Applying for probate: If there’s a will

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You can apply for probate if you’re named as an executor in either the will or an update to it (known as a ‘codicil’).

The person who died will normally have told you if you’re an executor.

You’ll only inherit assets (for example, money or property) if you’re also named as a beneficiary in the will.

Find the original will

You’ll need to send the original will with your probate application – you cannot use a photocopy. The probate registry will keep the will and it’ll become a public record.

The person who died should have told all the executors where to find the original will and any updates, for example:

If you cannot find the original will, you’ll need to fill in form PA13.

If there’s more than one will, only the most recent will is valid. Do not destroy any copies of earlier wills until you’ve received probate.

Before you apply

Before applying for probate you must estimate the value of the estate and work out if there’s Inheritance Tax to pay.

If there’s more than one executor

If more than one person is named as an executor, you must all agree who makes the application for probate.

Up to 4 executors can be named on the application.

If only one executor is named on the application they’ll need to prove that they tried to contact all executors named in the will before they applied.

If you’re having problems finding the other executors, you can contact the Probate Call Centre.

The Probate Call Centre cannot help with disagreements between executors. You’ll need to find another way to reach an agreement – this could mean getting legal advice.

If you do not want to be an executor

You can give up your right to apply for probate or appoint someone else to apply for you.

Keep the right to apply later

If more than one executor is named in the will, you can choose not to apply now but reserve the right to apply later. This is known as holding ‘power reserved’.

Tell the person who’s making the probate application that you’re holding power reserved. You need to do this in writing.

Give up your right to apply

Fill in form PA15 to give up your right to apply permanently. This is known as ‘renunciation’.

Appoint someone to apply on your behalf

Fill in form PA11 to appoint someone to apply for you.

Or you can appoint an attorney to apply for you with a signed enduring power of attorney (EPA) or a registered lasting power of attorney (LPA).

If an executor is unable to apply

If an executor has died, the other executors should apply in their place.

If an executor has a mental health condition or impairment that means they cannot apply, get a medical professional (such as a doctor) to fill in form PA14.

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