Probate documents- last will and testament, inventory of estate, keys

Probate and estate administration

What is Probate?

Probate is the process of obtaining the legal right to manage a deceased person’s estate.

Probate (if a person dies with a Will) or Administration (if a person dies without a Will) is not always necessary.  Together these are known as the Grant of Representation. Following a bereavement, our solicitors will establish whether Probate or Administration is required and then offer support and advice on the next steps.

When is a specialist Probate solicitor required?

Many people deal with Probate on their own, particularly if they have the skills and time. But more complex cases may require the services of a specialist Probate solicitor.  Dealing with Probate carries obligations and personal liabilities for those involved who may not be fully aware of what is required of them.  In particular you should consider using a professional:

  • Where you do not have sufficient time or expertise to deal with the estate
  • Where charities are named as beneficiaries
  • If the Will has been contested or there are concerns about the validity of the Will
  • If no Will was left – particularly for estates worth over £250,000
  • Where dependents were not mentioned in the Will but are likely to make a claim against the estate
  • If the Will was complex or featured Trusts
  • Where foreign property or assets are involved
  • If the estate was insolvent
  • When the estate may be liable for inheritance tax
  • If the estate contains business or agricultural assets

How Clarke Willmott can help

Our specialist team of Probate solicitors, qualified tax advisors, estate practitioners and trust administrators can advise on many complex questions that may arise when dealing with a person’s estate following their death.

Whatever the size of the estate, whatever type of assets form part of the estate and whether the deceased died intestate or has a Will or Trusts that need to be administered, our experienced Probate specialists can help.

We are experts in negotiating with HM Revenue & Customs to minimise the amount of inheritance tax that is to be paid and we can also advise on post death variations of the Will to maximise the value of the estate.

If you have been appointed as an executor or a personal representative, we can support and advise you as you carry out your duties to wind up the estate.  We are experienced in dealing with all sizes of estates.

Our services include:

  • Registering the death and arranging the funeral (if requested)
  • Applying for Grants of Probate/Administration
  • Establishing who is entitled as a beneficiary of the estate and locating missing beneficiaries
  • Identifying and administering the assets of the estate until they can be sold or distributed to the relevant beneficiaries
  • Dealing with any outstanding debts or liabilities of the deceased
  • Preparing and filing the necessary tax returns with HM Revenue & Customs.
  • Contentious Probate – dealing with Will disputes
  • Distributing the estate and accounting to each beneficiary

In addition, we also deal with the following specialist Probate services:

  • Agricultural and business relief – to minimise the inheritance or capital gains tax for estates containing business or agricultural assets
  • International Probate – we have a wealth of experience in handling foreign aspects of the estates of deceased UK domiciled individuals
  • Mitigating inheritance tax or capital gains tax – we can advise on any opportunities to reduce tax on a deceased person’s estate
  • Trusts on death – we can advise on all aspects of setting up and transferring assets into Trusts
  • Post death planning – we can assist the recipient of an estate to pass on assets through a Deed of Variation

Assisting families through the Probate process necessarily involves investigating all aspects of a person’s life.  Where relevant, we work closely with other colleagues within Clarke Willmott (Property, Family, Agricultural) together with other professionals to ensure that you receive the most appropriate legal advice.

Probate costs

Our charges are transparent.  We do not charge any “added value” element, so you only pay for the work that you need our expert assistance with. For example, where the family or executors are able to deal with much of the work themselves we can support them with our Grant Only Service.   This is a fixed fee service to obtain the Grant of Probate or Administration based on the information and evidence that they supply.

You can find out more about our Probate fees and costs here.

Related services

Helpful links

Contact a Probate solicitor

Dealing with the death of a loved one will always be a difficult time.  Our team of dedicated and experienced Probate lawyers will guide you through the Probate process with care and sensitivity. Our teams are based in Taunton, Bristol, London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton. Call today on 0800 652 8025 or contact us online.

Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme