Coping with a bereavement is painful enough without the added pressure of dealing with your loved one's financial affairs.
Our specialist Wills and Probate Solicitors offer a friendly and approachable Will and Probate service that can help make the Probate process as stress-free and painless as possible.
We can act as fixed-fee Probate Solicitors or provide a bespoke quote to suit the Estate you’re dealing with. Get in touch for free initial legal advice and to find out how we can help you.
Meet some of our Probate Solicitors
Our Probate Services Explained
Full Probate Service
From £4,200 (VAT included)
- Fixed Fee Quote tailored to your circumstances
- Full Estate Administration
- Getting a copy of the last Will to make sure the instructions are followed
- Identifying Executors, Administrators and Beneficiaries
- Arranging and for an advert in the Gazette to notify creditors
- Arranging for a Financial Asset Search
- Helping to value the Estate assets
- Notifying and liaising with all financial organisations
- Notifying and liaising with HMRC and DWP
- Applying for the Grant of Probate on your behalf
- Obtaining copy of the Title Register for any property (ies)
- Reduced Probate Application Fee
- Completing Inheritance Tax forms on your behalf
- Closing down accounts and/or policies held
- Paying any outstanding debts from the Estate
- Arranging the sale of the property
- Dealing with final utility bills
- Preparing Estate accounts
- Distributing Estate to Beneficiaries once debts have been paid
- Sending you copies of the Grant of Probate
Grant of Probate Service
From £1,800 (VAT included)
- Identifying Executors or Administrators
- Identifying Beneficiaries
- Getting a copy of the last Will to make sure instructions are followed
- Applying for the legal Grant of Probate documentation
- Reduced Court fees
- Completing Inheritance Tax forms on your behalf
- Submitting Probate application on your behalf
- Sending you copies of the Grant once everything is complete for to you to issue to necessary organisations
Contesting Validity of a Will
£1,392 (VAT included)
- Initial assessment of your case and prospects of success
- Getting a copy of the last Will to review
- Gathering evidence around the drafting of the Will to make sure it was done properly and isn't invalid
- Accessing medical records which can be used as evidence to support your case
- Gathering evidence from witnesses who knew the deceased to support your case
- Speaking to an Independent Medical Adviser for their opinion on Testamentary Capacity
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of dealing with someone's Estate when they die. An Estate is made up of everything that a person owns and could include money, property and any other assets. Getting Probate gives an individual or group of people the legal authority to distribute these assets to beneficiaries who are named in a Will or decided by the Laws of Intestacy.
To get Probate, the person(s) nominated to carry out the wishes of a Will, known as Executors, need to apply for a Grant of Probate. If there is no Will, the deceased person’s next of kin may need a Grant of Letters of Administration instead. The Estate’s assets could remain frozen without either of these Grants.
Probate is often complicated and can involve dealing with important legal documents, tax matters and a range of assets. The responsibility, time and emotional weight involved are why many people turn to our specialist Probate Solicitors to take the pressure off.
You can watch our short video for more information on Probate.
What Do I Do When Someone Dies?
There is so much to think about when you lose a loved one. Our What To Do When Someone Dies Guide can help you with the practicalities so you know exactly what to do and who to contact.
It covers registering the death, paying for the funeral, dealing with a property, personal belongings and any online accounts, fraud protection and help for a surviving partner.
You can download it by clicking on the image below.
Do I Need Probate?
Probate isn’t required for every person that dies in England and Wales. It depends on the size and makeup of the Estate you’re dealing with. As an Executor, you’ll typically need to get a Grant of Probate if:
- The Estate is worth more than £5,000
- It includes a property or land
- It includes stocks or shares
Probate isn’t needed if the person who died:
- Owned everything jointly with their husband, wife or civil partner
- Had little money or significant assets, known as a small Estate
Different banks and financial institutions have different Probate thresholds. Some may ask for a Grant to release £5,000, while others only ask for a Grant if releasing over £50,000.
