What is Involved?
- Probate
Our Probate Services

The work which we will need to undertake in order to deal with a grant of probate or the administration of an estate will depend upon the complexity of the estate and what is required to be done.  Thus, a simple estate comprising a house in the sole name of the deceased person, a bank account and some savings in a building society being left to a single child of the deceased person will require far less work than if there are multiple properties – with some possibly overseas - shares and investments, insurance policies, business interests and multiple gifts and beneficiaries to be administered.   


We will always advise you to the best of our ability at the outset as to the likely complexity of the arrangements.


As a general overview, however, the kind of work that would need to be carried out in the administration of an estate could include:


  • Taking your initial instructions and advising you on the terms of the deceased’s Will and discussing the duties of the executors.    

  • Obtaining a valuation of any assets of the estate and working out whether there are any liabilities.  This might involve writing to utility providers such as gas, electricity, telephone etc, dealing with council tax, dealing with house insurance (and in particular making sure that it does not lapse following the death), writing to share registrars and others responsible for any investments and gathering together details of any bank accounts.

  • Once we have been able to get a value for the estate, preparing the Inheritance Tax form and Oath for Executors (application for the Grant) and ascertaining the Inheritance Tax payable in the Estate

  • Submitting the Inheritance Tax to HMRC and arranging the first payment of Inheritance Tax from the assets of the estate.  We can then submit the application for the Grant of Probate.

  • Once we have the Grant, sending it, and any relevant letters of authority, to the various banks, insurers, financial institutions, and managers of investment in order to collect in the assets and discharge any liabilities.

  • Taking any further steps needed in relation to Inheritance Tax and obtaining a clearance certificate from HMRC.  

  • Making arrangements for the disposal of any property such as houses, possessions and so forth that have not been specifically left to beneficiaries.

  • Arranging any necessary statutory notices for creditors in the London Gazette/Local press.

  • Identifying and then corresponding with beneficiaries regarding the distribution of the estate and paying any interim legacies or any pecuniary legacies that are due under the Will.

  • Preparing Estate Accounts for executors.

  • Carrying out bankruptcy checks for beneficiaries.

  • Ultimately paying out the final balance.


We will always ensure that you are kept fully informed. 


How Long will it Take?

Many factors can affect how long a probate will take to deal with.  These include the complexity of the deceased’s estate and the number of organisations involved in the process (for example banks, share registrars, beneficiaries, business partners, insurers, accountants, HMRC and estate agents). Often the length of time that others take to respond is the overriding factor in how long the process will take in total and we have little or no ability to expedite this.


Moreover, we cannot finalise an estate until such time as all claims on the estate have been received. Anyone wishing to make a claim on the estate has six months from the date probate is granted to make such a claim against the estate. For this reason, we suggest that the process is going to take at least eight months to a year.


If the deceased person died without having made a will and we therefore have to deal with the estate under what are known as “the intestacy rules”, then it is likely that process will take even longer as we will need to establish who the beneficiaries are.


The most common factors that increase timescales and so would increase costs are:

  • Checking that the will is valid.

  • The extent to which the family, executors and beneficiaries of the deceased person are willing to cooperate.

  • The extent of the enquiries that need to be made to identify beneficiaries.

  • Obtaining the death certificate and/or arrange the funeral.

  • Dealing with the deceased’s property, which might include house clearance, insurance claims, making the property safe or problems with overseas properties. 

  • Complicated estates which have multiple accounts or properties and complex financial planning.

  • Dealing with foreign assets generally.

  • Any business in which the deceased was involved at the date of death or any farming assets.

  • Any complex trusts that the deceased wishes to establish or under which the deceased was a beneficiary at the date of death.

  • Locating missing beneficiaries and obtaining missing beneficiary insurance where appropriate.

  • Dealing with tax.

  • Dealing with property sales.

  • Preparing any deeds of variation of the terms of a will.