Applying for Grant of Probate – With or without a Will

A grant of probate bestows the executor the authority to administer the estate of someone who has died, which includes tidying up their affairs and distributing their assets to their beneficiaries such as their children. Before you're able to deal with the deceased person's assets - such as their bank accounts - you'll need to obtain legal authority to act. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland this is called a grant of probate; in Scotland it's a grant of confirmation. 

Only certain people can apply for probate to deal with the estate of someone who died. It depends on whether the person who died left a will. A will is a document made by the deceased that follows proper formalities, namely it must be signed and witnessed by two people.  

If a will exists

You can apply for probate if you’re named in the will, or in an update to the will either by a codicil or by revoking the original will and making a new one. You will then become an ‘executor’.

You’ll need the original will and any updates to apply for probate. These must be original documents, not photocopies.

If you are named in the will and you do not want to be an executor you can give up your legal responsibility and role permanently (also known as ‘renunciation’) to apply for probate. Fill out the PA15 form on the government website to give up your probate executor rights. 

If there is no will

The ‘administrator’ deals with the estate.

You can apply to become the estate’s administrator if you are 18 or over and you are the most ‘entitled’ inheritor of the deceased’s estate. This is usually the deceased’s closest living relative.

Relatives are the most entitled inheritors in the following order:

  • husband, wife or civil partner (including if they were separated)
  • children (including legally adopted children but not step-children)
  • grandchildren
  • great-grandchildren
  • parents
  • brothers and sisters
  • nieces and nephews
  • half-brothers and half-sisters
  • half-nieces and half-nephews (the children of the half-brothers and half-sisters of the deceased)
  • grandparents
  • aunts and uncles
  • cousins
  • half-aunts and half-uncles (the half-brothers and half-sisters of the deceased’s parent)
  • half-cousins (the children of the half-brothers and half-sisters of the deceased’s parent)

Once you’ve applied for the grant of probate you’ll receive ‘letters of administration’ to prove you have the legal right to deal with the estate. Please note that if you are the partner of the deceased but you two were not either married or in a civil partnership when they died you cannot apply to be the administrator.

Alternatively, if you’re the most entitled inheritor and you do not want to apply to be the administrator, you can either:

  • Appoint an attorney to act on your behalf and for them to become the administrator by filling out an ‘attorney form’ or setting up a signed ‘enduring power of attorney (EPA)’ or registered ‘lasting power of attorney (LPA)’ and get the attorney to send this in with the probate. 
  • Nominate up to two people to be the next most entitled inheritor- fill in an ‘intestate’ form and send it to HMCTS Probate.

Why Instruct OneLaw Chambers for your Wills, Trusts and Probate Case?

At OneLaw Chambers, our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors and Barristers regularly assist with many contentious and non-contentious wills, trusts and probate cases. We have assisted and represented many clients from all over the world achieving successful outcomes for them.

Our expert Wills, Trusts and Probate team of Solicitors and Barristers is one of the strongest multi-disciplinary and diverse teams in the country, covering the breadth of wills, probate, tax and trust work. We have considerable experience with high value estates and international wealth and understand the unique challenges this can present.

Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors and Barristers can help you protect your assets against future life changes such as divorce, manage your wealth and succession planning across multiple countries, and make sure your estate is structured as tax-efficiently as possible.

With our strong partnerships and affiliations with chartered tax advisors and financial planners, we have the capacity to deal with everything in-house and provide you with a complete solution.

We are committed to ensuring that our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors and Barristers prepare every wills, trusts and probate case with utmost quality and skill so that successful outcome is achieved every time. Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors and Barristers operate in a friendly and cooperative manner to provide our clients with the best client care and service during the entire wills, trusts and probate case process.


You may also like

Challenging the Validity of a Will

Challenging the Validity of a Will
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}