What is probate?

Probate relates to dealing with the estate of a deceased person. If the person who died left a will, they will most likely have named someone to administer his or her estate. This named person is known as the executor of the will.

Probate involves a few different things, including making funeral arrangements as a priority, before organising the person’s money, assets and possessions.

The executor of the will is also in charge of distributing the person's estate as inheritance after paying any taxes and debts.

Frequently asked questions

The executor of a will is the person named responsible for carrying out instructions left in the will, including funeral arrangements and dealing with the deceased person’s estate. Most people name their spouse or child as executor.

If you don't have a family member to choose, you may ask a trusted friend, but be sure to choose someone in good health or younger than you who will likely be around after you're gone.

If there is no will, or executor of the will is unable to fulfil the role, a court may appoint an administrator in their place.

A will is a private and confidential document until after death, when a grant of probate is needed to confirm the executor of the will. Once a grant of probate has been issued, a will becomes a public document and anyone can apply to see it. You can search the GOV.UK site for the will or probate of any person in the UK who died in or after 1996.

First, you need to register the death, which you should do within five days. Registration may be delayed if the registrar is informed that a medical certificate has been issued. If the death has been reported to the coroner, you cannot register the death until the investigation is complete.

A death certificate must be obtained before funeral arrangements can be made.

In the UK, a funeral is typically held around one or two weeks after death. It may take longer if the funeral director only has certain days available, or if there is an inquest into the death. With proper care at the funeral home, the body will stay preserved until this point. You may wish for your loved one to be buried or cremated sooner, depending on religious beliefs. Some people choose to hold the funeral as soon as 24 hours to 3 days after passing.

The executor of a will is the person named responsible for carrying out instructions left in the will, including funeral arrangements and dealing with the deceased person’s estate. Most people name their spouse or child as executor.

If you don't have a family member to choose, you may ask a trusted friend, but be sure to choose someone in good health or younger than you who will likely be around after you're gone.

If there is no will, or executor of the will is unable to fulfil the role, a court may appoint an administrator in their place.

A will is a private and confidential document until after death, when a grant of probate is needed to confirm the executor of the will. Once a grant of probate has been issued, a will becomes a public document and anyone can apply to see it. You can search the GOV.UK site for the will or probate of any person in the UK who died in or after 1996.

First, you need to register the death, which you should do within five days. Registration may be delayed if the registrar is informed that a medical certificate has been issued. If the death has been reported to the coroner, you cannot register the death until the investigation is complete.

A death certificate must be obtained before funeral arrangements can be made.

In the UK, a funeral is typically held around one or two weeks after death. It may take longer if the funeral director only has certain days available, or if there is an inquest into the death. With proper care at the funeral home, the body will stay preserved until this point. You may wish for your loved one to be buried or cremated sooner, depending on religious beliefs. Some people choose to hold the funeral as soon as 24 hours to 3 days after passing.