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 when the deceased owns a property in their sole name or if a financial institution (such as a bank) requires a 'Grant of Probate' to release funds. Obtaining the 'Grant of Probate' from the probate registry gives the Executors (in a Will) or the Administrators (if there is no Will) the authority to act in the administration of the estate.  There is a set government application fee of £273 for obtaining the 'Grant of Probate'.

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?

If assets were held jointly, probate is generally not required as these assets pass by survivorship to the survivor. Some jointly held assets (usually property) will however need a Grant if particular arrangements have been made during lifetime. It is sole assets which financial institutions need to see a Grant before release of these funds, if the balance exceeds their own probate threshold.  This threshold varies from institution to institution rather than being set by Government.

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). If the death was on or after 01/01/2022 and meets the criteria to make it an excepted estate, you will not need to submit an Inheritance Tax (IHT) form. Otherwise, an IHT form will also be required.

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. Excepted estate criteria also applies in Scotland - please see details above whether a
tax return is required.


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.

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.



Distance is no barrier.
My thanks to the team at Kings Court Trust, you handled a delicate situation professionally and compassionately, and I appreciate your dedication to your service. Even though I was thousands of miles away, you treated me as if I was your neighbour. I would recommend the service to anybody, allow yourself the time to focus on what it is that you need to do, and allow a professional company to relieve you of a lot of stress by dealing with the family estate, you will be thankful that you did.

Richard L, TrustPilot Review 2020

Thank you Kings Court Trust!
We decided to use Kings Court Trust after approaching two high-street solicitors who were more expensive and didn't give a fixed fee, or the comprehensive service that Kings Court Trust provided. They also take on all the responsibility and liability, which gave us peace of mind. Our Personal Estate Manager has been truly amazing. There is so much to take in during such a difficult time but everything was always explained clearly and nothing was ever too much trouble. I can definitely recommend Kings Court Trust to anyone and although our estate was quite complex, they completed everything within a year!

Customer, TrustPilot Review 2020

Excellent service and support during a difficult time.
I appreciate how well Kings Court Trust has managed my father’s estate for us. The complete process has been very efficient, which has meant much less stress and worry, often associated at times of bereavement and when it comes to matters involving legal and financial matters. I have always felt confident that I've been able to follow up any concerns, worries or queries with ease. I am completely satisfied with the service we have received and I would definitely recommend Kings Court Trust to my family and friends.

Norman L, TrustPilot Review 2020

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