Can You Track a Probate Application UK: The Ultimate Guide

Probate is the legal process that validates a will and manages the estate of a deceased individual. It ensures assets are distributed as per their wishes, settles debts, and handles taxes. Whether there’s a will or not, probate determines rightful inheritors. The complexity varies based on estate size and beneficiaries.

In this article, we will explain how Can You Track a Probate Application UK and what to expect from the process.

Types of Probate Applications

Depending on whether the deceased left a will or not, two main types of probate applications can be made in the UK: grant of probate and letters of administration.

Grant of Probate

A grant of probate is required when the deceased left a valid will and named one or more executors to carry out their wishes. A grant of probate gives the executor the legal authority to access the deceased’s assets, pay any debts or taxes, and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries according to the will.

To apply for a grant of probate, the executor needs to:

  • Complete the probate application form PA1P and the inheritance tax form IHT205 or IHT400.
  • Send the original will and two copies, of the death certificate, and the application fee to the probate registry.
  • Swear an oath confirming the accuracy of the information provided and the executor’s duty to administer the estate.

Letters of Administration

Letters of administration are required when the deceased did not leave a will when the will is invalid or does not name an executor, or when the named executor cannot or does not want to apply. Letters of administration appoint an administrator to manage the estate according to the rules of intestacy, which determine who inherits the estate based on their relationship to the deceased.

To apply for letters of administration, the administrator needs to:

  • Complete the probate application form PA1A and the inheritance tax form IHT205 or IHT400.
  • Send the death certificate and the application fee to the probate registry.
  • Swear an oath confirming the accuracy of the information provided and the administrator’s duty to administer the estate.

Tracking a Probate Application in the UK

Once you have submitted your probate application, you may want to track its progress and status. There are different ways to do this, depending on the type of application and the method of submission.

Online Tracking

One of the easiest ways to track a probate application is to use the online service provided by the Probate Registry. This service allows you to search for the probate case by entering the deceased’s name, date of death, and probate number (if you have it).

By using the online tracking service, you can:

  • Please access the current status of the probate application, such as whether it has been received, checked, approved, or rejected.
  • View any documents that have been filed or issued by the Probate Registry, such as the grant of probate or letters of administration, the will, the oath, and the inheritance tax forms.
  • Download or print copies of the documents for your records.

To use the track probate application online, you need to register for an account and verify your identity. You can access the service here: https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate

Timeline and Approval

Another way to track a probate application is to estimate the timeline and approval based on the average processing times and the type of application. Generally, applications are reviewed by the Probate Service, which is part of HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Monitoring the “probate application progress” through these channels can provide valuable insights into the anticipated timeline for approval.

The Probate Service aims to process applications within the following timeframes:

  • 8 weeks for online applications for a grant of probate.
  • 10 weeks for online applications for letters of administration.
  • 12 weeks for paper applications for a grant of probate or letters of administration.

However, these timeframes are not guaranteed and may vary depending on the volume and complexity of applications. Some factors that may delay the approval of a probate application include:

  • Missing or incorrect information or documents.
  • Queries or disputes about the validity of the will or the identity of the executor or administrator.
  • Inheritance tax issues or investigations.
  • Claims or challenges against the estate.

If the Probate Service needs more information or documents, they will contact you by email, phone, or post. You should respond as soon as possible to avoid further delays.

Document Retrieval

Once your probate application has been approved, you will receive the official document that authorizes you to manage the estate. Depending on the type of application, this document will be either:

  • Grant of Probate: This document confirms that the will is valid and that the executor has the legal right to administer the estate.
  • Letters of Administration with Will Annexed: This document is issued when the deceased leaves a will, but the named executor cannot or does not want to apply, or when the will is invalid or does not name an executor. It appoints an administrator to administer the estate according to the will.
  • Letters of Administration: This document is issued when the deceased did not leave a will, or when the will is invalid or does not name an executor. It appoints an administrator to administer the estate according to the rules of intestacy.

These documents allow you to access the deceased’s assets, such as bank accounts, property, and investments, pay any debts or taxes, and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries. You should keep the original document and make copies for your records. You may need to show the document to various organizations and institutions to prove your authority to deal with the estate.

Beneficiaries and Tracking

If you are a beneficiary of the estate, you may also want to track the probate application and know when you can expect to receive your inheritance. However, as a beneficiary, you have a limited role in the probate process and your ability to track the application may depend on the cooperation of the executor or administrator.

As a beneficiary, you can track the application by:

  • Asking the executor or administrator for updates and copies of the probate documents.
  • Searching the online probate registry for the probate case using the deceased’s name, date of death, and probate number (if you have it).
  • Contacting the probate registry by phone, email, or post to request information about the probate case.

However, as a beneficiary, your main concern is not the status of the probate application, but whether the grant of probate or letters of administration have been granted. This is because the grant of probate or letters of administration is the document that allows the executor or administrator to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries. Once the grant of probate or letters of administration has been issued, you can expect to receive your inheritance within a reasonable time, depending on the complexity of the estate and the number of beneficiaries involved.

Conclusion

In this article, we have explained how Can You Track a Probate Application UK and what to expect from the process. We have discussed the different types of probate applications, the online tracking service, the timeline and approval, the document retrieval, and the role of beneficiaries. Tracking a probate application can help you stay informed and prepared for the estate administration.

We encourage you to use the online resources available to check the probate status and progress of your probate case. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the probate registry or seek professional advice. We hope this article has answered your query on whether you can track a probate application UK.

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