Recognize the procedures you must follow while dealing with a decedent’s estate.

Describe probate.

When someone passes away, their estate must go through the probate process, which often entails paying off their debts and dispersing their assets in line with their will.

In our video, we go over the probate procedure and how to handle a decedent’s estate.

Explaining probate

Probate is the legal word for obtaining consent to carry out a person’s desires as stated in their will, while the phrase also refers to the entire process of settling a person’s esprobateprocess


There are particular guidelines that specify how you should notify the appropriate parties and distribute the estate if you are in charge of carrying out someone’s wishes.

You must apply for a grant of probate, or grant of confirmation in Scotland, in order to be given authorization to oversee this procedure.

If a person passes away intestate—that is, without a will—there are different regulations that apply.

How is probate conducted?

If you decide to settle someone’s affairs personally or choose a professional to do so on your behalf, the procedure will vary.

A professional may be an excellent idea, and if you are managing a complicated estate, they may be very necessary. For more guidance on making a choice, consult the directory of probate lawyers.

You must file the necessary applications if you decide to handle the will’s administration yourself.

Our award of probate guide provides instructions on how to do this.

After that, you must collect and distribute the deceased’s assets to the beneficiaries.

This will entail notifying the appropriate financial institutions and government agencies (including the council and HMRC) of the deceased’s passing, closing any open accounts, calculating their assets and liabilities, paying any inheritance tax that may be due, and then dispersing their assets.

The majority of government agencies, including councils, the DVLA, the Passport Office, the Department for Work and Pensions (if they were receiving benefits or a state pension), and HMRC, can be informed in a single step using the “Tell Us Once” programme. Veterans UK will also be contacted by Tell Us Once if the individual was receiving payments under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

Using the Death Notification Service, you can simultaneously notify a few of the major high street banks and other member organisations.

How long is the probate process?

You should get the grant of probate or letters of administration within 8 weeks of sending the required paperwork, though it can take longer if you need to supply further information.

Some people have recently experienced probate delays of 14 weeks or more as a result of the transition to a new online application system and a staffing shortage during the pandemic.

Probate should start as soon as feasible to reduce the consequences of delays as much as possible.

For a step-by-step breakdown, see our DIY probate tutorial.

Your probate check list essentials

divides each step of the procedure into smaller, more achievable jobs.


Who is appointed to carry out the terms of a will?

The ‘executor’ is the person who is in charge of administering the probate process, and this position is typically appointed in the will of the deceased person.

The executor of a will is almost always a member of the deceased person’s family or a close friend.

However, it is also possible to select a professional executor, which is often a lawyer or a person who writes wills.

In exchange for carrying out this responsibility, professional executors will anticipate receiving compensation from the assets of the estate. They often carry out the entirety of the probate process and are compensated for their work in the form of fees.

Questions and answers regarding the appointment of an executor

When a loved one passes away, it is common for you to be named as the executor of their estate. This may be your first experience with the probate process.

In the following, we have compiled a list of questions that first-time executors typically ask.

How is it decided who will carry out the will?

The individual who will be in charge of administering an estate is almost always designated in the last will and testament of the person who has passed away.

In most cases, it will be a close friend or family member, but it could also be a member of the legal profession like a lawyer or a solicitor.

Before appointing you as executor of their estate, the deceased person does not necessary need to ask you or seek your approval first.

In the event that there is no will, the estate of the deceased person will be governed by the laws of intestacy, and the estate will be managed by the person who is next of kin.

Is it possible for an executor to also be a beneficiary?

A person who is named as the executor of a will can also be a beneficiary of that will, which means that they are eligible to receive assets from the person who has passed away.

In point of fact, it is usual practise for a person to select one of the primary beneficiaries to serve as their executor. This could be the person the person is currently cohabitating with or even one of their children.

Is the appointment of more than one executor even possible?

A will may, in many instances, appoint more than one person to handle the estate. These individuals are referred to as Joint Executors.

A person is able to appoint dual executors for the following reasons:

It is important to divide up the job, provide numerous family members the capacity to make decisions, and maintain oversight of the executors’ work.

If you are given the role of Joint Executor, you will be expected to coordinate your efforts with those of the other executors to ensure that the probate process is handled efficiently.

Is it possible for me to decline the role of executor?

In the event that someone names you as the executor of their will, you have the option of handling the settlement of the estate on your own or hiring a qualified intermediary to do so on their behalf.

You also have the option of declining to be the executor, which you might do if, for instance, you do not have enough time or you are too ill.

In this particular circumstance, you will be required to sign a Renunciation, which is the legal equivalent of resigning from the office. Nothing you are entitled to as a beneficiary will change as a result of this.

You also have the option, in some situations, to have your “power reserved,” which indicates that you would not be involved in the management of the situation, but you would have the option to become involved later on if necessary.

To fill your role, either another beneficiary will have to volunteer their services, or a paid replacement will have to be found.

How long does it take to put a will into effect?

Even with an uncomplicated estate that consists of only one or two bank accounts, the process might take a significant amount of time.

After a person passes away, the administration of their estate typically takes between six and nine months to complete. During this time, the assets are passed on to the beneficiaries.

You need to think about whether or not you will be able to meet this time commitment on your own or whether or not you will require support.

Should I submit an application for a grant of probate?

Before you can settle someone’s affairs, you will need to make an application to the court for a grant of probate in the great majority of circumstances.

On the other hand, if the estate of the deceased person was worth less than £15,000 or if their assets were owned jointly and will be passed on to a surviving spouse or civil partner, it is possible that this step is not required.

Where can I locate the will to act?

Because it is most customary for a person to maintain their will in their home, the first step is to look through the deceased person’s belongings in their residence. The obvious places to begin are with safes, filing cabinets, and drawers that are secured. Before you proceed with this, you will, of course, need to obtain authorization from the surviving members of the deceased person’s family.

If the will is not maintained at home, you might alternatively ask the person’s bank about it because it is possible that it is kept in a safe deposit box there. In a similar vein, if the individual utilised a will-writing service or a solicitor, there is a possibility that the document is in the possession of the service or the solicitor.

Additionally, the government provides a service that can assist you in locating a will at this location.

How can executors locate those who will benefit from the estate?

The deceased person will designate all of the people who are entitled to receive assets from the estate in the will. These individuals are referred to as beneficiaries.

You have a responsibility as executor to make reasonable efforts to get in touch with everyone.

In addition to this, it is the executor’s duty to locate creditors, who can be established through the examination of unpaid bills or loan agreements.

What happens if the probate process is challenged?

There are a number of different ways in which probate could be challenged, which would result in your application for a grant of probate being rejected.

Caveats are legal statements that can be made by beneficiaries or relatives of the deceased, and they can either stop or postpone the process of probate being granted. This could take place if there are two people who have the legal right to submit an application for probate or if there are issues regarding the will’s validity.

In the event that a caveat is filed against the estate, the individual who filed the caveat will have eight days to provide an explanation for why they filed the caveat. In the event that this does not take place, the asterisk shall be removed.

If such is not the case, it is an issue that must be resolved by the courts before probate may be awarded to any person that the court thinks is deserving of it.