What is probate?

Probate is a Latin term meaning to 'prove' the last Will and Testament as a valid public document. 

Probate may be required when someone passes away. It is referred to as the 'Grant of Probate' in England & Wales or 'Confirmation' in Scotland. Probate is required by law when the deceased has left a Will and owns property or if a financial institution requires a 'Grant of Probate' to release funds. Obtaining the 'Grant of Probate' from the probate registry gives the Executors the authority to act in the administration of the estate.  The cost of obtaining the 'Grant of Probate' is a set government fee which is based on the value of the estate.

Probate has become synonymous for dealing with the affairs of someone who has died. However, probate is just one small component of administering the estate overall.  

Do I need probate?

Probate is required by law when the deceased leaves a valid Will and owns property (including any houses, buildings or land) or if a financial institution (such as  a bank) requires a 'Grant of Probate' to release funds. If the assets were held jointly, probate will not be needed as they will automatically pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner. 

Not every estate will require probate but all estates need estate administration. Estate administration is the process of dealing with a person's legal and tax affairs after they've died. This means dealing with all their assets (such as property, shares and personal possessions), paying debts, paying any Inheritance Tax and Income Tax and transferring inheritance to the beneficiaries of the estate.

What is involved in obtaining the Grant of Probate?

Completing the probate application.

In England and Wales, the probate application involves completing a PA1P (if there is a Will) or a PA1A (if there is no Will).  You'll also need to submit an Inheritance Tax form to HMRC.

In Scotland, you'll need to submit a C1, along with other forms (C5, C5SE or IHT400) depending on the make-up of the estate. 

Submitting the application to the probate registry.

After you have completed the application, you'll need to send all of the details, including the death certificate, to the probate registry.

Alternatively, you can apply for probate online if you have the original Will and death certificate, and you have already reported the estate's value. You will need to send your documents by post after you submit the online application. 

Completing a "statement of truth".

You are required to make a promise that you have been truthful in your application. During your online or postal application, you will be required to complete a statement of truth.  




Some estates require probate. All estates need estate administration.

Probate has become the term commonly associated with handling an individual's estate after they've died but it's just one element of the full estate administration. Learn more about when probate is required and what's involved in the estate administration process. 

Every action, decision and service we offer at Kings Court Trust goes some way to achieving our purpose - helping families to move on. That’s why we are so pleased and proud to receive feedback from our families.

“Exceptionally supportive, professional and compassionate. Guided me through the process during a very difficult and emotional time. All questions and enquiries were answered immediately or a clear timeline was given if queries had to be taken away. Always dealt with my questions with great compassion. I would have no hesitation in recommending Kings Court Trust.”

“During a stressful time, we used Kings Court Trust on the recommendation of a friend. I personally found them to be extremely helpful, professional and knowledgeable. They took away the stress of understanding the very difficult process which is the last thing anyone wants to deal with after the death of a family member.”