If you’re an executor of someone’s will, you may need to apply to the Probate Registry for a grant of probate so you have the authority to sort out the deceased’s affairs. If there isn’t a will, you may be able to apply for a grant of letters of administration.

Do you need a grant of probate?

This depends on the size of the deceased’s estate and the kinds of assets in it.

Normally, a grant of probate is required if the value of the deceased’s estate (after paying the funeral account) is over £5,000.

Find out more on when a grant of probate is needed.

Applying for a grant without a solicitor

To apply for a grant of probate yourself you need to complete and send a variety of probate forms to the Probate Registry, which outline to the Probate Registry what the deceased’s estate is worth.

Probate forms used to apply for a grant of probate in England & Wales

To apply for a grant of probate in England & Wales, you must complete the following probate forms:

  • Form PA1A, if the deceased died in England & Wales without a Will
  • Form PA1P, if the deceased died in England & Wales with a Will
  • Form IHT 205, if the gross value of the estate for inheritance tax is less than the inheritance tax threshold (£325,000) or is less than £1,000,000, and there is no inheritance tax to pay because of spouse, civil partner or charity exemption.
  • Form IHT400, if the estate is not exempt from inheritance tax

Completing Form PA1 – Probate Application Form

In the probate application form PA1, the following information is requested:

Details of the deceased

  • The deceased’s name, address, occupation and date of birth and death

The Will and executors

  • Is there a Will?
  • Were executors appointed? Who are they?
  • Are any of the executors not applying for probate? If so, why is that the case? If a named executor doesn’t want to apply now but may do so later, the Probate Registry will provide a power reserved letter for them to sign.
  • Is only one executor taking out the grant of probate? If only one executor is taking out the grant, it may be prudent for a non-acting executor to sign a power reserved letter, even if it’s not anticipated that they will want to apply at any stage, in case the acting executor dies or becomes incapacitated before the administration of the estate is complete.
  • Were any gifts made to anyone under 18? If so, the executors (or trustees, if there are any) will hold the gift until the person is 18.

The deceased’s relatives

  • Details of the deceased’s relatives. This will be relevant if there is no Will, as the list of relatives follows the order of entitlement to take out a grant of letters of administration on an intestacy. The list also helps in determining who should inherit where there is an intestacy or a partial intestacy (i.e. where the Will fails to dispose of all the deceased’s estate).

The person(s) applying for the grant of probate

  • Details of the executor(s).
  • Out of all the executors, who is the first applicant?
  • What is the relationship of the first applicant to the deceased? This information is needed for the oath which will be sworn at the Probate Registry on application for the grant. More importantly, in the case of an intestacy, this information verifies that the applicant is the person entitled to take out the grant of letters of administration.

Sending Form PA1 to the Probate Registry

Once you have completed probate application form PA1A or PA1P – along with Form IHT 205 if you don’t have to pay inheritance tax and Form IHT400 if you do – make copies of all of the probate forms and send them to the Probate Registry. Send the original Will and the deceased’s death certificate along with them.

You should also make copies of the deceased’s Will and death certificate for your own records. If you cannot deliver these documents in person at the Probate Registry, you can send them by registered post.

Use our Probate Assist service and get expert help from probate professionals on how to complete the PA1 probate application form correctly.


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