How can I find out if probate has been granted?

The time limit for making an Inheritance Act claim is six months from the date that probate was granted. Given the crucial importance of this date it is no surprise that one of the most common questions we are asked is, 'How can I find out if probate has been granted?'

In this short article we take a look at how to find out out if probate has been granted and if it has, how to get a copy. We also look at what to do if probate hasn't yet been granted. However we start by clarifying what probate actually is.

What is probate?

A Grant of Probate (also known as a Grant of Representation or Grant of Letters of Administration) is a document issued by the Probate Registry. The grant authorises the executors of a will (also known as personal representatives) or the administrators of an intestate estate (where someone has died without leaving a will) to administer the estate of the deceased person.

Why is it helpful to have a copy of the Grant of Probate?

When we are approached by individuals with potential claims against an estate we often suggest that they check if probate has been granted and if it has, order a copy of the Grant.

The Grant of Probate contains crucial information, including:

  1. The date of death. This is relevant to the timing of the personal representatives’ duties;
  2. The domicile of the deceased. Domicile is relevant for claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975) as the deceased must have been domiciled in England or Wales.
  3. Whether the deceased died leaving a Will or intestate.
  4. The identity of the executors or administrators  who will often  be the defendants to the claim.
  5. The net value of the estate, which is relevant to the value of most contentious probate claims; and 
  6. The date that probate was granted.  As expalined above this is fundamental to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 as the deadline for those claims is six months from the date the Grant was issued. Ascertaining the date of the Grant also provides a useful indication of when the estate has or will be distributed.

How can i find out if probate has been granted?

The quickest and easiest way to check if probate has been granted is via the government website https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills.

If probate has been granted, you can order a copy of the Grant and the will (if there is one) for £10. There are a lot of websites which offer the same service but at a higher fee. This is a government website and is linked to the probate registry. It is the only service we would recommend you use.

What can I do if probate has not been granted?

If you check whether probate has been granted and find it has not, you can enter a 'standing search'. This will remain in place for six months, during which time you will be alerted as soon as probate is granted. You can find an explanation on how to enter a standing search via this link https://www.inheritancedisputes.co.uk/news-articles/how-find-will-and-other-probate-preliminaries.html

How we can help

If you are wondering, 'How can I find out if probate has been granted?' and would like help from our specialist lawyers then you can contact us on 0808 139 1599 or email us at info@inheritancedisputes.co.uk

We are often able to work on a No Win, No Fee basis if there is sufficient evidence to support a claim. Where investigatory work needs to be carried out on a preliminary basis we can agree to work to an agreed fee limit, so that your liability for legal costs is not open ended and can be properly budgeted.