Do you need probate if there is a will?

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Is probate required if there is a will? You may have heard of terms like ‘probate’, ‘wills’, and ‘lasting power of attorney’, but what does it all mean?

Luckily, the team of expert wills and probate lawyers at Freeman Jones Legal has years of experience explaining these legal processes and terms using straightforward language instead of confusing legal jargon.

So, for clear answers to common probate-related questions such as ‘Do I need probate if there is a will?’ and ‘Who doesn’t need probate?’, we’re on hand to help.

To clear up any potential confusion, we explore the probate procedure in the UK and its relationship with wills in more detail below.

When is probate required?

As a general rule, probate is required for estates valued at more than £5,000 in the UK.

Put simply, probate refers to the process of identifying the individual with the legal responsibility of dealing with the estate and affairs of a deceased person and ensuring they carry out these legal processes.

This individual is commonly named as executor in the deceased’s will, but they can also be given the responsibility of handling the deceased’s estate and affairs as per the Rules of Intestacy, if they haven’t been named as will executor.

This means the most ‘entitled’ person (often the closest living relative) can apply for probate. Typically, this is the spouse or civil partner, followed by children aged over 18 years.

In many cases, a will executor or the closest living relative will apply for probate – either with or without the support of a specialist probate solicitor. This legal document provides them with the authority to share out the estate of the deceased as per the instructions in their will.

It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that probate typically isn’t required if the deceased’s estate is relatively small and valued at less than £5,000 in the UK.

Who decides if probate is needed?

Ultimately, the financial institutions (like banks and societies) that the deceased individual used will decide whether probate is necessary for dealing with their estate and affairs. Some institutions will have a set probate threshold, while others may deliver a decision on a case-by-case basis.

Societies, banks, and other financial institutions set their own probate thresholds, so it’s worth checking with the relevant banks or financial institution that the deceased used before assuming you don’t need to apply for probate.

Is probate required if there is a will?

Do you need probate if there is a will? While this is a frequently asked question following the death of a loved one, the presence or absence of a will actually makes no difference to whether probate is required.

Regardless of the existence of validity of a will, if the deceased’s estate is valued above the probate threshold of the relevant financial institution and all their assets are owned under their sole name, then probate will be necessary.

Do all wills have to go to probate UK?

No, there are many reasons as to why not all wills have to go through probate in the UK. In fact, probate can be required in cases where there is no will. We explore the various circumstances in which a deceased person’s estate and assets do not need to go through probate.

Who doesn’t need probate?

As mentioned above, typically, probate will not be necessary if the combined value of the deceased’s estate and assets comes to less than £5,000.

Probate may also not be required if the deceased only had savings or jointly-owned shares, land, property, or money (as these financial assets tend to past to the surviving individual or owner).

Freeman Jones Legal wills and probate services

For expert support with obtaining probate and executing a will, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team of wills and probate solicitors at Freeman Jones Legal.

Our experienced team can be reached across the country as we’ve opened offices in Chester, Liverpool, Warrington, and Wrexham.

Regardless of whether you’d like to learn more about inheritance disputes or lasting power of attorney, why not get in touch today to book your free, no-obligation, 20-minute consultation?

You can either give our friendly team a call now on 01244 506 444, send us your enquiry in an email to, or fill out our convenient online contact form. Rest assured, a knowledgeable member of our team will be in touch soon to discuss your will and probate requirements in more detail.

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Author Colin Freeman View Profile
Colin qualified as a solicitor in 1998. He specialises predominantly in family law, litigation / dispute resolution, wills, probate and settlement agreements and has notable cases reported in the Court of Appeal and High Court.
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