Probate Services

January 31st, 2022

Probate Services – Introduction 

We are licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales. 

Whenever and however, someone dies it is inevitably an emotional and difficult time for those left behind. We have acted for most of our clients for many years, know and understand their wider family situation and have often already been involved in estate planning and the formulation of their will. This leaves us in a unique position to sympathetically and efficiently assist the executors to apply for probate, to administer the estate and to produce understandable estate accounts for the beneficiaries.  

We are also very happy to provide non-contentious probate services to anyone else needing assistance in obtaining grant and dealing with Inheritance Tax reporting as required and as part of the onboarding process we will work with you to understand the whole family and asset structure.   

Please contact David Hartley in the first instance to discuss how we can help on 01276 61203 or by email  

Services we offer 

When someone passes away there are many emotional, practical and financial matters to attend to with varying degrees of urgency. Those affected attend to notifying family and friends, registering the death, dealing with funeral arrangements and if necessary, securing the property and assets of the deceased and our involvement commences when the executors start to consider the need to obtain a grant of probate and reporting and payment of any IHT due.  

Generally speaking the services we are asked to provide include: 

  • Gathering details and values of all assets (property, investments, bank accounts etc.) and liabilities (mortgages, loans, taxes etc.)  
  • Notifying financial institutions as required 
  • Preliminary assessment of the IHT position having regard to who the beneficiary(s) is/are, previous lifetime gifts and reliefs available  
  • Completion of IHT returns as required 
  • Drafting of the statement of truth (the new form of oath) 
  • Submission of the grant application to HMCTS 
  • Realising assets once grant is obtained
  • Preparation of estate accounts 
  • Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries 
  • If required as part of the process we can assist as a separate engagement with concluding lifetime tax affairs and with estate tax returns if relevant 


It typically takes 2 to 3 months to collate the required information and to make the IHT submissions to HMRC.  

We are always mindful that if IHT is payable it’s due date for payment is 6 months after the death and although HMRC are understanding if assets to pay it cannot be realised by that date it does determine when interest runs from and as such we always strive to achieve as much as possible by this deadline if circumstances permit.  

Timescales for grant of probate following submission of the application online to HMCTS are out of our hands, early on in the Covid pandemic these service levels fell but more recently have returned to a more typical “few weeks”.  

The administration phase after grant is received typically takes around 2 months but again can be influenced by for instance realisation times for assets such as properties.  

Conclusion of the processes after that follows very quickly.  


We charge on the basis of an hourly rate based on the time spent dealing with the estate.  

We do not charge any percentage on the value of the estate.  

All figures quoted below are inclusive of VAT at the current prevailing rate of 20%. 

Disbursements such as the probate application fee (£275 including 4 additional copies of the grant) and other out of pocket expenses are recharged at cost.  

Every estate is different and some of the tasks can be timing consuming but require an attention to detail that warrants them being carried out by senior staff.  

Partner time is charged at £250 per hour and other staff at between £150 and £200 per hour. 

We are always happy to give an indicative quotation at the outset once we understand the nature of the assets, liabilities and the complexity of the will and will always keep you informed as matters progress.   

On an indicative basis the very simplest estates with no IHT due and few assets to value and distribute will incur fees in the range of £1,500 to £2,500. 

Many estates we deal with have one property, a few bank accounts, a couple of investments and normal personal assets and incur fees in the range £3,500 to £7,500, influenced in part by whether it is an excepted estate eligible for the simpler IHT205 form or a larger, more complex case involving the fuller IHT400 and associated supporting forms.  

Large numbers of directly held shareholdings are time consuming to deal with the registrars thereof and add cost as do additional properties and will increase the time involved. In some cases this and other complications result in fees significantly in excess of those cited above but we will always seek to estimate up front and keep the executors informed as matters progress. 

We have facilities to open a designated client account through which to process asset realisations, liability payments and distributions but opening one, operating it and closing it is a time consuming process for which an additional fee of at least £600 will arise.  

Complaints, Compensation and Insurance 

As the firm is licensed for non-contentious probate services by the ICAEW, there is access to the Legal Ombudsman and the ICAEW Probate Compensation Scheme. If you would like to talk to us about how we could improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting our Head of Legal Practice, David Hartley ( We will consider carefully any complaint you may make about our probate or estate administration work as soon as we receive it and do all we can to resolve it. We will acknowledge your letter within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within eight weeks. If we do not deal with your complaint in this time, or if you are unhappy with our response, you may of course take up the matter with the Legal Ombudsman (LeO). The Legal Ombudsman’s ability to deal with your complaint is dependent on the following factor’s; you must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than 1) six years from the act/omission; or 2) three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint; and 3) you must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the date of our written response. Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman,Telephone 0300 555 0333, e-mail or by post Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.  

In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Probate Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been aware of the loss. Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website: 

The firm has professional indemnity insurance, in accordance with the disclosure requirements of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, details of our professional indemnity insurer is Allied World Assurance Company Limited, 19th Floor, 20 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 3BY. The territorial coverage is worldwide excluding professional business carried out from an office in the United States of America or Canada and excludes any action for a claim brought in any court in the United States of America or Canada.