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You will need:

Things to note:

The application fee is £215 if the value of the estate is £5,000 or over. There is no application fee if the estate is under £5,000. The application fee is lower (£155) where a solicitor makes the application.

Extra copies of the grant of probate or letter of administration cost £1.50 each. It is worth getting a few copies – we would recommend one for each account you still have to close, so you are able to send them to different organisations at the same time. This should help you to complete the process faster.

How to apply for probate:

How to apply for letter of administration:

What’s next?

What is Inheritance Tax?

Inheritance Tax is a tax you have to pay upon inheriting the estate of someone who has died, including all of their property, possessions and money. It needs to be paid by the executor. Inheritance Tax must be paid or partially paid before probate or letter of administration can be granted, although there are some exceptions. Inheritance tax is sometimes referred to as Capital Gains tax.

What is the threshold for paying Inheritance Tax?

You will need to pay Inheritance Tax if the estate is valued at over £325,000. Usually, anything over this threshold is taxed at a rate of 40%. However, there are many exceptions to this.

For more information: gov.uk

There are many other possible assets that might need to be added to the value of the estate to comply with estate law. These include interests in trusts (which might have arisen on the earlier death of a spouse), transfers of value within the last 7 years, or gifts made at any time where the person who has died retained some kind of benefit in the asset given away,  An example of this might be putting a house in the name of children, but continuing to live there or visit on holiday.

Typically, no Inheritance Tax is due if:

You are obliged to file a report with HMRC even if there is no tax to pay. You can do this here: gov.uk

If you don’t need to pay Inheritance Tax, skip to Step 3: Applying for Probate or Letter of Administration

Where do you get the money to pay?

Banks or building societies may release money out of your loved one’s account before probate or letter of administration has been issued if it is being used to pay Inheritance Tax directly to HMRC. If you are paying Inheritance Tax on property, HMRC may accept staggered payments spread over a period of time. If you pay the Inheritance Tax out of your own money, you can get a refund from the estate once probate has been granted.

How to pay:

  1. Value your loved one’s estate (Step 1)
  2. Decide whether it is likely that you will need to pay any Inheritance Tax based on the information in Step 2
  3. Report the estimated value of the estate to HMRC (even if you will not need to pay Inheritance Tax)
  4. If you think you need to pay Inheritance Tax, apply for a reference number. This needs to happen at least three weeks before you make a payment.

Feeling a bit stuck?

Sometimes getting a professional to take over helps moves things along. We offer a range of solicitors who can help take away the pressure of dealing with estate law and wills.

Next Step: Applying for Probate or Letter of Administration

What is an estate?

An estate is everything your loved one owned. This includes property, money in their financial accounts (eg. bank, building society, pension pot) and possessions.

First, you need to value the money and all financial assets they owned

You might have already contacted all the financial organisations your loved one held accounts with. Just as a reminder, organisations to contact often include:

Ask each of the organisations for a statement of the value of the assets and any debts held by the deceased. If they had a mortgage, ask their mortgage lender if they require payments to continue while you are completing the probate process.

Make a list of all the information you receive from the financial account providers. Include any lump sums from pensions or life insurance.

Then, you will need to consider any gifts made by the person who has died, which took place within the 7 years prior to their death.

Any gifts which totalled less than £3,000 in any year are exempt, as are any gifts made to charity or to a spouse or civil partner.  There are some other exemptions which apply to smaller gifts for weddings or special occasions, and where the gifts have been made out of surplus income.  If you have any doubt, you should seek professional advice.

Next, value your loved one’s possessions

Add these figures together for an estimation of the total value of the estate for probate or letter of administration.

Feeling a bit stuck?

We understand that calculating the value of an estate for probate is complicated. Although this guide will help you, others have said that using a solicitor takes away the pressure of dealing with estate laws and wills. Take a look at our trusted solicitor partners.

Next Step: Do I need to pay Inheritance Tax?