When someone dies, you may need to apply for the right to deal with their estate: their property, money and possessions. This is called applying for probate. Even if you’re named as an executor in the will, you’ll still need to apply for probate before you’re given access to the estate.

If you’re not sure what probate or estate administration is, take a look at our guide ‘What Is Probate, and How Does It Work?

You can pay a solicitor or probate specialist to apply for probate on your behalf; we have a probate service. If you want to apply yourself, though, here’s our guide to completing probate forms in England and Wales.

 

What forms do I need to apply for probate?

You can find the UK government’s online probate application service here, under the heading ‘Apply for probate online’. To complete the application, you’ll need the will (if one exists) and the death certificate.

To apply for probate by post, you’ll need one of the PA1 probate application forms. You’ll need to fill in PA1P to apply for probate if there’s a will, or PA1A to apply for probate if there is no will.

Before applying for probate, you’ll need to pay any inheritance tax due.

 

Who can apply for probate?

Up to four people can apply for probate together. If you’re an executor, you’ll need to tell all the other named executors that you’re applying and give them the opportunity to apply with you.

You can use the online probate application service if you are:

  • An executor of the will.
  • A court-appointed administrator.

 

If there’s a will, you can fill in form PA1P to apply for probate if you are:

  • An executor of the will.

 

If there’s no will, you can fill in form PA1A to apply for probate if you are over 18 and higher up on the following list than any other living adult:

  1. The spouse or civil partner of the person who has died.
  2. The child of the person who has died.
  3. The grandchild.
  4. The parent.
  5. The sibling.
  6. The niece or nephew.
  7. The grandparent.
  8. The aunt or uncle.
  9. The cousin.

 

How do I pay the probate registration fee?

If the total value of the estate is over £5,000, you’ll need to pay a probate registration fee of £215. You can pay this either by post or by phone.

  • To pay by post, include a cheque for £215, made out to HMCTS, when you post your probate forms.
  • To pay by phone, call your nearest probate registry and make a payment by debit or credit card. The government has a list of probate registry numbers. After payment, you’ll be given a reference number. Note down this number and include it on the first page of your probate application form.

 

Where do I send probate forms?

When you’ve completed a probate form, you’ll need to send it to HM Courts and Tribunals Service. The address for where to send probate forms is:

HMCTS Probate

PO Box 12625

Harlow

CM20 9QE

 

PA1P: Probate application form if there is a will

If you’re named as an executor in the will, you can use form PA1P to apply for a grant of probate, a legal document that shows you have the right to deal with the estate. Because of this, PA1P is also called the grant of probate form.

When you send form PA1P to HMCTS, you will need to include:

  • The original will (and codicils, if any).
  • Two copies of the will (and codicils) on A4 paper. If the will is stapled or bound, leave the staples or bindings in place when you’re making copies.
  • An official copy of the death certificate.
  • Any relevant inheritance tax summary forms.
  • A cheque for £215, made out to HMCTS, if the estate is over £5,000 and you’ve chosen to pay the probate registration fee by post.

If there’s a will and you need to apply for probate, you can find form PA1P on the government website here.

 

PA1A: Probate application form if there’s no will

If there’s no will or the will is invalid, you’ll need to fill out form PA1A to apply for probate.

If your application is successful, you’ll get letters of administration, which will prove you have the right to deal with the estate even if there’s no will. Because of this, PA1A is also called the letters of administration application form.

When you send form PA1A to HMCTS, you will need to include:

  • An official copy of the death certificate.
  • Any relevant inheritance tax summary forms.
  • A cheque for £215, made out to HMCTS, if the estate is over £5,000 and you’ve chosen to pay the probate registration fee by post.

If there’s no will and you need to apply for probate, you can find form PA1A on the government website here.

 

Probate application form PA1 guidance notes

When you’re completing probate forms PA1P or PA1A, you’ll encounter the following sections:

  • About the applicant(s). Give your personal details and the details of any other applicant: name, address and contact details.
  • About the person who has died. Give the personal details of the person who has died: name, address, dates, marital status, foreign assets and adopted relatives.
  • The will and codicils. Give the details of the will and codicils. If any named executors aren’t applying, you’ll need to explain why. This section is only in form PA1P.
  • Relatives of the person who has died. You don’t need to give full details here, but you’ll need to know how many children or grandchildren the person had, and how many are over or under 18. If you’re completing PA1A and there’s no surviving spouse, civil partner, child or grandchild, you’ll need to complete the next question, which asks you for the number of surviving parents, siblings, nephews and nieces. 
  • Applying as an attorney. If you’re not applying as an attorney, you can answer ‘no’ to the first question and skip the rest of this section.
  • Foreign domicile. If the person who has died lived permanently in England and Wales at the time of their death, you can skip this section. If they lived abroad, this is where you give details of their assets in England and Wales.
  • Inheritance tax. Give details of your inheritance tax report or forms. 

 

How can Beyond help with probate forms?

If you need help with probate form PA1 or you’re having trouble with any aspect of the probate process, we offer a fixed-fee probate service. Click here to learn more, or call on 0800 054 9896

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