Why do I need to get a Grant of Probate if a will has been made?

Bereaved families are sometimes surprised that, even though their loved one has been diligent enough to make a will during their lifetime, the executors (those legally responsible for handling a person's estate - money, property and possessions - when they die and for carrying out the instructions in their will) still need a Grant of Probate to deal with the estate.

What is a Grant of Probate?

A Grant of Probate is a Court document confirming that the Executors named on it are the people entitled to deal with the estate. When banks, financial companies or the Land Registry see the Grant then they know they’re dealing with the correct person.

Before issuing a Grant, the Probate Registry will have dealt with any disputes about the will which they’ve been told about and will have confirmed if any inheritance tax due has been paid.

If there is no will then a document called a Grant of Letters of Administration can be applied for. If there is a will but with no Executors, then a Grant of Letters of Administration (with the Will annexed) will do the job. In most scenarios these will all inform third parties who is entitled to deal with the deceased person’s assets.

When will I need to get a Grant of Probate?

In some estates you won’t need a Grant, for example if the value of the estate is relatively small or most assets were held jointly so pass automatically to the other owner.

When there are bigger assets in the estate then the bank or investment company who is holding those assets will probably ask to see a Grant before they release the funds.  If they ask for this then you will need to provide it.

If there is a house, property or land in the estate then you will definitely need to get a Grant in order to register any sale or transfer with the Land Registry so it’s better to get on with it sooner rather than later.

How do I apply for a Grant of Probate?

Information about how to apply is available on the gov.uk website but in most cases it’s advisable to instruct a solicitor to help you. They will advise you about the appropriate inheritance tax forms to complete and the correct information to include on the probate application forms. They can also advise you on the contents of the will and guide you through the wider estate administration process.

At the current time due to COVID the probate registry is experiencing delays in granting probates, so it’s even more important to ensure you include all the correct information so as to prevent further delays. By using a Solicitors for the Elderly Accredited member, you can be sure they are experienced in dealing with estate administration.

So, do I need to make a will?

Yes you do!  Even though a Grant may be needed, the Will is your way of communicating who you want to appoint as the Executors and what they should do with your assets when they get the Grant.


For further information, please click on the following link to read more about probate.

Carolyn Samuel, Solicitor at Gamlins Solicitors LLP

Carolyn Samuel has specialised in Private Client work since qualifying as a Solicitor. She has specific experience advising clients in relation to estate planning, preparing Wills and completing Lasting Powers of Attorney or Deputyship applications. She also acts for clients who are administering estates and acting as Attorneys and Court of Protection Deputies. Carolyn is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), a Dementia Friend and a member of STEP.  In her spare time Carolyn enjoys getting out in beautiful Snowdonia cycling, running and walking in the hills.
Gamlins Solicitors LLP are a well-established firm in North West Wales with offices from Llandudno to Bangor and down to Bala.  The legal teams provide a wide range of advice to businesses and private individuals regionally and nationally.