The duration of probate can vary significantly based on several factors, including the complexity of the estate, whether there is a valid Will, the number of beneficiaries, any disputes or challenges, and the efficiency of the executor.
On average, the probate process in the UK typically takes around 12 months to complete. However, some estates may take longer, especially if they are complex or encounter complications. Estates with straightforward assets and clear instructions in the Will might progress more quickly through probate.
Here is an approximate timeline for the probate process in the UK:
Application and Grant of Probate: This stage involves applying to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate if there is a Will (or Grant of Letters of Administration if there isn't a Will). This process usually takes about 3 to 6 months, but it can be longer if there are complications or delays in gathering documents. Receipt of Grant of Probate is not possible until the Inheritance Tax (IHT) (or first instalment) has been paid to HMRC. Level’s IHT funding allows executors to unlock a proportion of the estate to pay IHT. Click here for more information.
Administering the Estate: After receiving the Grant of Probate, the executor or administrator will need to gather the deceased's assets, pay off any outstanding debts, including taxes and liabilities, and then distribute the remaining estate to the beneficiaries. This part of the process may take several months, depending on the complexity of the estate.
Challenges or disputes: If there are disputes or challenges to the Will or the distribution of assets, this can significantly extend the probate process. Resolving conflicts or disagreements among beneficiaries may take additional time and could potentially lead to legal proceedings.
If you would like more information or would like to speak to a member of our team, please do contact us.