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A Grant of Probate provides the Executor with the legal authority to carry out estate administration, which includes dealing with all of the deceased’s assets, legal affairs, debts, and more. Therefore, probate is one part of the wider estate administration process; the term is commonly misused by many to refer to the entire process of dealing with the estate of someone who has passed away. Whilst probate isn’t always required, an estate must always be administered.

When is probate required?

Whether or not probate is required does not depend on whether there’s a Will or not. Probate is usually required if the deceased owned assets or property in their sole name. In this case, a Grant of Probate is often needed to sell or transfer the property and release funds to the beneficiaries of the estate. 


However, if assets are held jointly, they will automatically pass to the surviving joint owner. Additionally, a Grant of Probate may not be required if:

* Property is owned as beneficial joint tenants – it will automatically pass to the living owner through survivorship.

* The estate is solely made up of cash and personal possessions.

* The estate value is low – most banks will release funds of a low amount without probate.

What is a Grant of Probate?

This depends entirely on the financial institution that the deceased held money with.

The probate threshold is independent to the bank or building society, and it is subject to change by each individual institution.

Typically, the probate threshold will vary from £5,000 to £50,000, although some banks will decide on a case-by-case basis. It is best practice to check whether you need probate to access funds with the relevant financial institution at the time.

Do you have to pay for probate?

The set government fee for applying for a Grant of Probate in England and Wales is £273 for estates over £5,000.

For estates valued at £5,000 or less, there is no fee to pay. Within this £273 fee, you will receive one copy of the Grant, but it is recommended that you purchase more at the time of application for a small fee.

Additionally, if you choose to instruct a professional to apply for probate on your behalf, there will be additional fees to pay, but these vary between each provider. It’s worth obtaining multiple quotes so that you can compare them and ensure that the fee is fixed to avoid any unexpected costs.

What is the probate threshold?

When the deceased has left a Will, they should have appointed an Executor to administer the estate, including obtaining probate (if required). There may be more than one Executor administering the same estate, but only one needs to apply for the Grant. The other Executors will have ‘power reserved’, which means that they remain as Executors but do not need to be involved with the probate process unless they wish to.

Alternatively, they can renounce their position if they do not want to be involved at all. If there is no Will, an Administrator will be appointed according to the rules of intestacy. This is usually the next of kin.

The umbrella term for an Executor or Administrator is ‘Personal Representative’. An Administrator has the same role as an Executor, but they will need to apply for Letters of Administration rather than a Grant of Probate. Both documents grant the same legal responsibility to administer the estate.

Who deals with probate?

Probate Solicitors’ fees are sometimes calculated from a percentage of the estate, generally between 1-5% plus VAT and the probate fee. Other Solicitors may charge an hourly rate, meaning that you only pay for the work that is completed. This can be more difficult to predict, as unexpected delays could mean your fee increases. Some may charge a fixed fee that varies depending on the estate’s size and complexity.

When comparing probate fees between Solicitors and other specialist providers, make sure to check what’s included in each quote and whether there is a breakdown of third-party costs. There is no obligation to use a Solicitor for probate even if they were involved with making the Will.

Due to the various charging methods on the market, it’s difficult to provide a comparison of the likely fees. At DanJo & Co, we only work on fixed fees for probate services; this ranges from £995 to £1,995 (excluding VAT and the probate fee), depending on the level of control the Personal Representative wishes to retain. Alternatively, we can take care of the full estate administration process, including applying for a Grant of Probate.

Do Solicitors only deal with probate?

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