Unless the estate is very small and/or assets have been held jointly, the Personal Representatives of the Deceased (i.e. the Executors named in the Will or, where there is no Will, next of kin) will have to obtain a Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry showing their entitlement to deal with the estate. We will probably be able to tell you straight away if a Grant if needed and, if it is, we will be pleased to prepare all the paperwork required in order to obtain the Grant of Representation.

If the Deceased left a Will, the application is to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate; if the Deceased did not make a Will and therefore died intestate, the application is for a Grant of Letters of Administration.

If a Will was left this should set out who is to inherit the estate. If there was no Will, the law sets out who is entitled to inherit – the following link will help you to work out exactly who inherits on intestacy:-

The first stage of our work will be to apply for the Grant but, after the Grant is obtained, we will deal with the administration of the estate which will include collecting in the assets of the estate, settling estate liabilities, dealing with tax issues and ultimately distributing the estate in favour of beneficiaries.

Fee information

Many issues can arise during the course of the administration and it is impossible to predict at the beginning of a case exactly what work will be required in order to bring the administration to a successful conclusion. Accordingly, the amount of our legal charges will be worked out on the basis of the time spent. The ultimate cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts/investments, costs will be at the higher end.

Fees for Simple Estates

For simple estates, between 10 and 15 hours work may be required and, on that basis, our fees would be likely to work out between £2,000.00 – £3,000.00 plus VAT based on an hourly rate of £200.00 plus VAT. As the administration progresses we will regularly review the amount of time expended and, if it becomes necessary to revise any estimate, we will let you have an updated estimate of the likely fees to conclude the administration.

Fees for Complex Estates

Our legal charges for administering complex estates will be based on the amount of time it takes to complete the administration – an hourly rate of £200 plus VAT will apply. Where we are able to estimate the number of hours work, we will provide you with an initial estimate of the likely fees. We will review the amount of time expended at regular intervals and if at any point it becomes clear that more hours work than previously estimated will be required we will let you have a revised estimate of the likely charges to conclude the administration. It is not always possible at the outset of our retainer to provide you with an estimate of the total number of hours work required in order to deal with the administration. Where we cannot provide you with an initial estimate of the likely charges we will, for budgeting purposes, set a costs limit on the file such that we will not carry out more than 15 hours work (equating to fees of £3,000.00 plus VAT) without further reference to you. Once we have obtained the grant of Probate we should be in a position to provide you with an estimate of the number of hours work required to complete the administration. For some complex estates where the responsibility is greater there may be additional charges based on the value of the estate – value charges will not be made unless we have expressly stated that the same are to apply and provided details of the applicable percentages in our Terms of Business.

In addition to our legal charges certain payments to third parties will be required. These are referred as “disbursements” and will be additional to our fees. We will generally tell you about any disbursements which it is necessary for us to pay before incurring the same on your behalf. Typical disbursements are as follows:-

  • Probate Registry application fee of £155.00 for obtaining the Grant. If additional copies of the Grant are required, they will cost £1.50 per copy
  • Valuation fees – e.g. a stockbroker or surveyor may charge for valuing assets.
  • Property clearance fees
  • Buildings insurance costs
  • Statutory advertising for creditors
  • Land Registry fees where property is to be transferred to beneficiaries

The tax charges which can arise when someone dies will be additional to the fees we charge for our Probate service. The most significant tax charge will be Inheritance Tax (IHT) which is generally charged where the value of the estate exceeds the Deceased’s available allowances. For the tax year 2020-21 the allowances available to an individual will (subject to there being no substantial gifts in the 7 year period prior to death) total £500,000 (£325,000 basic allowance and £175,000 where a residence is passing to lineal descendants). In the case of married couples there is usually no tax to pay when a spouse dies and is survived by the other spouse – at the point where the surviving spouse dies, provided the spouse who has died first did not use his/her allowances, the same can be transferred to the surviving spouse which may mean that up to £1,000,000 can pass down to the children or other chosen beneficiaries free from IHT. As part of our service we will ensure that you receive comprehensive advice not only in relation to IHT but also the Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax liabilities of the estate.

For more information generally with regard to the Probate process you may find the following link helpful:-

One of the benefits of using Bramhall Solicitors is that your case will be handled by a Partner in the firm. There are currently two Partners in the firm namely Simon Hughes and Xavier Patterson. Both Simon and Xavier are highly experienced Solicitors who have administered many estates over the years. See below for brief details and also refer to the profiles elsewhere on this website. Because your work will be handled by a Partner rather than a less qualified Executive we do not, as a firm, operate a system of supervision, although the Partners do carry out reviews in respect of each other’s files.

