Probate & Estate Administration

If the deceased had substantial savings, owned land, property or shares in their own name then Probate will be needed. 

A grant of probate is needed irrespective of whether the deceased had a Will or not – which is a popular misconception. Probate is the authority that allows a person’s estate to be collected and distributed according to their Will (if they have one).

Administering an estate can be a time consuming and complicated process at a time when you and your family are coming to terms with your loss.

We can help executors to deal with the onerous responsibility of administering the estate by completing the full administration of Estate at a Fixed Fee price – especially as executors are liable to beneficiaries, creditors and HM Revenue & Customs

Alternatively, our popular Grant only service that allows Executors to limit the costs to the Estate by instructing us to complete the necessary forms to obtain the Grant. Once it has been issued you can administer the Estate on your own. 


When someone dies without a valid Will it is called Intestacy.

The Intestacy rules then determine who can deal with the deceased’s estate and who should benefit from it. In brief:

  • The person’s spouse inherits all their personal possessions and the first £250,000 of the estate
  • For estates valued over £250,000 the remaining inheritance is split 50/50 between the spouse and children

Relatives such as siblings or grandchildren only inherit if there’s no surviving spouse or children.

If there are no relatives then the estate will be inherited by the Crown. 

These rules don’t provide for unmarried partners or step children which is why it can be important to make a Will.

You can search for a probate record in England and Wales online or by post for people who died after 1857.

If one has not yet been issued you can apply to be sent a copy of a probate if it’s granted in the next 6 months (a ‘standing search’). You can extend the standing search after 6 months.

There are a number of reasons for diverting an entitlement under a Will or Intestacy to somebody else such as taking advantage of new tax laws, providing for someone who had been excluded from a Will, not needing the money or just to pass assets on to the next generation.

The benefit of using a Deed of Variation is that there are no Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax consequences for the original beneficiary, it is deemed as though the deceased made the gift. 

A Deed of Variation has many strict conditions that have to be met some of which are:

  • The variation must be made within 2 years of the death
  • It must clearly identify the part of the estate being varied and who is benefitting from the variation
  • It must be signed by all beneficiaries who are giving up their rights to some or all of their inheritance/entitlement
  • It must include special statements regarding Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax Deeds of Variation are retrospective and the new beneficiary is treated as having been entitled from the date of death. 

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