Do you always need probate?

No, you do not always need probate.

Probate is normally required in England and Wales when someone dies and leaves significant assets in their estate including property, money, and possessions in their sole name. 

However, in certain circumstances when the size of the estate is small with no property and less than £5,000 in the bank, probate isn’t legally required. 

What is probate?

The legal and financial process of dealing with a deceased person’s assets is known as probate. 

It is basically the process of proving that a Will (if one exists) is valid and it confirms who has the authority of administering the estate of the person who has died.

Why do you need probate?

Before an executor or next of kin named in a Will can claim, transfer, sell or distribute any of the deceased’s assets, they normally have to apply for a grant of probate. 

This is a legal document that is often needed to access bank accounts, settle debts or sell assets for the deceased. 

No one can deal with the deceased’s estate until a grant of probate has been issued. There is no time limit on applying for a grant of probate or settling an estate, but it is advisable to start the process as soon as possible as it can take many months to sort everything out.

Do I need probate to sell a house?

Probate is certainly required if the house is owned as tenants in common or if the house is held in the deceased person’s sole name. 

If the house is held as joint tenants with the deceased person and the surviving co-owner wants to sell it, they can do so with a copy of the deceased’s death certificate without probate.

Can a bank insist on probate?

Some banks and building societies will release sums of money without probate or letters of administration to pay for a funeral, probate fees, and inheritance tax. 

However, until you have been granted probate or letters of administration, they will usually release no more funds. Much depends on the policy of the organisation as to how much they are prepared to release or if they are prepared to release anything at all however small the sum of money may be.

When is probate not needed?

There are several circumstances where you may not need to apply for probate or letters of administration. 

These include situations where:



If you need assistance with applying for a grant of probate, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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At GloverPriest, we understand navigating the law can be a difficult task to take on alone. That’s why we created this comprehensive guide to help promote information for everyone to use.

If you’re looking to speak to a solicitor, please call us from the number below. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form and we’ll be right with you.

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