Applying for probate

If you’re an executor you can apply for probate yourself or use a solicitor or another person licensed to provide probate services.

If there’s no will you can apply for letters of administration. You follow the same steps as applying for probate but you can only apply by post.

Report the estate’s value and pay any inheritance tax you owe

You must estimate and report the estate’s value before you apply for probate. Depending on its value, you may have to pay Inheritance Tax.

You may get a penalty if you send inaccurate information on your Inheritance Tax form.

If there’s tax to pay, you normally have to pay at least some of it before you’ll get probate.

You can claim the tax back from the estate or the beneficiaries, if you pay it out of your own bank account.

Apply for probate online

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

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

You’ll need to send your documents by post after you submit your online application.

Apply for probate

Return to an existing probate application.

Apply for probate by post

Fill in the probate application form PA1. Send it with your documents.

Sending your documents

Send these documents to your local Probate Registry:

  • the original will and any additions to it (‘codicils’) - sign the front of each in the top right corner
  • 3 copies of the signed will and additions on plain A4 paper - do not remove any staples or bindings to make the copies
  • the death certificate or an interim death certificate from the coroner
  • the application fee of £215 - a cheque made payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (there’s no fee if the estate is under £5,000)

Use a signed-for postal service to send your documents.

The death certificate will be returned to you but the will and any updates to it will not be.

Extra copies of the probate cost 50p each - this means you can send them to different organisations at the same time.

If more than one executor applies

When more than one executor applies you’ll also need to send a photocopy of the will and any updates to it. Each executor must sign the first page of the photocopy in the top right corner.

If the will has been changed or damaged

You must include a cover letter if the will or any updates 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.

Swear an oath

If you applied by post you’ll be sent an oath. This is a promise that the information you’ve given is true to the best of your knowledge.

You’ll be sent details of how to arrange an appointment to swear the oath.

If you applied online you’ll make a ‘statement of truth’ - you will not have to swear an oath.