Likely Timescales

Dealing with the affairs of someone who has died can take a long time. It’s not unusual for the process to take as long as a year, possibly longer if things aren’t straightforward.
Several organisations may be involved in the process e.g. banks, insurance companies, building societies and HMRC.

The estate cannot be dealt with until all claims on it have been received. If individuals wish to make claims against the estate, they have six months from the date probate was granted.

These are some things that may affect the time it takes:

  • Whether the financial affairs of the person who died were in order
  • Whether the person who died had an interest in a business or a farm
  • What the person who died owned and where it is
  • What the Will or intestacy rules say
  • Whether there are any legal disputes e.g. claims against the estate or claims by the estate
  • Whether the estate is insolvent
  • Whether inheritance tax needs to be paid
  • Ensuring that all HMRC files are closed and also making sure that matters relating to income tax, benefits agencies and pensions have been sorted out.

Arguments between family members, beneficiaries or PRs can also cause delays. Any disagreements must be sorted out before the affairs of the deceased can be settled.

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