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Delay in granting probate

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Chrissie2394 Report 6 Jan 2013 21:30

Hi all,

What could have been possible reasons for probate being granted a long time after someone had died.

In my tree I have someone who died on 13th Dec 1912, probate granted on 7th june 1929 to his daughter. I was surprised it was granted to his daughter as his wife didn't die until 19th March 1929, probate granted on 11th June 1929.

Could some kind soul please explain why that might have been the case.



Ozibird Report 6 Jan 2013 21:34

Perhaps everything went to the daughter, but the wife could use some part of his estate until her death. So therefore wasn't granted until after the wife's death.



Chrissie2394 Report 6 Jan 2013 21:36

Thank you Ozibird for your quick reply.

I wasn't aware that that would have delayed probate being granted as I've never come across this before. I'll have to order a copy of the papers to see if that was the case.



Jonesey Report 6 Jan 2013 22:02

I wonder whether a property was involved which perhaps was left by the father to the daughter but with a proviso that his wife was to be allowed to occupy it and "Keep it in trust for the daughter" until the wife died.

I came across a similar arrangement in my 4xGT Grndfather's will. He left his main property to one of his sons with the proviso that my 4xGT Grandmother should be allowed to occupy it unhindered until the time of her death.


KenSE Report 6 Jan 2013 22:08

I have a similar situation where the person died in 1864 and probate was granted in 1885. In that case there is no obvious reason because probate was granted to his wife the relict who was the executrix named in the will and she lived until 1893.

Even though I have the will I can't see why there was such a delay.


Chrissie2394 Report 6 Jan 2013 22:08

Thanks for your reply too Jonesey.

On the probate calendar on Ancestry, on the wifes record it states 'will left' but it doesn't on his record, would this make a difference.



Andrew Report 6 Jan 2013 22:10

There is no time limit for probate. I've seen a death in 1931, probate in 1966. This was a result of a family feud.



Ozibird Report 6 Jan 2013 22:10

Quite common to leave property in trust, even today. It ensures the property goes to the testator's heirs in case of a spouse remarrying or changing their will, etc.



Chrissie2394 Report 6 Jan 2013 22:10

Thanks for replying KenSE.

Obtaining a copy of the papers may not answer why there was such a delay then. I also would have thought as his wife was still alive when he died that probate would have been granted to her and not their daughter.



Chrissie2394 Report 6 Jan 2013 22:13

That makes sense Ozibird, hadn't thought of it in that way.



Andysmum Report 6 Jan 2013 22:24

Probate isn't granted until someone applies for it. In Chrissie's case, I would think the widow simply carried on living in the house and nobody bothered about the legalities until she died and the daughter discovered that she didn't own the property and had to do something to sort things out.


KenSE Report 6 Jan 2013 22:25

Having had another look at the will in the case I mentioned, it seems that his wife made her own will on the same day that probate was granted.

I suppose as the will stated she had use of the properties which would pass to their son on her death, that there was no need to sort it until she wanted to make her own will.


Chrissie2394 Report 6 Jan 2013 22:31

As the man in my case hadn't made a will I take it everything would have passed to his wife automatically.



Reggie Report 6 Jan 2013 23:00

Probate is granted to whoever applies for it.......usually the executor, but not necessarily so.

In a case with which I am familiar, the Will was not sent for Probate when the person died, as the widow was the only person involved. However, at a much later date, an insurance company insisted that the Will be proved, and this was dealt with by a firm of Solicitors

But, Chrissie, if the man hadn't made a Will, Probate could not be applied for...................perhaps you could clarify.

If Probate is granted, a Will MUST exist


Reggie Report 6 Jan 2013 23:11

Is this the wife?

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
Name: Martha Ann Bailey
Probate Date: 11 Jun 1929
Death Date: 19 Mar 1929
Death Place: Derbyshire, England
Registry: London, England

(Letters of) Adminstration to Elizabeth Storer

And her husband?

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
Name: Joseph Bailey
Probate Date: 7 Jun 1929
Death Date: 13 Dec 1912
Death Place: Derbyshire, England
Registry: London, England

(Letters of) administration to Elizabeth Storer

The likely scenario is that the wife/widow either didn't know there was a Will, or kept it quiet, and it only came to light when the daughter was going through her effects after she died.


lancashireAnn Report 7 Jan 2013 13:10

if it is those 2 that Reggie posted above it probably means that neither left a will and the daughter had to apply for 'letters of administration' to sort out their property which was in both her parent's names.

'Letters of Administration are granted by a Surrogate Court or probate registry to appoint appropriate people to deal with a deceased person's estate where property will pass under Intestacy Rules or where there are no executors living (and willing and able to act) having been validly appointed under the deceased's will.'


Chrissie2394 Report 7 Jan 2013 16:33

Thanks to Reggie and lancashireAnn for replying.

Yes Reggie those are the correct details. On the wifes it states (with will), I therefore presumed that Joseph did not leave a will. I haven't got much experience at all regarding wills and probate.

Could someone please explain the main difference regarding letters of administration etc, if a will has been left/not left.

Thank you



Janet Report 7 Jan 2013 16:36

So................. Joseph left no will and Martha didn't do anything officially about his property when he died.

Martha did leave a will but (probably Joseph was the only appointed executor ?) and being already dead by the time she dies there is no executor left to deal with it.

So the daughter has to apply for letters of administration for both at the same time of the second death to clear it all up.

and the moral of the story is ...................make a will and keep it up to date !

Valid will/Executor/probate
No will or will but no executor/Letters of administration

Jan ;-)


Flip Report 7 Jan 2013 16:43

If the couple Reggie posted are correct, then she got grant of administration with no will for Joseph, and grant of admin with will for Martha.

Chances are an asset (maybe a bank account, or property) was in his sole name, Or they had a joint asset (eg bank account) and the wife failed to notify the relevant authority of his death so he was still named on it rather than it being transferred into her sole name.

The only way the daughter would be able to access the joint asset (or his asset) would be to prove his death and obtain grant of probate.

My mother had a joint bank account with my dad, and failed to inform the bank when he died, even though she sorted out the title deeds of the house. When she died I had to get grant of admin for him (no will) as well as her (with will) - it was a nightmare, I used a solicitor, and it cost me an arm & leg!


Chrissie2394 Report 7 Jan 2013 16:53

Hi Janet and Flip,

Thank you both for replying, you've both explained it in a way even I can understand so thanks.