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Probate: How Long Does It Take If There’s A Will?

Probate is part of the process of managing a deceased person’s estate, and a Will usually makes the process quicker – but this is not always the case.

On average, in England and Wales it takes between 9 and 12 months to obtain the Grant of Probate and to complete the estate administration process, whether or not there is a Will.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the process of administering a deceased person’s estate and the term refers to a legal document that is needed in order for an individual to administer an estate – with a Will, this document is called a Grant of Probate, and without a Will it is called a Grant of Letters of Administration.

Both document types work in the same way, giving a named person the legal authority needed to administer the estate – this includes closing down the deceased person’s bank accounts, settling their debts, selling their property and more.

Do You Need Probate?

It depends on the assets of the deceased person as to whether or not probate is needed – whether there is a Will or not has no bearing.

What Is The Probate Process?

The named Executors in the Will, if there is one, are the people chosen by the deceased to administer their estate and must apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate. This usually takes between 3 and 6 months to come through and once granted, the Executors then proceed to administer the estate.

It takes between 9 and 12 months for the probate and estate administration process to be completed, on average, depending on the individual estate and situation.

How Fast Is The Probate Process?

Every probate process is different and how long it takes depends on a number of factors, including the below:

  • Is the estate straightforward, without property to sell?
  • Does the estate include property and assets overseas?
  • How much time can the Executors devote to the completion of this work?

Will Probate Be Quicker With A Will?

The process won’t necessarily be quicker with a Will, no. However, it does usually make the whole experience more straightforward and less stressful as loved ones know who the Executors should be as well as the Beneficiaries, and what the deceased wanted them to inherit.

Sometimes, though, delays can be caused by a Will. This may be for a number of reasons but often because of one of the following reasons:

  • Family and friends struggle to find the original Will
  • Someone is excluded from the Will and makes a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act
  • The Will is not properly drafted and causes uncertainty

It is always advisable to have a Will, however, as it enables you to express your wishes for protecting loved ones after you die – even though a Will can cause a delay to the probate process, it is still better to have your wishes followed in the longer run than not at all. It is important to seek legal advice with your Will to ensure it is legally watertight and to help ensure the process is as straightforward as possible.

How We Can Help You With Probate  

Our specialist probate solicitors have experience of and understanding gained from handing all types of estate administration cases, from the most straightforward to hugely complex estates – and both with or without a Will being available.

We can assist the Executors with all the legal, tax and administrative work involved in administering an estate, and provide expert legal assistance throughout to help make the process as straightforward as possible.

To speak to one of our specialist solicitors about the probate process or for professional help with administering an estate, contact us on Freephone  0800 988 3674 or at our Hoole office in Chester on Tel: 01244 311 633 or email