Probate forms explained
Applying for probate can seem like quite a complicated process, especially when the forms are named PA1 or IHT205 rather than descriptively.
Here we take a look at some of the key probate forms that you'll need to send off when you apply for a ‘Grant of Representation’.
What is probate?
Probate application form PA1
As part of your application for a Grant of Representation, you will need to fill in the probate application form PA1.
Here is the official link for the PA1 probate application.
If you need help filling in the probate form, you can call the Probate and Inheritance Tax helpline on (0300) 123 1072.
You can also use the guidance notes for filling out PA1 – PA1A.
In addition, if you are filling out probate form PA1 without professional help, it is worth referring to leaflet PA2: How to obtain probate – A guide for people acting without a solicitor.
Complete an inheritance tax form (IHT 206 or IHT 400)
Alongside the PA1, you will also need to fill out an IHT form, which deals with the issue of inheritance tax.
What is inheritance tax?
IHT205 - if no IHT is due:
If the estate is below the IHT threshold (currently £325,000), you will need to fill out form IHT 205; this means that no IHT is payable.
For more information, visit Inheritance Tax: return of estate information
If you need help filling in form IHT 205 (2011), you can use guidance notes IHT 206.
IHT400 - if IHT is due:
If the deceased’s estate is above the current IHT threshold, you will need to complete IHT 400.
For more information go to: Inheritance Tax: Inheritance Tax account (IHT400)
For help with this form, make use of the IHT 400 Helpsheet and IT 400 Notes.
You will then need to pay the tax that is due.
It’s important to note that if Inheritance Tax is due, you will normally have to pay at least some of this before HM Revenue & Customs will issue you with a Grant of Representation.
You can ask banks or building societies to pay some or all of the IHT due from the deceased’s estate via the Direct Payment Scheme. To do this, you will need to fill in form IHT 423.
How and when is Inheritance Tax paid?
Fill in all forms and paperwork carefully
You need to be careful when filling out the IHT form, as if you send inaccurate information, you could face a penalty.
The same applies when filling out any probate paperwork. In your role as an executor you could be held legally responsible – and personally liable – for any mistakes that are made.
Return your probate application form
Once you have filled out the relevant probate forms, you need to send this to your local Probate Registry.
This will include the PA1, IHT form (either IHT 205 or IHT 400), an official copy of the death certificate, the original will (plus copies) and the application fee.
For more information on fees, see PA3, the “Fees List” form.
For details on where to send your application to, see leaflet PA4, the Directory of Probate Registries and Appointment Venues.
Swear an oath
Having sent off all the relevant probate paperwork, you will then need to swear an oath in support of the application; this involves you promising that the information you have provided is true to the best of your knowledge.
You can either do this at a local Probate Registry, or at the office of a commissioner for oaths (usually a solicitor.) If you opt for the latter, you may be able to swear your papers closer to your home or place of work than if you attend at a probate venue.
The oath will then be lodged with the relevant Probate Registry, along with the IHT paperwork and Will.
You will usually get the Grant of Representation through the post within 10 days of swearing an oath.
Once you have this, you can then press on with administering the deceased’s estate. This means gathering in all assets and money from the banks, building societies, insurance companies and pension funds, and paying outstanding taxes, debts and fees.
It will then entail distributing the estate according to the deceased’s wishes as set down in their Will.
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