How long does it take to receive an inheritance when a relative has died? If you’re a beneficiary in a will, the time it will take to be paid your inheritance all depends on a process known as probate. In England and Wales, there’s a seven step process to follow for dealing with the estate of someone who has died. The first step is to check whether there is a will. We always advise that people write a will, documenting their specific wishes for what should happen to their assets when they die. Without a will in place, the rules of intestacy apply and your estate is distributed according to the law, not your wishes.