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What is Probate?

Probate involves dealing with the assets of a person who has died.

When someone dies, the persons who are tasked with dealing with the Estate may need to prove they are the appropriate people to deal with the deceased’s affairs and that they are entitled to deal with property, monies and other assets that the deceased may have left behind.

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Who can apply for Probate?

If the deceased left a Will it is the responsibility of the Executors to obtain the Grant of Probate.


When there is no Will the Administrators must apply for Letters of Administration, as set out under the ‘Rules of Intestacy’.

The Executors and Administrators are sometimes referred to as the Personal Representatives.


Is Probate required?

Not every Estate will require a Grant of Probate however Probate will be required in the following circumstances:

  • There is property held in the deceased’s sole name that needs to be transferred or sold.

  • The property cannot be sold without a Grant of Probate. This includes complete sole ownership of the property, or part sole ownership, which is referred to as Tenants in Common

  • If there were savings or shares held in the deceased’s sole name and the financial institutions holding those savings ask for a Grant of Probate to release the funds.


What does Probate involve?

There are three core areas of work required in order to successfully administer a deceased person's estate - Legal, Tax and Estate Administration


The work involved to administer the estate includes:

  • Completing the Probate application forms and, in limited circumstances, attending an interview at the Probate Court

  • Completing the necessary Inheritance Tax forms for HMRC, regardless of whether there is inheritance tax to be paid or not

  • Gathering in and valuing all of the Estate assets, including property, monies and personal belongings, and paying any debts held against the estate

  • Distributing the remainder of the deceased’s Estate in line with the terms of the Will or the Rules of Intestacy to those who are entitled to inherit


What work we will undertake for you?

Unless otherwise instructed, we will undertake the following work for you


  • Complete a Certainty Will Search, in order to ascertain whether a more recent Will has been made. This is optional, but advisable, and cost in the region of £108.

  • Identify the Executors, or in the event that the Will names Executors who are unwilling, or unable, to act, or there is no Will at all, identify the persons capable administering the Estate.

  • Identify any and all Legatees and Beneficiaries and inform them of their right to inherit under the Estate. If no Will is left, or the Will fails to properly deal with all the assets, we will advise you as to the persons entitled to inherit under the rules of intestacy.

  • Ascertain the identity and value of any and all assets within the deceased persons Estate. We will then write to them in order to obtain the value of the assets at the time of death and deal with either transferring, or selling, the assets identified.

  • Place Statutory Notices in the local paper and London Gazette. This is again optional, but advised, as this negates an Executors liability if a claim is made against the Estate after distribution of the assets.


The notice details that the person has died and if anyone has any accounts, or monies due from the deceased, or any claim on the Estate, then they should contact the Solicitors dealing with the Estate within two months, or the Estate will be distributed


If this notice has not been placed, and a claim is made against the Estate, then it would be the responsibility of the Executors to settle the claim personally.


If this notice has been placed the Executors be held to be personally liable.


If you want this notice to be placed, all the Executors must confirm this to our firm in writing.


The cost of this notice is approximately £400.00.


  • Settle the Funeral Account.

  • Complete all relevant Inheritance Tax forms.

  • Settle any Inheritance Tax due by the Estate.

  • Settle any debts owed by the Estate.

  • Organise payment of any Legacies

  • Prepare Estate Accounts, along with Distribution Accounts

  • Organise payment to the Residuary Beneficiaries

  • Establish any Trust which follow the administration of the Estate.

  • Wind up the administration process

What is not included


Unless specifically requested, we will not normally undertake the following. The following will incur further charges, which you will be advised when you provide us with instructions in relation to the individual services listed below


  • Converting property and other assets into cash. The sale of any real property and/or other assets, such as businesses and/or agricultural assets, will be dealt with separately and incur a separate fee.

  • Management of any property, or other asset, during the administration period.

  • Making investments on behalf of beneficiaries.

  • Managing and/or administering any Trust which arise out of the administration of the Estate

  • Provide any Taxation advice, save for advice on Inheritance Tax.


If we feel any of the above are necessary, we will raise the issue with you.


Time frame

There are a number of variables which make it difficult to provide an accurate estimate as to the time frame for this matter.

We will endeavor to provide regular updates as to the progress of this matter.

Average Time for each stage of a typical Probate Matter is as follows:-

  • 0 - 6 Months - Gathering financial information for the purposes of an application for Probate/Letters of Administration.

  • 2 - 3 Months - For a Grant to be issued by the Probate Division of the High Court. (Please note this timescale is dependent on the Probate Registry. There are only limited circumstances in which the Probate Registry can be asked to expedite an application.

  • 0 - 6 Months - Gathering in all of the known assets, preparing Final Estate Accounts and distributing between the Beneficiaries.

Fees and Disbursements

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Fee earners specialising in this field. Please click on their name to see relevant experience.


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