HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Is an account required? - initial steps following a death (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

A prospective personal representative (IHTM05012) (PR) who wants to obtain a grant (IHTM05001) can either:

  • appoint a solicitor or other agent to act on their behalf and prepare the necessary paperwork, or
  • take out the grant themselves

If they decide to take out the grant themselves their first source of information is usually the Court Service booklet, ‘How to obtain probate’, that is available from undertakers and advice centres as well as HM Court Service. The booklet has brief information on Inheritance Tax.

The PR can phone the IHT orderline to ask for the probate application form PA1, together with a form IHT205 - Return of Estate information and IHT206 - notes on how to complete from IHT205.

Form IHT205 will guide the PR through the conditions (IHTM06012) for excepted estates (IHTM05021).by asking a series of questions. If the answer to certain questions is ‘yes’ the PR must complete an IHT400 (IHTM10021) instead. They can obtain a pack of forms for personal applicants by:

  • by downloading the form from the HMRC website 
  • using the telephone orderline (0300 123 1072), or
  • by writing to us.

If a form IHT400 is not required the PR will obtain an excepted estate grant (IHTM05026) by completing a form IHT205 and form PA1 and sending these to the Probate Registry. Form IHT205 will then be sent to HMRC. We will use the form to monitor the operation of the process.