If you’re unsure whether Probate is needed to deal with your loved one’s Estate, get in touch with our specialists for free initial legal advice. Our Wills and Probate law experts can confirm it either way after finding out a few relevant details from you.
People Our Probate Solicitors Have Helped
No Will Left Behind Case Study
We helped a family get their inheritance after their sister died without leaving behind a Will.Read the Full Case Study
Probate Completed for 12 Beneficiaries
We helped 12 Beneficiaries, based in the UK and Canada, administer the Estate and get their inheritance.Read the Full Case Study
Estranged Family Get Their Inheritance
Our Probate Solicitors acted as Executor for the family of a man who'd lost contact with his family before he died.Read the Full Case Study
£117,500 Inheritance Tax saved on Estate
Our Probate Solicitors helped a woman administer a complex Estate. saving her £117,500 in Inheritance Tax.Read the Full Case Study
Don't just take our word for it.
How Can You Help Me with Probate?
We offer different levels of support throughout Probate to suit your needs.
If you choose our Full Probate Service, we’ll manage the whole process for you from start to finish. This includes time-consuming and complex steps such as valuing the Estate, calculating and completing Inheritance Tax and distributing the Estate to beneficiaries.
Alternatively, our specialist team of Probate Lawyers can help with applying for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration if there's no Will. This service includes completing and submitting an application to the Probate Registry and sending the relevant Grant back to you. You’ll then deal with the rest of the Probate process.
What if There's a Dispute?
Disagreements over Wills and inheritance are distressing but not uncommon. Whether you think you have a right to contest a Will, or you’re an Executor dealing with a disputed Will, we can help. Our Wills and Probate law experts will work to reach the best solution for everyone fairly and sensitively.
Find out more about contesting a Will and contentious Probate.
How Long Does Probate Take in the UK?
In England and Wales, it usually takes around 9 to 12 months to get a Grant of Probate and administer an Estate. This time frame can vary depending on the nature of the Estate’s assets and several other factors. Common delays to the Probate process include:
- A late or incorrect application for Grant of Probate
- An outstanding Inheritance Tax bill
- Problems with a Will, such as mistakes or unclear wishes
- Issues with selling the deceased person’s property
- Third-party delays if dealing with complex assets such as shares or foreign property
Whether these issues arise or not, Probate can demand many hours of time researching, calculating tax and completing legal documentation. This may be time you don’t have if you’re busy with work or family life.
There's no set time limit for applying for Probate but if Inheritance Tax is payable, you'll need to pay this within six months of the death.
Hiring an expert Probate and Wills Solicitor who has completed the procedure many times before will reduce your workload while making the process more efficient. They’ll know how to deal with any difficulties that arise and will give you the reassurance that all legal documents and tax matters are completed correctly.
Why Choose Simpson Millar’s Wills and Probate Solicitors?
Managing Probate while coming to terms with the loss of a loved one can be tough. Be it a partner, family member or friend, our Probate Solicitors are here to make your life easier and provide full confidence that their Estate is dealt with as they would have wished.
Here are the key reasons to get in touch when you’re ready to do so:
- Choose from a Full Probate Service or a Grant of Probate Only Service to get the level of support you need. We can also help with contesting a Will or dealing with a contest.
- Our Specialist Probate Solicitors provide peace of mind that the Probate process is dealt with quickly and efficiently, easing the burden of responsibility on you.
- We’re known as the “Open Lawyers” because we make complex legal processes easy to understand and will keep you updated every step of the way.
- We’re regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), giving you protection and peace of mind that you’re dealing with trustworthy professionals.
- You can get in touch for free initial legal advice to confirm whether you need Probate, with no obligation to use our services.
- Do I Need a Probate Solicitor?
You’re not obliged to use a Solicitor to help with Probate. You might be dealing with a relatively simple Estate or might not need Probate at all, which we can advise on free of charge with no obligation to use our services. But many people do choose to hire specialist Probate Solicitors, and for a variety of reasons.
