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What is probate?

Losing a loved one can be an extremely emotional and difficult time.  In addition to this, somebody has to deal with their estate i.e. collect in their money, property and possessions, pay any debts and then distribute the estate to those entitled to it. This process is what is referred to as ‘probate’.

Technically, 'probate' refers to getting legal permission to carry out the wishes within someone's will, but the term also applies to the whole process of settling someone's estate. 

Probate: About

What is a Grant of  Probate and who applies for it?

There are actually two types of grant: probate and letters of administration. Probate is granted when the deceased left a valid Will, and is granted in favour of one or all of the executors named in that Will.

Letters of administration are granted where the deceased did not leave a Will (they died intestate) to their next of kin or the executors named in their Will are not able or willing to take on the role.  

For all practical purposes, the two types of grant are identical. 

Once the grant is issued, this is the legal authority required by the banks, land registry, share registrars etc. to prove that the named executors or administrators are the people legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s assets.

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Do I need Probate?

There are circumstances where a grant is not needed. 

Small Estate

If the deceased had a small estate (normally containing no property and a small amount of money) it's unlikely that a Grant of Probate will be required to deal with their assets. Different banks and building societies have different thresholds for Probate, with some agreeing to release up to £50,000 without Probate, while others set the limit at £5,000. 

Joint Assets

If the deceased held all their assets jointly with another person, a Grant of Probate may not be required to deal with these. This is because jointly owned assets will automatically pass to the surviving owner on the other owner's death. This applies to joint bank accounts and property owned as joint tenants (but not to property owned jointly as tenants in common).

Probate: About

How long does Probate take?

This will depend on how complex the estate is and the assets involved – if there are complicated assets, such as multiple properties, shares, and accounts, it is likely to take longer than if the deceased owned a single bank account and very few other assets. Every estate and every Will is different.

On average, and as soon as we have the values for the assets of the estate, we will prepare the relevant paperwork within 1-2 weeks for you to sign. Once submitted to the Probate Registry, it can take around 4 – 6 weeks for them to process an online application or up to 16 weeks to process a paper application (for those estates that are a little more complex).

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Why instruct Kieran Clarke Green Solicitors? 

Applying for probate is time consuming and can be an arduous and daunting task involving a lot of paperwork.  

Being an executor of someone’s estate comes with a lot of responsibility. It is essential that you fully understand your duties when looking after the affairs, as you could be financially liable if any mistakes are made.

Our team can guide you through each of the stages of probate/administering an estate. For example, they can: 

  • tell you if you need to apply for probate 

  • value the estate 

  • submit inheritance tax forms to HMRC 

  • apply for a grant of representation for you 

  • collect the assets of the estate 

  • make sure the estate is distributed accurately 

We offer a full range of services to help in the administration of estates, from simply obtaining a grant of probate to full administration of an estate.  See our Probate Fees for more information.

Probate: About

Wills, Probate & Estate Administration Team

Experienced and Strategic

Our team has many years experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to probate and estate administration. All work is supervised by Emma Leek, Director and Head of Private Client department.


Emma Leek

Solicitor and Director

Dawn Brassington

Legal Assistant

Dawn Halksworth

Legal Assistant

Jennifer Hornsby

Legal Assistant

Probate: Our Team

Get in Touch

Thank you for visiting our website. If you’d like more information and for one of our team to get back to you, get in touch today.

Registered Office: 36 Clarence Rd, Chesterfield, S40 1XB

Contact: 01246211006

Kieran Clarke Green Ltd trading as Kieran Clarke Green Solicitors. Registered in England and Wales No. 9928406.

Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 627285

01246 211006

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