Become a member to attend events and meet like-minded people
The Library - Searching for Documents

The probate/ letter of administration process

Probate

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:

  • The person had no assets outside the UK, and
  • All assets were jointly owned (eg. Mr & Mrs Jones’s bank account), or
  • The value of the estate is less than £10,000 – but make sure you check with the financial providers!

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

  • If your loved one had any assets overseas – this includes property or financial accounts
  • If your loved one had financial assets valued at over £10,000 that were not jointly owned e.g stocks, shares, savings
  • If the value of your loved one’s estate (everything they owned) is more than £10,000 – this includes property, money and possessions. Each bank has its own threshold to determine whether you need probate to access your loved one’s account with them

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:

  • The person had no assets outside the UK, and
  • All assets were jointly owned (eg. Mr & Mrs Jones’s bank account), or
  • The value of the estate is less than £10,000 – but make sure you check with the financial providers!

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

  • If your loved one had any assets overseas – this includes property or financial accounts
  • If your loved one had financial assets valued at over £10,000 that were not jointly owned e.g stocks, shares, savings
  • If the value of your loved one’s estate (everything they owned) is more than £10,000 – this includes property, money and possessions. Each bank has its own threshold to determine whether you need a letter of administration to access your loved one’s account with them

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