Apply for probate

You can apply for probate yourself online or by post, or pay a probate practitioner (such as a solicitor) to do it for you.

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), probate applications are taking up to 8 weeks to process. It’s taking longer to process paper applications than online applications.

This guide and the service are also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Before you apply

  1. Check if you need probate.

  2. Check if you can apply for probate.

  3. You must estimate and report the estate’s value before you apply for probate.

  4. You must find out whether you need to pay Inheritance Tax. If you do have to pay it, send the appropriate forms to HMRC and wait 20 working days before applying for probate.

  5. You must have the original will if you’re the executor (you do not need it if you’re an administrator). You must also have the original death certificate or an interim death certificate from the coroner.

If you need to pay Inheritance Tax

You normally have to pay at least some of the tax before you’ll get probate. You can claim the tax back from the estate, if you pay it out of your own bank account.

Probate application fees

You may have to pay a fee to apply for probate. Whether you need to pay depends on the value of the estate.

If the value of the estate is over £5,000, the application fee is £215. You may be able to get help to pay the probate fee and other court fees if you have a low income or are on certain benefits.

There’s no fee if the estate is £5,000 or less.

Extra copies of the probate cost £1.50 each. This means you can send them to different organisations at the same time.

If the will has been changed or damaged

You must include a cover letter if the will or any additions have changed in any way since you’ve had them. This includes them being damaged or separated for photocopying.

The letter should explain what’s been changed and why.

Get help and advice

If you’ve not yet applied and have a question about applying for probate, contact the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre:

Courts and Tribunals Service Centre
Webchat
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 2pm

If you’re a probate practitioner

You should apply for probate for your client using the MyHMCTS service. You’ll need to create an account first if you do not have one.

Apply for probate online

You can use this service if you’re the executor or administrator and you:

The person who died must have lived in England or Wales most of the time.

The probate registry will keep the original will and any additions to it. If you make a copy of these for your records, do not remove any staples or bindings from them.

Apply for probate

Return to an existing probate application.

Apply for probate by post

The form you need to fill in depends on whether the person left a will or not.

Fill in application form PA1P if there is a will.

Fill in application form PA1A if there is not a will.

Because of COVID-19, it’s taking longer to process paper applications than online applications. Use the online service to apply for probate if you can.

You need to pay before you send the form.

You can pay by either:

  • calling the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre to pay by credit or debit card - you’ll be given a reference number to send with your documents
  • sending a cheque payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’ with your documents

Courts and Tribunals Service Centre
Telephone: 0300 303 5856
Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 3:30pm
Find out about call charges

Send your completed form to HMCTS Probate with the following documents:

HMCTS Probate
PO Box 12625
Harlow
CM20 9QE

Use a signed-for or tracked postal service that will deliver to PO boxes to send your documents.

The death certificate will be returned to you but the will and any additions to it will not be. If you make a copy of the will and any of its additions for your own records, do not remove any staples or bindings from them.