How much money can you have in the bank before probate in the UK?
The probate process can be a long and involved one that many people want to avoid. So, how much money can you have in the bank before probate in the UK?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a set limit. Individual banks set their own “thresholds” for how much can be in the deceased’s accounts before they ask to see a Grant of Probate.
If you aren’t sure whether you need a Grant of Probate to access funds in a deceased person’s bank accounts, here is everything you need to know:
What Is Probate?
Before we start, it’s worth being clear on what probate is. Probate is the legal right to administer the estate of a deceased person.
Applying for a Grant of Probate (the legal document that gives you the right) takes about a month. There are several forms to fill in and it can only be done by the person named as the executor in the will.
If there is no will, you need to be one of a set list of close relatives (listed under the intestacy laws) to apply for a similar legal permission document called a Grant of Letters of Administration.
How Much Money Can You Have In The Bank Before Probate In The UK?
Of course, as a general rule, you can’t access the bank accounts of other people. Just because a person has passed away doesn’t mean someone can automatically access their funds.
Each bank sets its own “probate threshold” at which it will ask for proof you are allowed to access the accounts.
This is where the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration come in. They are the proof you need before you can access the full funds in the account of someone who has died.
However, most banks will allow you to access some funds. For example, you need to pay Inheritance Tax from and on the estate before you can apply for probate. Banks understand this.
Will A Bank Release Funds Without Probate?
The decision as to how much can be in a deceased person’s account without probate being required to access is down to each individual bank. In general, the rules are different:
- For a small estate – is an actual thing in the law. A “small” estate has to be valued under £5000 and not include any property. Banks will normally release small estate funds without probate.
- On average – the average starting probate threshold tends to be between £10 000 and £15 000.
- Under special circumstances – even if the amount in the account is below their threshold a bank may still request to see a Grant of Probate if the estate’s details are unclear in any way.
How Much Can You Have In A Bank Account Before It Goes To Probate?
This depends on the institution the account is with. Individual banks may also total the amounts differently – either in all the accounts a person held or the total value of the estate.
Although this is subject to change, the banks and other financial institutions in the UK set their thresholds approximately like this:£15 000 in account or less
- National Savings & Investments – £5 000, though this may rise to £15 000 depending on how many executors are named in the will
- AXA – £10 000
- Bank of Ireland – £10 000
- M&S Money – £15 000
- The Post Office – £10 000
£20 000 to £25 000 in account
- Sainsbury’s Bank – £20,000
- Birmingham Midshires – £25 000
- Cheltenham & Gloucester – £25 000
- NatWest – £25 000
- Royal Bank of Scotland – £25 000
£30 000 in account or more
- Britannia – £30 000
- Co-op Bank – £30 000
- First Direct – £30 000, though this may rise as high as £50 000 if any of the beneficiaries of a will are children. First Direct often decides on the merits of each individual account
- HSBC – £30 000, though like First Direct this may rise as high as £50 000 in individual cases or if beneficiaries are children or the deceased’s spouse
£50 000 in account
All of the following banks and building societies allow there to be £50 000 in the accounts of a deceased person before they ask for proof of probate:
- Bank of Scotland
- Lloyds TSB
What Amount Triggers Probate?
If you need any support in the probate process – including any questions about how much money you can have in the bank before probate is triggered – get in touch with our experts today.
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