What Is Probate? If a person has died without leaving a will, it is usually up to the next of kin to apply for a 'grant of letters of administration', otherwise known as probate. While this in itself can sometimes feel like an ordeal, especially in such a time of grief, there is still much to do after probate is granted in order to fully complete the administration of the estate. In fact, it can take another six to twelve months to transfer all the funds, assets, and property of an estate once probate is granted. The exact length of time it takes to administer an estate depends very much on how complicated the estate is and whether anything unexpected happens during the process, such as liabilities against the estate.