Wills and Probate


Quite simply, anybody who has financial assets and/or responsibilities, a partner, and/or children, should have a Will. Don’t rely on the general law to distribute your estate as you would want to, if you die without a Will (intestacy). In particular, the position of long term partners who are not married, or in a civil partnership, is most vulnerable – the general law makes very little provision for them. They may have nothing better than a possible claim under the Inheritance Family Provision Act i.e., persuading a Court to make reasonable provision for them.

Wills need not be long and complex and indeed we try to draft our Wills in simple English. There are formalities which have to be complied with, for that reason we recommend that a Will is professionally drawn, and signed and witnessed at our offices.

A well drawn Will can dispose of your assets as you wish. If you are in a long term relationship it is most sensible to discuss what is to happen after death with your partner/spouse.

Your input into the Will is quite simple:-

 We will need the name and address of the person or persons who are to wind up your affairs after you have gone (“Executors”) general details about your assets/investments, and we will also discuss any potential inheritance tax issues.

  •  We will need to know who you wish to benefit, and in what proportion, and whether there are any specific gifts which you wish to make to named individuals;
  • If you have young children, it is sensible to appoint a guardian for them after the death of the last one of you, or, if you are a single parent, after your own death;

We will then normally prepare a draft Will and send a copy to you for approval, and then arrange a meeting at our offices for the document to be signed and witnessed.



Probate is the general name given to the work involved in collating, administering, and distributing an estate of someone who has died. It can be a paper heavy and protracted process, but at all stages we strive to keep matters as simple as we can, and to keep you informed. In very brief and simple terms the administration of an ordinary estate, where there is no disagreement, comprises the following stages:- 

  • Ascertain values and schedule assets and liabilities;
  • Prepare the Inland Revenue return and Executors/Personal Representatives Oath.
  • Pay any Inheritance Tax which is due;
  • Lodge the papers with the Probate Registry and obtain “The Grant” – this is your legal authority from the Court to administer the estate.
  • Send copies of the Grant to all asset holders and collect assets;
  • Pay all known debts and advertise for unknown creditors.
  • Settle any Inheritance Tax issues, and, if we are so instructed, attempt to settle the deceased’s income tax affairs (we will often work in conjunction with an accountant for that purpose).
  • Prepare estate accounts and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.

The costs of drawing up a Will are normally quite modest, the costs of dealing with probate/administration are calculated on a time involvement basis in accordance with our current published time charging rates, with a minimum fee of approximately £5000 plus VAT and disbursements. If a member of this firm is actually appointed as the Executor, or one of the Executors, an additional value based percentage charge may be applied.  We will confirm the basis of charging before commencing work.

 A well drawn Will can mitigate Inheritance Tax in certain circumstances, but in any event there is a two year window of opportunity (under present legislation) to vary the terms of the Will or the distribution of the estate on intestacy, if the beneficiaries agree and if it seems a sensible course to take.

 If you instruct us in connection with the administration of an estate, we believe that you will find us helpful and sensitive at a time which can be very difficult and trying.