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How Long Does Probate Take?


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The Probate Process

From start to end, you should expect the probate process to be completed in around 6-12 months. 

That’s counted from the date the person passes away to the estate being fully distributed. 

The longest part of the process is completing probate. This usually takes a minimum of six months. 

When a Grant of Probate has been issued, the estate is usually distributed within 6 weeks. 

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The Probate Process & Timescales

Below are the main steps taken by executors during the probate process. 

We have also detailed how long each step should take.

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1. Registering the Death 

In Scotland, you need to register a person’s death within 8 days. 

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, you will need to do this in 5 days. 

After registering the death, you will get a death certificate. You will need this to start executing a will.

2. Inform Organisations & Beneficiaries 

The timescale on this is as soon as you can do it. 

You will need to contact all the companies the person who has passed dealt with and close their accounts/end memberships etc. 

You should also contact all the beneficiaries of the estate to let them know they are entitled to some of it. 

3. Submit a Grant of Probate Form & Inheritance Tax Form

You can find, fill out and submit both of these forms online. You will need to send paper versions of certain documents such as the will though. 

There is a lot of complicated and detailed information that needs to be included in these forms, so if you’re not sure, you might want to consider enlisting the help of a solicitor. 

It usually takes around 8 weeks for probate to be granted, although it can take longer if there are any issues with these forms. 

4. Sort Out Inheritance Tax

You should aim to sort this out ASAP. It may involve taking out a loan as the bill will usually be due before the assets included in the estate are released. 

5. Pay Off Any Unpaid Debt 

Any unpaid debts like credit card bills, mortgages, and finance agreements should be paid for by the estate. This excludes student loans.

If there isn’t enough in the estate to pay all the debts, you will need to come to an agreement with the creditors. 

6. Claim on the Deceased Person’s Life Insurance

If the deceased had life insurance, mortgage insurance or funeral insurance, you will need to contact the insurance company to arrange a payout. 

You can expect a life insurance payout in around 30 – 60 days.

7. Distribute the Remaining Assets

Once all debts have been settled, you can distribute the remaining assets to beneficiaries according to the will.

If someone in the will has passed away, their portion is usually divided between all the other beneficiaries unless otherwise stated in the will. 

Do You Need Support With The Probate Process?

We understand the probate process can be complicated and confusing. Getting small details wrong can lead to issues in the process.

If you’d like some support, contact us today. Our experienced executry and probate solicitors are happy to talk with you and provide legal advice. We can also help with bonds of caution, probate without a will, and inheritance tax

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Contact our team of dedicated lawyers on our 24 hour solicitor helpline to start getting the legal assistance you’re looking for.

With offices based in Glasgow in Scotland, we’re able to give you the help you need, when you need it. Get in touch with a member of our team today to book an appointment or for a free telephone consultation.