Rachel Shaw, Associate and specialist solicitor in contesting wills, answers the frequently asked question of how to find out if probate has been granted.
The issue of a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry is a significant stage in the administration process of a deceased’s estate.
Once in possession of a Grant, the estate’s executors can then exchange on the sale of any real estate belonging to the deceased and encash the estate’s assets, ultimately enabling them to distribute legacies to the estate’s beneficiaries.
The date of the issue of the Grant is also of paramount importance to those who wish to challenge a Will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 on the basis that it does not afford them reasonable financial provision. Under this Act prospective claimants only have six months from the date of Grant of Probate to issue their claim at Court, otherwise they may be barred from proceeding with their claim further.
As such it is often crucial to find out as to whether probate has been granted.
Firstly, a probate search can be carried out on the Government’s website at the dedicated Probate records search service. By entering the deceased’s name and date of death you will be informed if the Grant has been issued and can obtain a copy of the Grant and the relevant Will for a small fee.
If Probate has not been granted, you can enter at the Probate Registry what is known as a “standing search” which will then enable the Probate Registry to send you a copy of the Grant once it has been issued. The Probate Registry will only send you a copy of the Grant of Probate if it has been issued for a period of 6 months after you send in the request for the standing search and therefore that search may need to be periodically renewed.
If you intend to contest a will, it is advisable to do so at your earliest opportunity, regardless of whether Probate has been granted. If you would like to talk to a specialist in this area, our contentious probate solicitors can offer expert advice and assistance.