Let us answer some of the most frequently questions around grant of probate.
To make estate administration easier it can be helpful to have three or four copies of the grant of probate at hand. This makes the whole process faster, ensuring you have the necessary documentation ready when it’s needed.
Once the initial application for a grant of probate has been completed it’s relatively simple to secure extra copies (often referred to as certified copies or sealed copies) should they be required.
What is a grant of probate?
A grant of probate is the legal document that an executor of a will uses as proof of their right to manage the financial and legal affairs of the deceased person. Banks, financial institutions and other bodies will often request to see a sealed copy of a grant of probate before they will allow an executor to access accounts. This is particularly the case with accounts that contain significant funds. Different institutions set different thresholds at which a grant of probate is required. In some cases, this might be as low as £5,000.
If someone dies without a will, the person who is sorting out their estate will then need to apply for letters of administration instead. This functions in much the same way as a grant of probate.
How many copies of a grant of probate are required?
There is no set number of copies that you will usually require. In each case, much will depend on the complexity of the estate and the number of different institutions the executor needs to deal with. Usually, you will need at least three or four copies at hand, and in some cases, it may be helpful to have six sealed copies of the grant of probate to assist in settling the estate. This enables the executor to forward copies to a number of different organisations at the same time while retaining at least one copy at home.
How do you get copies of a grant of probate?
When you make your initial application for a grant of probate you can request to be sent multiple copies. If you have already completed your application and realise that you need more copies, it’s still possible to receive extra copies.
Ordering extra copies of your grant of probate
You can order extra copies of your grant of probate and will online, in-person or by post. What follows is the process for ordering extra copies in England and Wales, in both Scotland and Northern Ireland there is a different process.
How to order by post
Ordering extra copies of a grant of probate may be the most appropriate way of securing them if you require a sealed copy of a grant of probate in order to administer an estate. This is a sealed copy that has an official court seal on it. Alternatively, you may need a sealed certified copy of probate if you’re settling an estate that contains overseas assets.
You may also wish to set up a standing search for a grant of probate that hasn’t been issued. This ensures that as soon as the grant of probate has been granted the probate registry will forward you a copy. This standing search facility offers for 6 months, after which you’ll need to renew it.
To order a copy by post you will need to fill out form PA1S and send it to the address on the form. You will also need the name, address and date of death of the person who died. It will usually take around four weeks for this to be processed.
How to order online
If you don’t need the grant of probate to be sealed or certified, then ordering online might be the preferred method. This might be because it’s needed for family tree research or you wish to have a duplicate copy for your own records. You can order probate online here. You can locate the required probate by typing the surname of the person who died and the year of their death into the search facility, and then pick the correct person from the list provided.
How to order extra copies in person?
Often circumstances arise during the administration of someone’s estate that you need to quickly obtain a sealed copy of the grant of probate, or a certified and sealed copy. If this is the case it may be necessary to order a copy in person. Whereas ordering by post or online can take up to four weeks for your extra copies to arise, when you order online this is reduced to around ten days. This can usually be done at your nearest district probate registry, the details of which you can find here. You should contact them ahead of your visit to confirm ordering times and the documents that you’ll be required to present.
Experienced probate support
Obtaining extra copies of a grant of probate is a relatively easy task but the probate process can be complex. There are a range of factors to consider and tasks that need to be attended to.