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.

What is estate administration?

Probate has become the term commonly associated with handling an individual's estate after they've died but it is just one component of administering an estate. Estate administration is so much more. It’s the process of sorting out a deceased person’s legal and tax affairs. Everything from bank accounts, belongings and property to debts, pensions and Inheritance Tax.


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.



An excellent professional service which took the stress away from me and my brother by having a brilliant Personal Estate Manager to deal with our mum's estate. We were updated regularly on the progress of each stage that had to be completed, and all our emails were responded to quickly. They give you a fixed fee quote to carry out the work so you know exactly how much it will cost, and their fees are very reasonable. They completed all the work a lot quicker than we thought by finalising the estate accounts and distributing the funds in less than a year (9 months to be exact).

M Snell, TrustPilot Review 2019

I have asked Kings Court Trust to progress with my very complicated estate after some misinformation from the previous solicitor firm. From the beginning, the Kings Court Trust team were very professional and explained the whole process in detail. They took the time to make sure I understood it all. The price was quoted from the beginning so I knew exactly how much I am paying - all right from the beginning. No nasty surprises with unexpected bills!

Marek, TrustPilot Review 2019

We used Kings Court Trust to complete the estate administration. They provided an excellent service at a very difficult time for us, and at a reasonable price. Our Personal Estate Manager kept us regularly updated and was very helpful - nothing was too much trouble. The whole thing was handled with care and understanding throughout. I would recommend them to anyone thinking of using a professional service.

TrustPilot Review 2019

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