Contacting a legal professional is recommended when dealing with more complex Estates. This might apply if:
- The Estate has complex assets, such as foreign property, shares or assets held in a Trust
- The Will is invalid or contested, or the division of the Estate is likely to be disputed
- The Estate is bankrupt, with debts worth more than its assets
Whether these issues are present or not, managing Probate comes with serious responsibility. Executors need to handle issues such as paying debts owed by the Estate and calculating Inheritance Tax, and can be held liable for errors. Using an experienced Probate Lawyer will make sure everything is dealt with correctly and reduce the stress this responsibility brings.
Turning to a legal professional can also reduce the burden on your time and emotional wellbeing. Probate involves hours of administrative work that you could struggle to fit in or might prefer to avoid altogether. Our legal experts can take this work off your hands and allow you to focus on what’s important after the passing of a loved one.
- How Much Do Probate Services Cost?
Our fees can be tailored to suit you. We can act as fixed-rate Probate Solicitors or provide a bespoke quote, depending on the work that’s involved and how you’d prefer us to carry it out.
With our Full Probate Service, we’ll manage the entire process for you and collect our fees from the Estate. As a guide, we charge a fixed fee of £4,200 (VAT included) for an Estate with:
- A house
- Up to two bank accounts
- A valid Will
- Up to three beneficiaries
- One pension fund
- One life insurance policy
Alternatively, our Grant of Probate Only Service costs £1,800 (VAT included) if no Inheritance Tax is payable, or £3,000 (VAT included) if it is.
There are various extra costs, known as disbursements, you might need to factor in during the Probate process. These include:
- Probate Registry Court fee - £155
- Additional copies of the Grant, if needed - £1.50 each
- Valuation fees for assets
- Conveyancing fees for selling the Estate’s property
- Trustee Act Notices if required
We can give you a clearer idea of the costs involved with Probate when you get in touch for free initial legal advice.
- What is the Probate Process?
We’ve outlined the typical Probate process below. If you choose our Full Probate Service, our Wills and Probate Solicitors will handle everything after the first step. With our Grant of Probate Only Service, you’ll complete all the steps apart from number four.
- Register the death
You’ll need to register the death within five days in England or Wales to get a death certificate. It’s worth getting multiple copies right away.
You can use the Tell Us Once service to quickly notify all UK Government departments about the death once you’ve registered it.
- Value the Estate
Next is working out how much the Estate is worth to understand whether Inheritance Tax is payable. This step includes valuing any property, financial accounts, investments and possessions.
- Apply for the Grant of Probate
If there is a Will, an application should be prepared and submitted to the Probate Registry for Grant of Probate alongside the original Will. Without a Will, an application should be made for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
- Pay Inheritance Tax, if there’s any due
This step involves confirming the Estate’s tax position, completing the correct Inheritance Tax form, calculating the tax due and paying it to HMRC.
- Pay any debts and collect any money owed to the Estate
Once the Estate is valued, final bills should be paid, and any refunds owed to the Estate should be collected.
- Distribute the Estate
The final step of the Probate process is distributing the Estate to the beneficiaries as outlined in the Will, or as defined by the Laws of Intestacy.
- What Happens if There’s No Will?
If the person who died didn’t make a legally valid Will, their Estate will be divided up by the Laws of Intestacy. Inheritance law will decide who is an appropriate person to manage the Probate process, usually the next of kin, instead of it being someone who was nominated in a Will. This person will need to get a Grant of Letters of Administration for legal authority to manage the Estate.
Having a clear and legally valid Will can make the Probate process quicker while providing relief that a loved one’s wishes will be carried out as they intended.
- What’s the Difference Between Grant of Probate and Grant of Letters of Administration?
Both these Grants provide legal authority to administer an Estate and distribute its assets to beneficiaries. The key difference is that a Grant of Probate might be needed if the person who died left behind a legally valid Will, while a Grant of Letters of Administration applies if they didn’t.
You may see them collectively referred to as a Grant of Representation. The application process is similar for both and our Probate Solicitors can support you in either case.
For free legal advice call our Probate Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.