Our wills and inheritance services

Approachable, sensitive and efficient

Probate and administration of estates

What we can help you with

  • Obtaining the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration
  • Administering estates
  • Advising on Intestacy Rules
  • Advice for executors
  • Post death variation of wills
  • Special grants – De Bonis Non, Ad Colligenda Bona


Why Thomson Hayton Winkley?

Losing a family member or other loved one is obviously an extremely emotional and difficult time. You may be feeling daunted at the task that lies before you in dealing with their affairs. You can rely on our expertise and compassion to make a very difficult time that little bit easier.  Whether you need some initial advice, or you want to instruct us to administer the estate on your behalf, we will approach this task in a sensitive, but efficient way.

If there are assets over a certain value in the sole name of the person who has died, or they owned property in their sole name or held property as a tenant-in-common, the Executor may need to formally prove their appointment – this is done by obtaining the Grant of Probate.

If the person died without making a Will the Intestacy Rules determine who can deal with the estate (called an Administrator) and who inherits the estate. If needed, the Administrator will need to apply for the Grant of Letters of Administration.

Even with relatively modest estates, there can be a lot to take into account and we will ensure that all of the formalities required by HMRC are complied with.  This might include paying the correct amount of Inheritance Tax within the prescribed timescales.

Our solicitors are also skilled at dealing with complex, high value estates where trusts arise or variations of the Will might be necessary.  Cases with multiple beneficiaries, who may have different positions, or who may be unhappy about the provision in the Will, need to be handled sensitively and fairly.

Answering your questions

What will it cost?

We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf. We will also undertake the collecting and distributing of assets.

How much does this service cost?

As at January 2024

For a simple estate we will provide an estimate.

For example, an estate worth £200,000 with no more than 2 executors and no more than 2 beneficiaries where there is no Inheritance Tax to pay and a Grant of Probate is required, including obtaining the Grant, collecting assets and distributing them we estimate that we would charge the following fees:

Our costs  – £3,600 (£3,000 + £500 VAT)

As part of our fee we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the Probate
  • Collect and distribute all assets in the estate

The costs quoted do not include the conveyancing costs for selling or transferring a property, dealing with a challenge from the DWP regarding entitlement to state benefits received during the deceased’s lifetime, a challenge on the estate from a disappointed beneficiary or disputes between the beneficiaries.

In general, there 4 key stages in the administration of all estates:

  1. Gathering information
  2. Using the information to calculate and pay any Inheritance Tax, then apply for the Grant of Probate
  3. Gathering in assets and paying legacies and liabilities.
  4. Finalisation of the administration which can include paying the estate’s income tax and/or capital gains tax, producing Estate Accounts and making the final distributions

On average, simple estates can be concluded within 6 – 12 months.  Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes 12 – 16 weeks.  Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 3-6 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 3-6 weeks.

Complex Estates

For more complex estates – see below for factors that might make an estate complex – it can be difficult to give fixed fees, so we charge on an hourly rate as follows:

£410 + £82 VAT per hour (total £492 per hour)

£450 + £90 VAT per hour (total £540 per hour) if one of our solicitors is an Executor

£460 + £92 VAT per hour (total £552 per hour) if a discretionary trust is created in the Will.

These rates are reviewed annually in January, usually in line with inflation.

Disbursements (Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process):

  • Probate application fee £273 plus £1.50 per additional copy.
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches – £2.40 (£2 + £0.40 VAT) per beneficiary.
  • Advert in The London Gazette and local newspaper – £173 (if appropriate).  This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.

Additional fees in certain circumstances

The following factors can make an estate complex.  This is not an exhaustive list:

  • Inheritance Tax is payable
  • A full Inheritance Tax Account (IHT400) is required
  • More than 2 executors
  • More than 2 beneficiaries
  • Foreign assets
  • Lost share certificates
  • More than 1 property
  • Business assets
  • Agricultural land
  • More than 2 certificated shareholdings
  • A trust under the will
  • Assets held under trust or in a pension
  • Intestacy
  • Missing beneficiaries
  • Trust under a predeceased spouse’s will
  • Trust that aggregates with the estate for tax purposes
  • Lifetime gifts
  • A claim or threat of a claim from a disappointed beneficiary
  • A solicitor acts as an executor
  • We are responsible for clearing the house
  • The extent or nature of assets in the estate are difficult to ascertain
  • More than 2 meetings are required
  • A large number of communications from any beneficiary or executor

Costs information is general and we will give more precise and personalised information in individual matters.

What is a Grant of Probate?

It is the official document to say who has died and who the Executors are in accordance with the Will.

What are Executors?

They are the person or people named in the Will with the responsibility of winding up the estate and distributing the assets.

What are Letters of Administration?

They are the same as a Grant of Probate, but for situations where there is no Will, or no Executors (for example, when the named Executor has died or does not wish to act).

What is the fee for a Grant of Probate?

The fee is £273* and you will need office copies which are £1.50 each.

(*as at April 2022)

When do HMRC get involved?

If the estate is over the relevant Inheritance Tax threshold, then there will be inheritance tax (IHT) to pay and a detailed Inland Revenue Account will need to be completed.

How is the estate distributed?

The Solicitor will prepare detailed estate account showing all sums of money received and paid out.   The accounts will be approved by the executors and then a distribution will be made to all the beneficiaries

Don't take our word for it