Become a member to attend events and meet like-minded people

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

Managing wills and probate can be complicated, so here is a guide to the steps you will need to take – whether you are working with a solicitor or doing it yourself.

If your loved one had a will: You’ll need to apply for a grant of probate

The probate process: how long does probate take, and who can do it?

Obtaining a grant of probate allows you to access your loved one’s assets and distribute them in accordance with their will. The executor of the will should apply for probate within a few months of your loved one’s death, as it may be necessary to access and close certain accounts that your loved one held. The probate process can vary in length, but on average, administration takes 6-9 months.

You don’t need it if:

You are likely to need probate if any of these apply to you:

To find out the thresholds for probate, contact the account provider(s). If you do need to apply for grant of probate, follow the steps in our guide below:

Step 1 – Estimating the value of the estate

Step 2 – Do I need to pay Inheritance Tax?

Step 3 – Applying for probate and next steps

If your loved one didn’t have a will: You’ll need to apply for a letter of administration

What is letter of administration and who can do it?

Obtaining a letter of administration allows you to access your loved one’s assets and distribute them in accordance with their will. The executor of the will should apply for probate within a few months of your loved one’s death, as it may be necessary to access and close certain accounts that your loved one held.
In this situation, the person who deals with the estate is usually the deceased’s next-of-kin, such as a spouse or child. You should apply for a letter of administration within the first few months of your loved one’s death if you need to access or handle their accounts.

You don’t need it if:

You are likely to need a letter of administration if any of these apply to you:

To find out the thresholds for removing assets from your loved one’s accounts, contact the account provider(s). If you do need to apply for a letter of administration, follow the steps in our guide below:

Step 1 – Estimating the value of the estate

Step 2 – Do I need to pay Inheritance Tax?

Step 3 – Applying for a letter of administration and next steps

One of the first administrative tasks is to notify the banks and building societies where your loved one held accounts. Most banks and building societies have a designated bereavement support customer service team, and they should explain the next steps to you once you’ve made the initial contact. The Death Notification Service covers most of the common banks and building societies in the UK – this is a useful tool to avoid having to contact multiple organisations.

Who can do this?

In most cases, the banks and building societies will need to speak to the executor of a will, or the next-of-kin/administrator if your loved one died without leaving a will.

When to do this?

This is one of the first tasks you’ll need to complete. Once you have a death certificate, contact the bank or building society so they can temporarily freeze any payment in or out of the account. Joint bank accounts can continue to be used as normal. Any funds in the account can be used to pay for the funeral and probate fees or Inheritance Tax, if applicable.

Introduction to the Death Notification Service

We recommend using the Death Notification Service to start the process of notifying financial organisations. This service allows you to inform several banks and building societies of your loved one’s death at the same time. You just have to fill out one form and it will notify all the providers for you.

The organisations that are covered include:

With new organisations being added regularly.

Using the Death Notification Service (DNS)

Step 1 – Gather the following details about your loved one:

Helpful, but not mandatory, details include: 

Step 2 – Visit the Death Notification Service website

Head to the DNS Website: Death Notification Service

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the yellow button that says ‘Submit Death Notification’ to begin. We recommend you create an account afterwards so you can add other accounts that you might have forgotten about at a later date.

Step 3 – Next steps

Within 10 working days, you should receive instructions of what to do next from each of the individual financial organisations. For example, you may need to provide a copy of the death certificate.

Contacting companies directly to notify them of a death

The following organisations are not covered by the Death Notification Service. We have included links to the customer support team on their websites, so you can find the information to contact them yourself:

When notifying a bank or building society, make sure you have the following information to hand: