Download Free How To Guide to Probate in England and Wales

Need some help understanding how it works before applying for Probate?

free step by step guide to probate
Free Probate Guide

Not everyone will wish to carry out the work to apply for a Grant  of probate without professional help, but our free step by step Guide to Probate will help you to make the decision and give you an insight into the process if you do decide to go ahead and DIY.  Of course, you may find that you don’t need to apply for a Grant at all. But if you do, we have access to both low-cost assisted probate service (help only when you need it) or relatively economical solicitors or trust corporations. Sensibly priced help is available, just ask us! Be aware that we at TPD only provide signposting, we do not provide specific advice.

If you do want professional help with, do you want to hand the whole job over to a bank or solicitor, or perhaps a sales rep who is sent to see you by the (Co-op!) undertaker? Our Free  Probate Guide booklet normally arrives within moments by email, internet allowing, and you may get a few follow-up emails which could be helpful, but if you do decide you need (or would like) some economical professional help (you can recover the cost from the estate – (it is not a personal cost to the executor) give us a call or reply to the email.   Here is the form, but there is more information below and throughout our site on how to apply for Letters of Administration (no valid Will) or a Grant of Probate (with a Will). Please do give us a recommendation if it helps you!

To get the free Probate Guide England and Wales, before considering applying for probate, just pop your email in the form below (and please double check it!) The page continues below.

Do it Yourself Probate Guide – avoid sneaky extras…

How do you compare the costs of probate?  Our guide to probate will help expose the sneaky practices of some – no, many – professional firms which can dramatically increase the costs if you don’t spot them in time.   And we are talking about many thousands of pounds of additional, quite unnecessary, costs.  On a gross estate of £500,000 one simple marketing tactic to make fees look lower could add £9,000 to the final – already –  substantial bill for applying for probate and distributing the estate.

If the estate is simple but you could do with a little help to make sure all the forms are completed correctly and you have included everything you should have, you could do worse than ask about the Assisted Probate Service we have organised.  You can use it to get as much or as little help as you need, and just pay for the time needed.

Back to the Do It Yourself Probate Guide, there are also tips for those determined to avoid paying professional fees at all costs, but aware that you need some help. The separate Assisted Probate Service was deliberately set up to provide anything from 30 minutes help upwards.  Just someone to fall back on if you are struggling or confused. Hopefully, carrying out the process of applying for a Grant of Probate will not be something you need to do regularly.

Our free Probate Guide will also give you some guidance as to who can apply to sort out the estate if there is no Last Will, or if the executor nominated in the Last Will cannot or will not do the job.

And there are a fair few areas where the inexperienced executor can come seriously unstuck and end up being penalised personally by HMRC, an unexpected creditor or a disappointed relative.

Maybe you actually need a few ideas on where to actually FIND the Last Will – many are not looked after very securely, or were in the vaults of firms who ceased trading years ago.

Finding out how to pay for the funeral is an eye-opener for many which could have saved a lot of problems – if it is too late to save you having to find a few thousand pounds at short notice, at least you will be able to help.

We promise that our free step-by-step guide to probate will be a boon, and just maybe we’ll be able to help you too.

Our Guide to Applying for Probate in England and Wales

How to apply for probate:

You may need to apply to get a Grant, which is the formal certificate that gives you authority to deal with the estate and pay bills and eventually distribute the estate according to the terms of the Will or the strict Rules of Intestacy  (in which case it is “letters of administration”. Before you apply for probate, you check that it’s needed and that you’re eligible to apply. Best especially careful if there is any possibility of Inheritance tax. If there is, then you also need to estimate and report the estate’s value to find out if there’s Inheritance Tax to pay before applying for probate. Getting that bit wrong can lead to substantial penalties.

How to Check if probate is needed.

Can I apply for a grant of probate?

Only certain people can apply for probate. Who can apply depends on whether or not there’s a Will.

If there is a Will, the executors named in it are the correct people in applying for a Grant.

If there’s not a will, the closest living relative can apply. The order is legal husband/ wife / civil registered partner and if none of those are alive, then to the children (including legally adopted but NOT step-children) of the deceased, or grandchildren of a deceased child. If there are none, then the deceased persons’ parents, if they are dead, then brothers and sisters if any or their children (including legally adopted but NOT step-children)

Value the estate and work out Inheritance Tax

Before applying for probate, estimate the value of the estate of the person who died and find out if you need to pay Inheritance Tax.

When you can apply for probate depends on whether or not there’s Inheritance Tax to pay. If there is, then you need to deal with the Inheritance Tax side and submit that to the Inland Revenue at least four weeks before the actual probate application is submitted. Why? Because the Probate Registry needs to tie up your application for a Grant with the Taxman’s reference on the IHT side, or there will be further delays whilst that is sorted.

You can get the forms to apply by download or by calling 0300 123 1072 (HMRC), though they will try to get you to do it online. But don’t forget to fill in the form above ask for our free Guide to the probate process booklet above (I am afraid it is only available by email.) It will help in applying for a grant.

Register a death                           Relevant Forms


How to Apply for probate. Free UK Guide to probate for England and Wales.










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