After you've applied
You’ll get the grant of probate (or letters of administration) within 20 days of:
- swearing the oath - if you applied by post
- sending your documents - if you applied online
Return it to the Probate Registry if there’s anything wrong with it.
Send a copy to organisations that hold the assets of the person who died, for example their bank.
Get access to financial assets
You can ask for financial assets to be transferred to an agreed ‘executorship account’. This can be either:
- an executor’s bank account
- an account that’s been set up only for dealing with the estate
Every executor named on the grant of probate may need to be present when you withdraw assets. Different asset holders have different rules, so check with them first.
As the executor or administrator you must pay off any debts or outstanding payments before distributing the estate. This could include:
- outstanding bills
- tax owed
Place a notice in The Gazette to give creditors the chance to claim anything they’re owed. This will protect you from responsibility for any debts.
You can use money from the estate to pay any solicitor’s fees as part of the probate process.
Jointly owned property and bank accounts
Money in a joint bank account automatically passes to the other owners. You still have to include this money as part of the estate when you work out Inheritance Tax.
If the person who died owned the whole of the home with another person (‘joint tenancy’), ownership passes to the other owner. Otherwise, their share goes to the beneficiary named in the will.
Distribute the estate
Once all debts and taxes have been paid, you can distribute the estate as detailed:
- in the will
- by the law if there’s no will
Beneficiaries may have to pay Income Tax if the assets they inherit generate income for them.
After this you can prepare the estate accounts. These must be approved and signed by you and the main beneficiaries.