Probate—client guide
Probate—client guide

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Probate—client guide
  • Introduction to probate
  • Terminology
  • Where there is a Will and where there is not
  • Personal representatives’ obligations and responsibilities
  • Involving professionals
  • Summary of the legal administration of the deceased person’s estate
  • Ascertaining what is in the estate
  • Lifetime gifts and trust interests
  • Overseas interests and domicile
  • more

This document provides general guidance regarding the probate procedure for non-professional personal representatives and bereaved family members. Your probate practitioner will be able to provide specific advice based on your circumstances.

Dealing with the death of a loved one can involve many challenges, both emotional and practical. If you are also a personal representative (PR) officially dealing with the estate (the property and possessions of the person who has died) as either an executor or an administrator (these terms are explained below), you may find yourself in an alien situation with unusual and confusing terminology.

This guide aims to help you feel more comfortable about your obligations as a PR.

Introduction to probate

There are a number of things that must be dealt with immediately following a person’s death, such as registering the death and arranging the funeral. For further guidance, see Immediate steps following a death—guide.

In time, it is necessary to start dealing with the legal aspects of administering the deceased person’s estate. Unless there are immediate financial concerns and/or property needs to be dealt with for commercial reasons, there should be no harm in waiting for a few weeks. However, note that interest starts to accrue on unpaid inheritance tax (IHT) from six months after the end of month in which the person died and