If you want expert help in the administration of an estate, whether you are an executor or a family member, Oratto's membership consists of many experienced UK probate solicitors who can help.

Sorting out a loved-one's estate can seem a daunting process, here we explain the steps you will need to take.

Compare fixed fee probate and estate administration quotes now.

Orange Tick We provide you with a range of fixed fee quotes within minutes

CALL NOW 0845 388 376

We can take your information over the phone.

Friendly, confidential help at the end of the phone.

The six stages of probate

1. The death certificate

The probate process forms part of the much longer and more overarching process of registering and finalising details of a person's death.

This begins with contacting the doctor to report the death then contacting the funeral director to make the necessary arrangements.

Once these things have been done, the death can be registered, the death certificate can be obtained and the administration stages of probate can begin.

2. Prologue to probate

The first thing to do, if the responsibility falls with you, is to ensure that the deceased's assets, possessions and property are secured. And, if possible, to find a copy of the Will. It may be necessary at this point to take steps, perhaps by contacting suitable probate solicitors, to verify the document's validity.

Next the personal representatives – this means the executors or administrators of the Will – will need to be contacted. If the Will does not name any personal representatives you should consult a probate solicitor to determine whose responsibility it is to administer the estate.

At this stage it is advisable for the responsible parties to find and organise all the deceased's important documentation, including financial documents and those that pertain to utilities, debts and other liabilities.

3. Informing interested parties

Another important step in the probate process is registering the death with all asset and liability holders so that accounts can be settled – you will need copies of the death certificate to do this.

Furthermore, it will be necessary to open a bank account on behalf of the estate (the Executor's Account) and you will need to contact the Personal Application Department of the Probate Registry.

Typically a statutory advertisement for creditors and other claimants is placed in the Gazette and local press.

4. Inheritance Tax and probate fees

The current Inheritance Tax threshold stands at £325,000 and if the estate is not subject to Inheritance Tax, it will be necessary to complete form IHT205.

In the event that there is not enough money to cover Inheritance Tax and probate fees, a loan may be required. In some cases it may be possible to pay the Inheritance Tax in instalments.

Probate fees:

  • £105 for a personal application
  • £1 per copy of the Grant

Completed forms need to be sent to the Probate Registry together with the original Will, the death certificate and the IHT form.

5. Swearing an oath and receiving the Grant of Representation

In order to obtain the Grant of Representation it is necessary for the personal representative to swear an oath that all information they have given the Probate Registry is true to the best of their knowledge. The registry will send the oath and the representative will need to make an appointment at a local probate office, or with a commissioner for oaths (typically a solicitor) to take the oath and sign the document.

Once the Grant has been received, usually within ten working days, copies should be sent to all asset holders together with a request to release any funds.

6. The final stages

Income tax forms and capital gains tax forms for the period of administration should be completed, where appropriate assets will need to be sold, creditors should be paid, estate accounts should be prepared and, once approved by residuary beneficiaries, the estate should be distributed in the right way and in line with the testator's wishes.

Lastly, be sure to keep all relevant papers for a minimum of 12 years.

Help with the probate process

UK probate solicitors can help you process an estate with clarity, legality and, usually, without stress. Oratto's members are amongst the most experienced practitioners in the country and we can help you find the solicitor who is right for your needs.

Contact Oratto today or use our Match service

Compare probate legal fees

Our legal fees quotation system allows those seeking a competitive fixed price probate quote to compare the prices of different lawyers.

Get a Quote