What is the process?

The process of obtaining a grant of representation varies in different parts of the UK. If you area personal representative of a person who has died in England or Wales you will need to go through a seven stage process to obtain the grant.

The processes in Scotland and Northern Ireland are both similar but differ in certain respects.

Seven stage process in England and Wales

1. Value the estate

As a first step you will need to value the estate. This will establish whether or not a grant of representation is required. For further information, please see the separate section of Lasting Post called Valuing the Estate.

2. Complete the documentation

If a grant of representation is required, you will need to complete the appropriate probate application form. You will also need to complete the correct Inheritance Tax form. All probate application forms and Inheritance Tax forms can be obtained from the Probate Service or HM Revenue & Customs. To access all the forms, please click here.

3. Lodge the documentation

You can send the application form to either the Principal Registry (in London) or one of the Probate Registries. You will need to send the Inheritance Tax form to HM Revenue & Customs. To find out where your nearest Probate Registry is located, please click here.

4. Pay any Inheritance Tax liability

You will then need to pay any Inheritance Tax liability that is due on the estate. This will need to be done before you receive the grant of representation. For further information on paying the Inheritance Tax liability, please see the separate section of Lasting Post called Financial considerations.

5. Swear an oath

The Probate Registry will send the oath to be sworn to the first personal representative named in the application form. All the personal representatives will need to swear the oath in front of a commissioner for oaths (usually a local solicitor) or at a Probate Registry or local probate office. After the oath is sworn, you will need to send all the documents duly completed back to the same Probate Registry.

6. Receive the grant of representation

Once the Probate Registry has completed its work and is satisfied that the application is in order, you will receive the grant of representation by post.

7. Pay liabilities and distribute the estate

Your final job, as one of the personal representatives, will be to pay any liabilities owing by the estate and then distribute the rest of it to the beneficiaries.

Further help

For more information on the process of obtaining a grant of probate (where the deceased person left a will), please see the section of Lasting Post called If there is a will.

For more information on the process of obtaining a grant of letters of administration (where the deceased person didn’t have a will), please see the section of Lasting Post called If there’s no will.

Please note

The information which we provide through Lasting Post is in outline for information or educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. We cannot guarantee that information provided by Lasting Post will meet your individual needs, as this will very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should therefore use the information only as a starting point for your enquiries.