How Long Does Straightforward Probate Take?

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During the difficult and emotional time of the death of a loved one, getting their affairs in order can be a stressful challenge. So when it comes to probate, wills and issues of their estate, the quicker and easier it is to finalise the process, the better. But as matters of probate can be complex, one of the more common questions we’re asked is, “How long does straightforward probate take?”

What Is Probate?

Starting the process of probate can bring to mind thoughts of paperwork, confusion, and stress. Not to mention how long it might take. But while it can sometimes be a thorny process to navigate, many probates are complete quite easily inside a few weeks.

Probate is a document – usually a single sheet of paper – issued by the Probate Registry saying that a chosen Executor has permission to finalise the estate of someone who has died. ‘Estate’ might sound distinguished, but it’s a collective term meaning the house, any personal effects, or money left by them. And the ‘Executor’ is the person chosen by the deceased to go through the estate, making sure the named beneficiaries receive what’s left to them.

How Long Does Probate Take?

Though asking how long straightforward probate takes is a common question, there isn’t one, simple answer. Every case is different and with the variables involved, it’s not a question we can answer with any precision. Several factors can play their part in the timescales, including whether any tax is owing or if any mistakes have occurred. It could even come down to how busy your Probate Registry office is during the process. Like other businesses, they can experience busy times.

To put it into some kind of context, once Grant of Probate applications are complete, it’s typical for the process to take between 4 – 8 weeks. On the other side of that, it’s not unheard of for the process to be complete within a couple of weeks, though this would be an exception to the rule.

We’ve also seen cases take much longer and that can be due to mistakes made throughout the process. Once your application has arrived with the Probate Registry, they’ll review all the paperwork they receive in full. If any information is missing, incomplete, or has errors, they’ll be unable to issue a Grant of Probate. If that happens, they’ll tell you what the problem is and you’ll need to make another application and go through the process again.

Is Probate Complicated?

Each probate case varies in its complexity and it takes time to understand the status and ownership of the estate. But as a rule, the larger, more complex, or valuable the estate is, the longer the process will take – even when complete. If an estate requires input from banks, insurance companies, or investment agencies, it will increase the time it takes to administer.

Anything that involves these institutions, such as the selling or cashing in of financial assets or shares, payment of debts, or any insurance policy claims can prove to be a lengthy process. This part of the probate journey can take longer if you need a specialist valuation on any property. Waiting on any respondents for written valuations or other information from any beneficiaries can delay the process still further.

If your loved one has few assets which equate to a smaller estate, such as a bank account and personal effects, it should be a much more straightforward and quicker probate process.

Do I Need A Specialist Probate Solicitor?

It’s not a legal need to use a specialist probate solicitor, but it can be a big help in reducing the stress and time it takes to complete the process. It’s possible to administer the probate process yourself in simpler cases without much difficulty. You can use a DIY pack, get the relevant forms from the Probate Registry office, or download them. But, it can still be time-consuming, confusing, and might present unknown questions or difficulties for you.

But even the simplest of probate cases could become more complex. If the terms of a will are unclear or any part of the will is contested by family, friends, or beneficiaries, it’s best to ask the advice of a probate solicitor. Their knowledge and impartiality can be crucial in speeding up the process and unravelling any complications you encounter along the way.

Let MJR Solicitors Help You

As independent probate and estate administration solicitors, we can provide specialist probate services and we’re ready to give you help with as much or as little of the probate process as you need. There may be one area, in particular, that’s causing you problems that you’d like us to look at for you, or we can take care of the entire process from start to finish.

From gathering any information needed to complete the paperwork in full and obtaining the Grant of Probate, to distributing the entire estate to the beneficiaries in the will on your behalf. Whatever you need and whenever you need it, we’re here to help you and keep things simple and jargon-.

We can also give you our fees upfront to help you plan without any nasty surprises. Depending on how much you’d like us to help you with, we can quote either an hourly fee based on how long we believe it will take, or we can offer you a fixed fee. Either way, we’ll give you accurate timescales of when you can expect us to complete any process for you.

For many, probate is an unfamiliar and complicated procedure coming at an upsetting time. If it comes down to you as an executor and you’re not sure what to do next, contact us today and we can talk you through it. Or why not visit us for a probate consultation to make the process even easier – and quicker? We can go through the process in full and you can ask us anything.

Whatever you choose to do, MJR Solicitors are here to help when you need it most.

Get Your Probate Consultation

Mark Riley

Mark Riley is a specialist lawyer offering services in Criminal Law and Professional Misconduct Cases. Mark has studied around the world, including time in Australia. Whilst there he met many amazing and inspirational lawyers. Mark is a passionate advocate and can be found in Courts up and down the Country having practised in Magistrates' Courts, Crown Courts and various Tribunals.
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