Probate & Estate Administration

Probate is the process of administering the estate of an individual in the event of their death. PM Law guarantee a sympathetic and practical approach to the sensitive nature of this are of the law.

Probate services to help ease the burden on you

The loss of a loved one is distressing and traumatic. Following bereavement, we can offer you a full range of estate administration and probate services to help relieve some of the pressure and administrative responsibilities.

Our team understand how stressful probate can be, that's why we're committed to providing probate services that will help make this tough time much more manageable.

Contact us today on or phone 0114 350 3860.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal right given to someone to handle an individuals 'estate' (their money, property and possessions) when they die. Probate is used to describe the legal and financial process of dealing with the estate of a person who has died.

In order to do this, you must apply for 'grant of probate' - this is the legal document(s) required to give an individual access to the bank accounts and other affairs of the deceased. However, grant of probate can only be given if the person left a will.

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When is probate needed?

You will need to apply for probate if you're dealing with anything more than a small estate left by the person who has died. If the person in question was single at the time of their death, then it's very likely you'll need to apply for probate to help administer their estate.

It all comes down to the size of the estate and the value of other assets that are left. In cases where there is no property left, and less than £5,000 in the bank, there's usually no need for probate. Some assets can be handled without probate if their value is low enough. It's also important to note that banks set their own limits for probate, so always check this where possible.

What if there's no will?

When someone doesn't leave a will following their death, it's referred to as dying intestate. In cases like this, the probate process is made more complicated. A close relative is the first option to become the administrator of the deceased's estate. However, there's often more than one person with equal right to fulfill this role.

When there's more than one person who could be the administrator, they'll have to apply to the probate registry for a grant of letter of administration. A Grant of Representation includes both the grant of probate (when there's a will) and grant of letters of administration (when there's no will).

How long does probate take?

How long the probate process takes depends on the complexity of the deceased's estate. The process can take as long as a year due to the different organisations that may have to be involved. It's not uncommon for banks, HMRC, and insurance companies to be involved in the administration of an estate. In addition, an estate can't be fully administered until all claims on it have been received and handled. You have six months from the date probate was granted to make claims against the estate.

Here are a few factors that impact how long the probate process takes:

  • the belongings / things in the ownership of the deceased and where they are
  • the business interests of the person who died
  • whether the estate is insolvent
  • what the will or the rules of intestacy say

What probate services do we offer?

We understand how stressful the death of a loved one can be. That's why we're always looking to ease the burden on you any way we can. We can advise you, assist you with, or undertake on your behalf the following:

  • Applying for the appropriate Grant of Representation or Letters of Administration (probate)
  • Administering the whole estate from start to finish
  • Arranging deeds or variation for IHT planning or any other purposes
  • We can also assist with contested probate

Our probate solicitors have all the skills and experience necessary to guide you through this process. We want to help give you confidence in the choices you make through clear, succinct advice that you can trust.

More information on wills, trusts and probate

If you couldn't find the answers you were looking for on this page, we've got plenty more information on wills, trusts and probate on the following pages:

Probate FAQs

Didn’t find the answers you were looking for? Look at the FAQs below for more information on our probate services.

Contentious probate refers to disputes about how a person's estate should be administered following their death. For example, probate may be granted to a family member, but another relative might not agree with how the handling of the deceased's estate. A dispute could also occur if the deceased's will is considered to have been wrongly interpreted.

If you'd like to know more, you can take a look at our contentious probate page for further information and details on how we can help you with this. 

Not all estates require probate. If the deceased had very minimal assets, jointly owned property, or assets held in trusts, probate may not be necessary. Our solicitors can assess your specific situation to determine whether probate is required.

We will discuss your needs with you in detail and advise you on the best course of action. Our fees are:

Grant only: Fixed fee £800 + £160 VAT

Full probate including obtaining grant, collecting and distributing assets: £200 per hour + £40 VAT

In addition, disbursements will be payable. These are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties such as court fees. We handle the payments of these on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Disbursements include:

  • Probate court fee - £279 including copies
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches – £2 per beneficiary.
  • Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors – estimated cost £85 + £17 VAT.
  • Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims – estimated cost £120 + £24 VAT

On average the whole process can take between 4-12 months to complete. Obtaining the grant of probate can take 6-12 weeks alone.

The next step is collecting the assets, which can take between 6-12 months. It's then a case of distributing the assets, which normally takes 6-12 weeks. Every case is different and it may be that timescales are shorter or longer than this depending on your circumstances. 

A Grant of Probate is a legal document that authorises the executor to administer the deceased's estate. To obtain it, you need to apply to the Probate Registry, providing necessary documentation, including the original will, an inventory of assets, and an inheritance tax form. Our solicitors can guide you through this process.

This depends on how their assets were owned. Couples tend to own their home as joint tenants and have shared bank accounts so, if this is the case with you, then probate isn't required. 

However, if there are any assets in the sole name of the deceased, then you will need a grant of probate in order to distribute them. 

Inheritance tax is calculated based on the value of the deceased's estate. It is generally payable if the estate exceeds the inheritance tax threshold. Our solicitors can assist in assessing the tax liability, identifying exemptions, and ensuring compliance with HM Revenue and Customs regulations.