After you've applied

You’ll get the grant of probate (or letters of administration) within 20 days of sending in your original documents.

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.

Pay debts

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.

Contact the mortgage company, check with HM Land Registry or get legal advice if you’re unsure how a property’s owned - you may need to update the property records.

Distribute the estate

Once all debts and taxes have been paid, you can distribute the estate as detailed:

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.