Probate Timeline

In most cases, the probate process takes between six to twelve months. However, asking how long probate will take can be like asking how long is a piece of string as there are a number of factors that can affect how long the probate process takes. It is not a one size fits all.  


The event that marks the start of the probate timeline is the death of a person (the “Deceased”). Following the death of the Deceased various arrangements will be made and it will become necessary in most cases to apply for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration depending upon whether the Deceased had prepared a will in their lifetime.  


Whether a Grant is required is dependent upon the different financial institutions, such as banks or building societies. This is often decided on a case-by-case basis, or each institution may have a set threshold. Probate thresholds vary greatly from institution to institution, typically ranging between £5,000 and £50,000.  


It is important to note that the Grant is the document which provides authority to the Executor or Administrator to begin gathering and subsequently distributing assets in the Deceased’s estate including the financial and legal processes in relation to any property owned by the Deceased, personal possessions, bank accounts, building societies, shares and distributing out to those who are due to inherit. 

Delays with the Probate Registry  


It is to be noted that there are currently significant delays at the Probate Registry in processing Grant applications which has led to a significant backlog of cases, this in turn means that often despite a Grant application having been made, there are long delays in the Grant being issued. It is reported that applicants are experiencing delays of up to 13 weeks.   


Once the Grant has been obtained by the Executor / Administrator of the estate, they then have the authority to start dealing with the estate and commencing the administration process.  

Delays with the Executor


If you are experiencing delays with the Executor or Administrator of the estate and you do not feel that matters are progressing as they should it is important to first consider how much time has passed since the Deceased died. If it has been more than 12 months and no Grant has been applied for or issued OR if upon receipt of the Grant no distribution has taken place this may be a cause to contact us to discuss matters. However, if it has been less than 12 months since the Deceased died the concept of the Executors year must be considered. 


The Executor is entitled to 12 months from the Date of Death to complete the administration of the estate. This is referred to as ‘The Executors Year’. You should allow the Executor this time. You may be entitled to ask for information regarding the progress of administration.  We  would always advise that an individual who knows or believes themselves to be a beneficiary of a will to contact the Executor in the first instance requesting an update. If you receive no response, or the Executor fails to provide you with an update, see how more info here or contact us one [email protected]

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