Probate is the term often referred to in connection with the administration of an estate. In most cases it is necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate which is the legal authority for the personal representatives to deal with (administer) the estate of the person who has died.

This is often a family member but could also be an executor appointed in the Will of the person who has died or someone else who meets the necessary criteria and we can give you advice about this.

The executors are named in the Will of the person who has died. Someone appointed as an executor can choose not to be involved in the estate and we can give more advice about this.

The funeral account can usually be settled from the deceased’s bank or building society account but in advance of this a deposit towards the cost of the funeral director may be required and this can also be refunded in due course.

If the person who has died has left a Will and the estate is worth more than £5,000 it is usual for a Grant of Probate to be required, but there are some exceptions to this and we can give you further advice regarding these exceptions if necessary.

In most cases it will necessary to apply for what is called Letters of Administration (the equivalent of a Grant of Probate where there is no Will) and this gives the people legally entitled to apply the authority to deal with the estate.

There are a set of rules that determine who is entitled to share in the estate and for further information about these please contact us.

In order to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration firstly details of the assets and liabilities of the person who has died have to be gathered together so that the value of the estate can be calculated this is done by obtaining valuations and balances of all assets and the extent of the liabilities. This value determines, for example, if a Grant is necessary and whether there will be any Inheritance Tax to pay. Secondly a legal document called an oath and supporting papers are sent off to the Probate Registry with the appropriate fee and the Grant should be issued approximately three weeks later. In most, but not all cases, solicitors are asked to deal with the obtaining of the Grant on behalf of the estate.

The threshold for Inheritance Tax is £325,000. This means that an estate not exceeding this amount will not pay any Inheritance Tax.

If an estate is worth more than this amount there may be tax to pay, although there are various exemptions to be considered and we can provide further advice on these.

Married couples or civil partners leaving their estates to each other will have no Inheritance Tax to pay on the first death. We can give advice about what will happen at the time of the second death.

When you have been involved in the estate of someone else it should alert you to consider if your own arrangements are appropriate to your current circumstances for example, do I have a Will or do I need to update a current Will and should I consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Only obtaining a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration £950 plus VAT (£190), total of £1140 based on information provided by you.

We charge 2% of the gross value of the estate plus VAT in respect of a full administration service or in certain circumstances we would charge instead an hourly rate and we can give you those details if requested.

In all cases there will be the Probate Registry fee for obtaining the necessary Grant which is £273 plus £1.50 for each copy together with other small payments which should not exceed £20 per executor.