Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone passes away, ensuring their assets are distributed according to their wishes or, according to the Law of intestacy in the absence of a valid Will.

In England and Wales, the probate application form is a vital document for handling this process effectively. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the probate application form, its purpose, and how to complete it correctly.

What Is the Probate Application Form?

The probate application form is a crucial document required when applying for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in England and Wales. This document serves as an application to the Probate Registry and provides essential details about the deceased’s estate and the applicant.

Purpose and Function of Form

The primary function of the probate application form is to inform the Probate Registry about the deceased’s assets and liabilities. The process also identifies and gives legal rights to the individual(s) seeking authority to administer the estate. It also establishes the estate’s value, which is essential for determining inheritance tax, if applicable.

When is It Necessary to complete a Probate Application Form?

You must complete a probate application form when a loved one has passed away, and their estate requires probate to distribute assets and settle debts. We take a closer look at when probate is necessary in the article “When is Probate Required?” because it’s not always essential when someone dies. For example, if the value of the estate is low or if everything is being transferred to a surviving spouse.

Probate Advice Options

probate application form

Who Can Apply for Probate?

Not just anyone can apply for probate. To be eligible, you must be over 18 and fit one of the following criteria:

  • Named as an executor in the Will if one exists
  • A close relative if there is no Will
  • A creditor owed money by the deceased

What to Do Before Filling Out the Probate Application Form

Before starting the probate application form, it’s essential to prepare thoroughly by gathering the necessary documents: Our probate checklist provides a comprehensive guide to the likely documents you will require, however at the very least you will need:

  • The original Will (if one exists) and codicils
  • Death certificate
  • Details of the deceased’s assets and liabilities
  • Any relevant financial statements or documents

Determine the Type of Probate you need

The probate application will differ depending on the existence of a Will and the two types of probate are known as.

It’s important to check you complete the correct probate application form as the process differs depending on the circumstances. There is an online option to complete probate but it’s only available in straightforward circumstances. You can complete an online questionnaire to see if you qualify for the online application.

Structure of a Probate Application Form

The probate application form typically consists of several sections, including personal information, details about the deceased, asset and liability information, and a declaration. Here’s how to complete it step by step:

How to Fill Out a Probate Application Form

Step 1: Provide Personal Information

Begin by filling in your personal details as the applicant. This includes your full name, address and contact information.

Step 2: Provide Information About the Deceased

Include essential information about the deceased, such as their full name, date of birth, date of death and last address.

Step 3: Provide Information About Assets

List all the assets owned by the deceased, including property, bank accounts, investments and personal belongings. Provide detailed information, such as account numbers, property addresses and estimated values.

Step 4: Provide Information About Liabilities

Document any outstanding debts or liabilities the deceased had, such as mortgages, loans or unpaid bills.

Step 5: Sign and Submit the Application

Review the information carefully, sign and date the application form and submit it to the Probate Registry.

Check carefully that the forms are completely correctly and accurately. Mistakes cause delays and it’s important to note that executors and administrators can be held personally liable for mistakes.

Submitting the Form

Pay close attention to any additional documents or fees required with your application.

The probate application fee at the time of writing is:

  • £273 if the value of the estate is over £5,000. .
  • There’s no fee if the estate is £5,000 or less.

How long does the application for probate take?

The time it takes to process a probate application can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and the workload of the Probate Registry. In straightforward cases, it may take around 3 to 6 months to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. However, more complex estates or situations involving disputes or tax issues can extend the process to a year or more.

At the time of writing (September 23) the Probate Registry has been dealing with a hefty backlog of applications which is causing long delays in the probate process. It’s important to complete the forms correctly as mistakes can cause further delays.

It’s advisable to check the current processing times with the Probate Registry or seek legal advice if you have concerns about delays or complications in the probate process.

You may want to read: How long does probate take?

How to Avoid Common Pitfalls with Probate Applications

To streamline the probate process and avoid common pitfalls, consider the following tips:

  • Ensure accuracy in asset valuation. If there is an undervaluation of the estate HMRC will demand payment of any additional inheritance tax due.
  • Promptly notify banks, institutions and creditors of the deceased’s passing.
  • Keep detailed records of all financial transactions during the probate process. Detailed records are essential as executors and administrators can be held personally liable for mistakes.

The simplest way to protect administrators and executors is to seek professional advice. Probate can be complex and probate practitioners pay a hefty indemnity insurance fee because even for professionals, it’s easy to make a mistake especially when the estate is complex. If you are unsure on which probate application form to complete or are struggling with the complexity of the form, please book a free consultation with a probate specialist from The Probate Network.

Common Questions and Answers about The Probate Application Form

Which form is commonly used for probate applications in the UK?

The most commonly used probate application form in the UK is the ‘PA1P’ form. It’s also known as the ‘Probate Application Form’ and is used when the deceased person had a Will and named an executor to handle their estate.

Are there different probate application forms for different situations?

Yes, there are different probate application forms depending on the circumstances. Apart from PA1P, there is the ‘PA1A’ form for when the deceased person didn’t leave a Will, and the ‘PA8A’ form for when the estate is considered simple and doesn’t require a full probate application.

Where can I obtain probate application forms in the UK?

You can obtain probate application forms in the UK from the official government website, HM Courts & Tribunals Service. These forms can be downloaded for free from their website. There is also an online probate application process which isn’t suitable for every probate application but the questionnaire on the government website will inform you if it’s suitable for your circumstances.

Do I need legal assistance to fill out a probate application form?

While it’s not mandatory to have legal assistance, it can be beneficial, especially if the estate is complex or if you’re unsure about the process. Many people choose to seek advice from a probate specialist or use the services of a professional probate specialist to ensure accuracy and compliance with legal requirements.

What happens after the probate application is approved?

Once the probate application is approved, the executor or administrator will receive a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration. This legal document allows them to manage and distribute the estate’s assets according to the deceased person’s wishes or the law, if there is no Will.

What should I do if I have questions or need assistance with a probate application in the UK?

If you have questions or need assistance with a probate application in the UK, please book a free consultation with a probate specialist from The Probate Network.

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