Financial & Legal News

The cost of applying for Probate increases

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Having your estate in order, well managed and up to date can save your from family not only emotional upset, but at the same time hopefully make the Probate process quicker and easier, says experienced Private Client solicitor, Joanne Jones.

Cost of Probate

This month the cost for applying for Probate has risen by 10% from £273 to £300* and there have been horror stories of some families waiting years to get a Grant of Probate and therefore unable to access their inheritance.

Probate is the legal process of dealing with someone’s property, money and possessions and the administration of their estate when they have died. A Probate Grant gives bereaved families the legal right to sell on property or access the bank accounts and possessions of the deceased.

How long can Probate take?

A probate solicitor can help steer you through the complex process and will deal with the relevant financial institutions, HM Revenue & Customs and manage any Inheritance Tax liability, Letters of Administration, Grant of Probate, the distribution of intestate estates and advise Executors and beneficiaries.

“The reality of the situation is that with well organised filing and all matters legally sorted Probate should take about 13-16 weeks,” said Probate Solicitor, Joanne Jones.

“We have seen a rise in digital applications following on from changes in the probate office and post pandemic, but there have been significant waiting times in the past which does cause distress for families wishing to tie up estates and move on with their grief.”

Probate applications

Last year saw a high level of Probate applications, with 302,363 and the figure is projected to increase to a level of around 350,00 a year in future.

The Ministry of Justice have stated that the increase in fees will help pay for the extra staff recruited to the probate service who have processed record numbers of applications in recent months.

“As always we advise clients to make sure their Wills are kept up to date to accommodate family changes, births marriages and of course deaths, and having your estate as organised as possible is prudent planning with your loved ones in mind,” said Joanne.

Lifetime gifts, utilising Trusts and Inheritance Tax Planning and giving clear instructions such as appointing an appropriate executor, all help make the process a smoother one,” she added.

Delays in Grant of Probate

Delays in getting the Grant of Probate issued can have impacts on the estate, including:

  1. Bank accounts frozen and beneficiaries unable to access funds and pay ongoing bills such as insurance and utility bills which are due. Following notification of death, banks and other financial institutions have to freeze accounts and limit access to the deceased’s money. This is important to protect those assets but can cause financial difficulties and stress for families needing to pay creditors. Additionally, Investments cannot be managed and may depreciate in value between death and sale/transfer once a Grant is issued.
  2. Property cannot be sold or managed and valuations may change. It is also not possible to sell the deceased’s property without a Grant of Probate. For many, this is where the estate value lies, and sale proceeds are desperately needed to settle debts. Most people know that selling houses generally is not a particularly quick process, but add on delays to obtain a Grant, and it can be incredibly stressful for families.
  3. Investments cannot be managed or reallocated and may depreciate. (See point 1)
  4. Estates can be subject to inheritance tax, income tax, or capital gains tax. Delays in probate can lead to late payment penalties or interest charges. Conversely, executors may miss deadlines for tax advantages.

How can we help?

If you are faced with dealing with an estate and need legal advice and help especially if there are assets, trusts, pensions and property to deal with.  Contact our Probate Solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email

* The fee is relevant only for estates over £5,000

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

Written by Joanne Jones

  • Lifetime Lawyers Accredited
  • Step - Advising Families Across Generations

Joanne Jones is the accredited Lifetime Lawyer at Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd.

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