How Long Does Probate Take? Posted by Probate Bureau , 30/11/-0001

How Long Does Probate Take?

How Long Does Probate Take?

Whilst there are a variety of factors that can affect the timeline of the probate process, including whether or not there is a will present, it can be easy to wonder 'how long does probate take?'.

On average, in England and Wales, you will typically find that it takes between four and eight weeks to obtain the Grant of Probate and to complete the Estate administration process, regardless of whether or not the deceased had a legal Will.

Yet, it is very common for the probate process to take longer and a range of delays can occur along the way.

Make sure to read on for our guide, as Probate specialists, on how long probate can take in the UK and what the timeline of the probate process can look like.

What is Probate?

No matter whether the person who has passed was a billionaire, or living by more modest means, those who are appointed to administer their estate will likely find themselves having to apply and wait for Probate.

Whilst there is no rush to apply for Probate, which is the official term for the legal permission to access and distribute a deceased person’s assets, including their money and property, it’s best to get started as quickly as you can face.

What Can Delay the Probate Process?

Probate can be a long and complex process, with lots of different factors involved. The probate process can be quicker and easier if the deceased has a clear and legal Will, as it will identify who should be administering the estate, also known as an executor.

However, if there isn’t a Will present, then rules of intestacy will apply. These rules set out the order in which spouses, children and other relatives receive assets from the estate. Understandably, this may take a while to resolve if, for example, the deceased remarried or if there are several children to share between.

Whether or not there is a valid Will, someone else may also file a ‘caveat’ or objection to probate if they decide to dispute who should be an executor or oppose the validity of the will. This could stop the probate process for up to six months.

Another step of the process that may delay the application can be sorting inheritance tax. This is because you will need to first report the value of the estate to the HMRC when the person passes. This involves valuing the assets included in the estate, which can take time if things are complex.

So, How Long Does Probate Take?

As mentioned above, there is a range of factors that can affect how long the probate process will take.

At the moment, according to the Probate Registry, the current delay is around four to eight weeks, taking the average processing time to around eight to twelve weeks. This is due to an increase in applications during the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, this will all depend on factors that arise during the process and how much professional help you seek throughout.

Why Does the Probate Process Take So Long?

Essentially, the short answer is, quite simply, because it is a complicated process. It involves research, a lot of back and forth with financial organisations and a range of probate and tax forms.

Whilst there are some things that cannot be changed, including delays and backlog at the probate registry, there are a few things that may help speed up the probate process as a whole;

  • Check whether there is an existing inventory of assets included with the Will or stored alongside other paperwork important to the deceased. This can make tracking down pensions and saving accounts much easier.
  • If there is a valid Will, track it down and make sure that it isn’t tampered with, including unbinding it and adding markings.
  • If there isn’t a Will, gather important certificates to prove that you are the right person to be dealing with and applying for probate. This includes birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates and divorce certificates.
  • Don’t apply for probate yourself unless you feel fully confident and comfortable with the process, as even small mistakes can add months of delays.
  • Choose to work with a probate expert who can guide you throughout the process, help you to prepare your probate application and submit it to the probate registry within good time.

Here at the Probate Bureau, we’ll be happy to help you to gather all of the information that you’ll need, as soon as you are ready. We’ll also be able to answer any questions you may have and give you important advice. Feel free to give our team a call today on 01290 443 590.

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