Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
Probate in Northern Ireland is a very similar process to that of England and Wales.
Before you apply for probate you need to check whether there is a will. If the person left a will, you’ll get a ‘Grant of Probate’. If the person did not leave a will, referred to as Intestate, you’ll get ‘Letters of Administration’.
A grant is almost always needed when the person who died leaves one or more of the following:
- £10,000 or more
- Stocks or shares
- Certain insurance policies
- Property or land held in their own name or as ‘tenants in common’
In most cases, the bank or relevant institution will need to see the grant before transferring control of the assets. Where the estate is small some organisations may choose to release the money to you without a grant.
You may not need a grant if the deceased left less than £10,000, or if everything was jointly owned with someone else in which case everything passes automatically to the surviving joint owner.
Valuing the estate
As part of the process you need to value the estate, which involves collating all the information on the deceased’s land, property, money, possessions, shares and debts. The total value of these assets will determine which forms you will need to complete.
For estates under the current Inheritance Tax threshold, you will need to complete the IHT205 form.
If the estate is over this threshold, you will need to complete the IHT400 form.
Once you have completed all the documents you will need to send a completed appointment request with a copy of the death certificate, IHT205/IHT400 and a copy of the will if there is one.
If the deceased lived in the counties of Fermanagh, Londonderry or Tyrone, you can use either the Londonderry or Belfast office, but if they lived in the counties of Antrim, Armagh or Down, you must use the Belfast office.
When you attend the appointment, you will need the following documents:
- Photo ID for Executors
- Death or Coroner’s Certificate
- Inheritance Tax Form (IHT205 or IHT400/421)
- Original will
- Marriage Certificate (if there is no will and the deceased was married)
- Decree Absolute (if there’s no will and the deceased was divorced)
- Probate fee payment
- Other forms required by The Probate Office
The Probate Office will try to give you an interview within three weeks of getting your appointment request form. You will be notified of the appointment date/time by telephone or letter.
The interview will take place in a probate office and will last about 30 minutes.
If the deceased person left a will, at least seven days must have passed from the date of death to the date of appointment. If there is no will, 28 days must have passed.
The fees to be paid are based on the net value of the estate and are made up of two parts; the grant fee and the personal application fee.
|Net value of the estate||Grant fee||Personal application fee|
less than £10,000
more than £10,000
The personal application fee is only charged if you are applying for a grant without a solicitor.
Certified copies of a grant cost £14.00 each. These are useful if you must deal with several financial institutions.
If you think you’ll have trouble paying the fees, you may be able to get help. Find out more at this link: Court fees
A cheque should be made payable to the NICTS for the total fee:
- Application for Grant Fee: £261.00 (if the estate value is less than £10,000 the application fee does not apply)
- Personal Application Fee: £65.00 (if the estate value is less than £10,000 the application fee does not apply)
- Fee for extra sealed copy of the grant: £14.00
If you wish to pay the fees by card payment, you should indicate this on the application form and a member of the court staff will contact you to arrange payment.
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