Legal documents

Applying for probate

If you are an executor of someone’s will you may need a legal document called a ‘grant of probate’ to enable you to sort out the deceased person’s affairs. If there is no will, a close relative can apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration.’ In Scotland different procedures apply for a death.

If there’s more than one executor it’s common to agree that one will apply for the grant and sort out the will. However up to 4 executors can apply jointly and sort out everything together.

You can ask a solicitor to apply for the grant for you. There may be a charge to provide this service, so it’s a good idea to check first.

If you apply for probate without a solicitor, the forms you need to complete depend on where the person lived and whether or not you expect Inheritance Tax to be due on the estate. Inheritance Tax is paid when the taxable value of the deceased person’s estate (after exemptions) is over the £325,000 threshold (applies for deaths in the 2009/10 tax year).