probate has been granted is to contact the solicitor handling the case. Solicitors who handle probate cases are responsible for submitting the probate application and obtaining the grant of probate. They will have access to the most up-to-date information about the case, and should be able to tell you if probate has been granted.
Consulting Public Records
Another way to find out if probate has been granted is to consult public records, such as the land registry, Companies House or the charity commission. Once probate has been granted, the executors will be able to deal with the assets of the estate. For example, If a property is included in the estate, it will be transferred to the new owner once the probate process has been completed. You can check the land registry records to see if the property has been transferred to a new owner, if it has, it’s likely that probate has been granted.
Receiving a Copy of the Grant of Probate
Finally, if you are an executor or a beneficiary named in the will, you will receive a copy of the grant of probate once it has been issued. This document confirms the legal authority of the executors to collect and distribute the assets of the deceased’s estate. It should be kept in a safe place as it is an important legal document.
What can I do whilst I wait?
Here’s a list of things you can line up whilst you wait for the grant of probate to be issued:
- If you are selling a property, you can do all steps towards selling it except for the completion. That includes marketing, accepting offers and conveyancing.
- Open an executor bank account for collecting all estate funds
- Close down and cash in assets which you don’t need a grant of probate for (each company will have different policies)
- Prepare a comprehensive list of assets and debts so that you can inform the beneficiaries of the estate what they are due
- Tally up which bills you might have paid and be able to claim against the estate
- Contact any beneficiaries of the estate to let them know what is going on
- Draft letters to banks to release the assets
- Prepare any tax forms which you need to file
I need help!
We understand that this can be a difficult and overwhelming process, and we want to ensure that you have the support and guidance you need.
Our team of experts can provide you with advice and assistance on the probate process, as well as guidance on the distribution of assets and property.
To take advantage of our free service, simply enter your phone number blow and take advantage of our Free Probate Advice Service. Our team is available to assist you and answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help – we are here to support you every step of the way.