When assets are held solely and the balance exceeds their probate threshold, financial institutions may need to see a Grant of Probate before releasing funds. This threshold varies as it is set by the individual institution rather than by the Government. Therefore, it may be a timely task to contact each institution where the deceased held assets to understand their requirements.
Generally, probate isn’t required if the estate is valued at less than £5,000, as most financial institutions will release funds lower than this. Also, if assets were held jointly, probate is often not required as these assets automatically pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner.
Financial institutions, such as banks or building societies, may decide whether probate is required on a case-by-case basis, or they might have a set threshold. Probate thresholds vary greatly from institution to institution, typically ranging between £5,000 and £50,000. It is recommended that you check with the relevant institution when required.
Examples of probate thresholds
Aviva, £50k; Bank of Scotland, £25k; Co-op Bank, £30k; First Direct, 20k; HSBC, decided on a case-by-case basis; Nationwide, £50k; NatWest, £25k; Post Office, 10k; and Santander, 50k. The probate application process involves completing a PA1P (if there is a Will) or a PA1A (if there is no Will). Probate can be applied for online if you have the original Will and death certificate, but documents will still need to be sent by post after submission. There is a set government fee for obtaining probate which has recently been raised to £273 for estates over £5,000. For estates that are £5,000 or less, there is no fee to pay.