Time scales of probate

Probate is a very long and complex process, and a specialist probate solicitor can help ease the strain.

The probate process involves four main stages, but these stages can be very time consuming and distressing especially when individuals are trying to come to terms with the death of a loved one.

Before probate can even begin application forms must be sent away asking for permission to begin probate. Correspondence can take a few weeks therefore time is effectively frozen as there is very little that can be done without permission!

Probate also involves contacting insurance companies and banks and any other institution that has any assets that belong to the deceased. It can also involve calculating and paying tax, setting up trusts and transferring and selling property.

Probate can take between six to nine months on average, although it is very usual for some cases to go on longer than this. Probate can sometimes take up to one year, especially when things are complex. Therefore it is impossible to give an exact timescale of how long probate will take, as it differs depending on the unique facts of the case and some cases that may be predicted to last for a certain period can go on for longer.

An estate cannot be dealt with until all claims against it have been brought. All claims should be brought within six months of the date when the letter of representation was issued.

Factors that affect the length of time of the probate process

There are many factors that can affect the speed of the probate process such as;

  • The state of the deceased’s financial affairs i.e. whether they were in order or not
  • Where about in the six months period people bring their claim or disputes against the estate
  • Locating the deceased’s assets
  • Deciding whether or not inheritance tax needs to be paid
  • Arguments and disputes between family members or personal representatives if there is more than one
  • The rules of intestacy
  • Whether the deceased had interest in land, property or businesses

This list is not exhaustive as every probate case is unique, and what may arise in one case may not arise in another.