Simon Hughes – Partner

Simon qualified as a Solicitor in 1984 – as well as being head of our Wills, Trusts and Probate Department Simon is a very experienced property lawyer.

Simon has an abundance of experience and is able to deal with Estates and Trusts together with all associated tax aspects with a high degree of technical expertise.

Xavier Patterson – Partner

Xavier qualified as a Solicitor in 1997 – Xavier primarily deals with Conveyancing and Family Law matters but also handles Probate work

Xavier has established a reputation as a highly proficient lawyer and is a founder member of the Practice.

Unless the estate is very small with no freehold or leasehold property (a house or flat) then it will usually be necessary to obtain Probate – a Grant of Probate is a formal document issued by the Probate Registry which validates the Will and authorises the Executors to deal with the estate. We will be able to tell you straightaway whether or not a Grant is needed.

If the deceased left a Will, the application to the Probate Registry will be for a Grant of Probate. However, if the deceased did not make a Will and therefore died ‘intestate’, a Grant of Letters of Administration will be required. The application for this kind of Grant is usually made by next of kin (e.g. the surviving spouse or the children of the deceased). Where there is an intestacy, we will be able to advise you which members of the family are entitled to take out the Grant of Letters of Administration.

As part of the application for Probate, we will need to declare the value of the estate in a formal account which is submitted to HM Revenue & Customs – so, once you have provided us with the papers of the deceased, we will write to the financial institutions concerned (banks, building societies, insurance companies etc) to obtain up-to-date account balances and valuations. It is difficult to estimate how long this process will take, as we will be dependent upon the turnaround time of third parties, but normally most of the financial information will be received within 4 – 6 weeks of your passing the papers through to us. The next step will be for you to attend at our offices for the purpose of swearing the Oath which will lead to the Grant. That oath is then lodged at the Probate Registry. The Grant is usually issued within 2 – 3 weeks. Arrangements will have to be made to pay any tax due at the same time that the probate application is submitted – usually banks/building societies will release funds for the purpose of covering any tax liability.

Once the Grant has been obtained we will collect in the deceased’s assets in accordance with your instructions. This typically involves closing bank accounts, cashing in investment products and selling shares. We will attend to the conveyancing in respect of the deceased’s home or, alternatively, transfer the home into the names of beneficiaries. All the estate monies will be kept in our client account in the names of the Personal Representatives and will be subject to the protection of the stringent rules imposed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. If any estate monies come into your hands you should send the same through to us straight away so that such monies can be properly accounted for and then fairly allocated between the beneficiaries.

Once we have collected in all the assets we will prepare Estate Accounts for approval by the Personal Representatives and beneficiaries. The Estate Accounts will contain a detailed summary of all assets, liabilities, expenses and income and show exactly what each beneficiary will receive from the estate.

As soon as the accounts are approved we will distribute the estate. This will normally involve paying over to the beneficiaries their entitlements or transferring assets out of the estate into the names of the beneficiaries. If the Will creates trusts, e.g. for underage beneficiaries, we will arrange for those trusts to be set up.

The length of time taken to obtain a Grant and administer an estate can vary significantly and depends on the value and complexity of the estate, the number of beneficiaries, the provisions of the Will, whether or not any assets are located outside of England and Wales and whether or not there is an inheritance tax liability.

The simplest estates can be dealt with within 3 – 4 months of first instructing us. More complex estates can take significantly longer.

Delays in the administration can occur where a dispute arises between beneficiaries – a family member may for instance believe that the Will has failed to make adequate provision for him or her: in this kind of case it will not be possible to distribute the estate until the claim of the disappointed person has been dealt with.

Distribution can also be delayed if the Department of Work and Pensions brings a claim in respect of an overpayment of benefits (such as Pension Credit or Income Support) made to the deceased during his or her lifetime. Sometimes it can take several months to resolve such a claim.

We will keep you informed of any problems that arise during the course of the administration which are likely to cause significant delay and will do our best to resolve the same as quickly as possible.

How can we help you?

Bramhall Solicitors can help you by providing you with a high quality legal service.

Our starting point is that our clients need looking after. Legal matters can be stressful – so, whether you are moving house, dealing with bereavement, trying to work out what you should do in your Will or facing family issues, we will make it our priority to provide you with all the legal support and advice you need.


Get in Touch

Please give us a call on 0161 439 9777, or fill out the form below and we’ll call you back as soon as we can.

Alternatively, you are welcome to visit us at our office in Bramhall at Errwood House, 212 Moss Lane, Stockport, SK7 1BD. Visit our contact page for map and directions.

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