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Dealing with Probate
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Grant of probate 

A grant of probate – often referred to as just probate – is a legal document that confirms the authority to deal with the estate of a person who has died. It is not always necessary of the executors to obtain a grant in order to administer an estate.

If you're an executor of the deceased’s will, you may need to apply for a grant of probate – also known as a grant of representation. 

You will always need a grant to deal with the deceased's house if owned in the deceased's sole name or if the deceased owned a share as a tenant in common. You will also need a grant if the deceased owned shares or if banks etc require it.

Most banks and building societies will need to see proof of probate before releasing funds that belonged to the deceased, although some may agree to release money that’s needed to pay for a funeral and inheritance tax. 

Which? Legal can help

Which? Legal’s lawyers and specialist advisers can guide you through each step of the probate process and answer any questions that you may have including: 

  • do you need a grant of probate? For example, small cash-only estates without property, or estates with jointly-owned assets, may not require probate.
  • how to value a person’s estate before applying for probate
  • what to expect at a probate interview

Our specialist advisers provide individual, jargon-free legal advice on dealing with a deceased person's estate.

All advice contained within this section relates to England and Wales only.

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Meet your experts
Ben Rosser Ben joined Which? Legal in 2015 as a wills and probate specialist. Ben trained and qualified in private practice and now advises on a range of legal issues, including estate administration. See profile
Paul Handford With over 20 years of varied legal experience, Paul now specialises in private client work, which includes drawing up wills, deeds of trust, lasting powers of attorney. See profile
Sarah Henley Sarah trained and worked in private practice in Bristol before joining Which? Legal as a qualified solicitor in January 2018. Sarah provides advice to members on Wills and Powers of Attorney. See profile