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The word probate is commonly used to describe the process of administering a person’s will after they have died. In fact, the phrase comes from the court order which provides the executors of a will with the authority to deal with the deceased estate. That court order is called a Grant of Probate – hence the phrase ‘probate’.

Letters of Administration is simply a type of ‘Grant of Probate’ where the deceased died without having made a will. Like a Grant of Probate it provides executors with the authority to deal with the administration of the estate. In this case, the executors are actually called ‘administrators’ (not executors)!

This is where someone dies without a valid will in place. In this situation, the law sets out the rules dictating who gets what.

Here is a link to the Government’s website which will take you through who would inherit under the rules of intestacy:-

There is no legal requirement to have a solicitor act in probate. If you have the time, inclination, and skills to deal with it yourself, then you can.

However, and for various reasons, you may want someone else to do the work for you. If you do want help, we can relieve of that burden and deal with everything on your behalf.

How difficult it is depends on the individual circumstances of the estate as they are all different.  If there are shares, a trust, no will, property or inheritance tax payable there is more involved and as executor/ administrator you want to ensure that everything has been completed properly.

IHT is a tax on the estate (property, money and personal items) of someone who has died.

Here is a link to the Government’s website for information on inheritance tax:-

Yes!  And, we can do as much or as little as you’d like.

We can look after everything for you from start to finish.  This will include notifying banks and other organisations of the death, gathering the date of death (‘probate’) valuations, applying for the grant of probate, collecting in/selling the assets, assessing and reporting on income tax, capital gains tax and dealing with inheritance tax.

If you just need our help in obtaining the grant of probate we can do this too.

This depends on the individual estate. With our help, here is a broad overview of the timeframes you might typically expect:-

  • Gathering probate values – 3 -5 weeks
  • Probate application prepared – 1 week
  • IHT return submitted to HMRC and receipted – 2 – 4 weeks (if applicable)
  • Probate Registry process the application – 7 – 9 weeks
  • Close/ transfer assets – 2 -4 weeks
  • Settle income tax – 4 – 6 weeks

Where there is a property to be sold or inheritance payable the administration of an estate will take longer.

If you would like our help with just the probate application, you would expect everything to be completed in 8 – 11 weeks where there is no inheritance tax payable or 10 – 14 weeks where there is.

Whilst we will progress things as quickly as possible for you there are times where we are waiting for other people to complete their role eg HMRC, the Probate Registry.  In these situations, their timescales may change.  We will always update you of this.

It is important to differentiate between legal fees, and those costs that an estate will incur in any event.

Legal Fees 

We offer a free initial meeting which is always the best place to start.  We’ll take you through everything that is involved.  We’ll also be able to find out more details on your particular estate to give a costs estimate which is specific to you.

If you would like our help with just the probate application where there is no inheritance tax payable, our fee is fixed at £750 + VAT (£900 inc VAT).  If there is no inheritance tax payable, but unused residential nil rate bands available either on the estate or to be transferred over from a spouse’s estate, our fee is £850 + VAT (it’s also a fixed fee) (£1,020 inc VAT).

Where you would like us to complete the probate application and there is inheritance tax payable, a full return is needed or you are applying for the grant of probate on someone else’s behalf (eg as an attorney) we charge on an hourly basis.  Roughly speaking our fees are generally £1,500 – £2,500 + VAT (£1,800 – £3,000 inc VAT) depending on what exactly is involved for your application.

Our hourly rates vary depending on the qualification and experience of the person looking after you.  Our current hourly rates are:-

£135 + VAT – paralegal

£155 + VAT – trainee solicitor

£275 + VAT – solicitor

£295 + VAT – solicitor, director & head of department

£350 + VAT – solicitor, director, CEO/MD

If you would like our help with everything from start to finish we can do this.  Our fees will depend how many assets there are, how many beneficiaries, the size of the estate, whether there is inheritance tax payable along with if there are any other complicating factors (eg an invalid will, a claim against the estate).

There are two ways we charge.  If the estate is straight forward (for example, but not limiting to, a will, no inheritance tax payable) we charge on an hourly basis.  It is very hard to estimate how long an estate would take as some estates may have 1 bank account and others 20 different share holdings.  Some estates may have 1 beneficiary and others 15.  For an estate where there is a couple of assets (bank accounts or shares), a property, no inheritance tax payable and one or two beneficiaries our fees could be £4,000 – £5,000 + VAT (£4,800 – £6,000 inc VAT).  If there are many beneficiaries and assets then this will take longer and could be £5,000 – £8,500 + VAT (£6,000 – £10,200 inc VAT).

Where the estate is large or complex, we might charge on a ‘time plus value’ basis.  This is where we charge for the work we do (the ‘time’ element) plus a percentage of the estate (‘value’).  The percentage will not exceed the guidance from our regulator of 1.5%.

As with any aspect of legal advice we provide a specific tailored costs estimate for you from the outset.  If you have any questions as to what our fees could be for your estate please do contact us on 03300 020 863 or

Are there any other costs involved? 

The court fee for the application is currently £155.  If you require further copies of the grant of probate to send people they will be £1.50 each. There is no VAT on court fees.

Occasionally accountants will become involved for complex tax affairs where it is more cost effective to use an accountant.  We will obtain a quote first before they go ahead.  If you have an accountant we can of course use them.

There may also be some companies who pay for valuations eg estate agents or auctioneers.  Always asked for a quote before they complete the work.

Contact the Probate team

Few things challenge us more than losing a loved one. Whatever your probate needs, QLAW can help. From probate (only) applications through to full estate administration, our expert probate solicitors are here to help. So, do please reach out however suits you – phone, email, or contact us form.