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Sep 8, 2021

The Biggest Areas We See People Getting Wrong With Probate

We have written a few articles recently around the topic of Probate. This includes ‘how to get your affairs in order’ and ‘what to do when the inevitable happens’. This month, we are focusing on ‘the biggest areas we see people getting wrong with Probate’. As Probate can be a complicated process, particularly if you’ve never had to deal with it before, there are some common errors we see when people are going through the process. 

The first error we tend to see is;

1. Underestimating The Amount Of Paperwork 

In the past, we’ve found that people underestimate the amount of paperwork they need to complete when applying for Probate and naturally, this can be quite complicated, which causes a few further issues. An average estate may take up to nine months to complete, and within this period, there are several forms which need to be submitted. 

We understand that people have different circumstances, and therefore, each application will require tailoring, based on your needs and requirements. Initially, we recommend finding out what documents you need to provide when applying for Probate and asking an advisor on a rough time scale. If you need more information, visit our website. 

2. Not Claiming All The Reliefs That Are Available To You (or claiming reliefs that don’t apply)

In most cases, we will calculate the value of the estate and consider any reliefs that may be available to you. Equally, we’ve found in many cases that people are claiming types of relief, which don’t actually apply to their application. Therefore, this is an area we recommend establishing early on in the application process. 

The press and online articles would have you believe that relief’s such as; the spouse nil rate band transfer, residential nil rate band and business property relief are available in full to every estate. Unfortunately, this is not the case and these matters can prove to be quite complicated.

3. Assuming That Probate Is Just About Inheritance Tax

What is Inheritance Tax and what is Probate?

  • Inheritance Tax is the tax paid by the deceased’s estate or sometimes by a person who inherits money or property from the deceased’s estate. 
  • Probate is the process of obtaining the legal right to distribute property, money and possessions of a deceased person’s estate. 

In many cases, you will find that not all estates will need to pay Inheritance Tax, this depends on many different factors. However, we can help advise and notify you of any Inheritance Tax that may be due and how you can pay this.

4. Overlooking Assets That Need To Be Included

When applying for Probate, some assets need to be included, even though for other tax purposes, you might ignore them. It’s worth finding out what assets need to be included for your application, so you can have these ready for the process.

5. Incurring Extra Costs, Interests and Penalties

As we’ve mentioned above, applying for Probate can be a long process and due to the nature of the work, and the complexity of the estate, it can take up to two years to complete and finalise your application. In some cases, we have seen people complete paperwork too late within the timeframe and therefore, incurred added costs, interest and penalties. 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the application for Probate in further detail, please feel welcome to contact our team. If you would like to arrange a free initial chat, please contact 01293 521191 or email

In October, we will continue the discussion of Probate and will be discussing ‘Applying for Probate yourself or hiring a professional’.

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