our services

probate services

Whenever someone passes away in England or Wales, around half of these deaths will require a legal document called a Grant of Probate. Whether the deceased person had a legal Will or not, a probate document will prove to the Land Registry, banks, and other institutions that the named person has court-approved authority to manage the deceased’s money, property, and other assets.

Applying for a Grant of Probate involves a lot of paperwork, and liaising with various government offices, from the Probate Registry to HMRC. Losing a loved one is upsetting enough without the additional burden of estate administration, so many people prefer to hire a professional.

While it isn’t a legal requirement to appoint a probate specialist, many people find it useful to hire a qualified accountant who can handle these matters on their behalf. If you are unfamiliar with the processes of probate application and estate management and find the associated responsibilities too daunting to deal with alone, don’t worry – the team at GBAC is here to assist you.

Which probate services do you offer?

Here at GBAC, we have an experienced team of financial specialists who are more than capable of managing probate affairs for you. Not only can we assist with inheritance tax planning and estate planning before death, but we can also oversee a range of probate services, including the following:

  • Applying for Grant of Probate
  • Investigating/valuing the estate
  • Estate administration without a Will
  • Resolving disputed identification of beneficiaries
  • Paying tax and debts to relevant parties
  • Distributing assets according to the Will
  • Selling property or transferring ownership
  • Managing Trusts specified in the Will

Our team can advise you on any aspect or the entire process, providing as little or as much guidance and administrative support as you require. We’re happy to tailor our probate services to suit your individual needs, whether that’s simply completing your probate application or managing all of your executor duties. You can rest assured that we’ll carry out your obligations as efficiently as possible.

What are the likely costs of administering an Estate?

All estate work can be tailored to each individual case, we can do as little or as much as you require at these difficult times.

The below are guide prices, we will discuss our fees on an individual case by case basis:

Obtaining a Grant

Where we are asked to just obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and do no other work. You will provide us with all the information that we require, and we only complete the paperwork.

  • Where no Inheritance is payable £875 plus VAT of £175 total payable £1,050 plus disbursements
  • Where Inheritance Tax is payable £1,275 plus VAT of £255 total payable £1,530 plus disbursements

Administering an Estate

Where we are asked to fully administer an Estate, including obtaining the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration our charges may be calculated as follows:

  • For estates where no Inheritance is payable, and there has been no gifting during the previous 7 years of the Deceased’s lifetime and there are a maximum of 5 assets £2,800 plus VAT of £560 total payable £3,360 plus disbursements
  • For estates where Inheritance is payable, and there are less than 5 assets, £5,000 plus VAT of £1,000 total payable £6,000 plus disbursements
  • For estates where there are more than 5 assets, price is on request following an initial meeting or communication.

The above prices exclude disbursements, which are costs payable to third parties and vary per Estate (prices correct at time of publishing):

  • Probate Registry fees £273
  • Each additional copy of the Grant of Probate or Letters Of Administration £1.50
  • HM Land Registry Office Copy Entries £3.00
  • Unclaimed Assets Registry Search £25.00
  • Trustee Act Notices £295.00 (approximately)

Our quotations are based on the estimated time and complexity of the estate based on the information provided by you, should we find that the time has been underestimated our hourly rate for handling the estate is £174 inclusive of VAT. Cases typically exceed the quoted fee when unknown information comes to light during the course of the work, for example an invalid Will, further assets are identified, properties are found to be not registered. Any understatement will be discussed and agreed with you at the time so that there are no surprises once the estate is complete.

How can GBAC help with probate documents?

Obtaining a Grant of Probate and fulfilling duties as executor of an estate can be an arduous undertaking, which is why we keep things moving as smoothly as possible for our clients. When you entrust GBAC with probate and estate administration, we’ll provide complete peace of mind.

We can initiate and complete a variety of probate administration tasks at GBAC Limited and our sister company GBAC Estates and Probate Services Limited, including (but not restricted to):

  • FREE initial consultation with a dedicated case manager (up to 60 minutes)
  • Detailed review of your estate under current Inheritance Tax rules including:
    - Considering the need for a Deed of Variation
    - Claiming valuable reliefs and exemptions from Inheritance Tax
  • Step-by-step estate administration process (you can carry this out yourself if you prefer)
  • Grant of Probate application and/or Letters of Administration application
  • Assistance with asset valuations for the deceased’s estate including valuations of shares in unquoted businesses
  • Preparation of estate accounts and tax returns
  • Submission of relevant Inheritance Tax information to HMRC
  • Completion of final tax returns to date of death

The process is fairly straightforward for an uncontested estate. In any case, we can take instruction on:

  • Contacting banks, building societies, and utility providers
  • Finding details of outstanding debts (owed by or to the deceased)
  • Closing the deceased’s bank account to gather funds in one place
  • Claiming pensions and life insurance policies
  • Dividing collected monies in accordance with the Will
  • Transferring shares and property ownership to beneficiaries
  • Paying fees, expenses, bills, and debts
  • Assisting with the sale of property

If the deceased’s estate does not have adequate funds or assets to cover its liabilities, the situation can be complicated. In this case, it’s best to consult a expert financial advisor like GBAC.

Whatever your circumstances may be, the team of accountants at GBAC are proficient in probate management. We can confidently promise that any applications and administration we carry out on your behalf will be done with the utmost care, whilst keeping time, costs, and risks to a minimum.

Contact us today for probate services

We know that bereavement is a sensitive subject, which is why GBAC is fully trained and authorised to provide the support you need during such a difficult time. We’re here to help you find the best route forward and take care of the bureaucracy so you can focus on what matters: your loved ones.

For our existing clients, we have extensive knowledge of their finances and assets that can greatly help family members after a bereavement. Whether we have a strong relationship with your family already or you’re completely new to GBAC, we’ll welcome you warmly and offer mindful guidance.

Allow us to help you make the probate process as stress-free as it can be for you and your relatives during this trying time. For more information on how we can assist you, please call our team on 01226 298 298, or write us an email at info@gbac.co.uk and we’ll be in touch to discuss your needs.

GBAC Estate and Probate Services Limited are authorised and regulated by CILEx Regulation to provide probate legal services. If we carry out both: probate or letters of administration work, and estate administration work, we are authorised and regulated by CILEx Regulation for the probate work alone. The estate administration work is carried out by our accounting arm, GBAC Limited which is authorised and regulated by ACCA. You can talk to us if you need more information about this. Our Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) covers all work that we provide. This insurance ensures that you do not lose out financially in the unlikely event that the firm makes a mistake.

If, at any time, you would like to make suggestions for improvements to our services, please contact GBAC to let us know. Details on how to do so can be found in our Complaints Handling Procedure.

Probate Services FAQs

When someone dies, they may leave property and possessions behind, such as money or a house. This is known as their estate, and an authorised person will have to sort out what happens to it.

If the deceased left a Will and named an executor, that person must apply for grant of probate to administer the estate. When there is no Will, the deceased's next of kin should apply for a grant of letters of administration. If granted, this person will have the legal authority to manage the estate.

The term probate is generally used in reference to this application process and the legal document that comes out of it. It can be called confirmation in Scotland, where there may be different rules.

Probate isn't a requirement after every death. For example, if the deceased had very few or low-value assets, there shouldn't be any complications with distributing them. In the case of jointly-owned assets, which usually pass to the deceased's spouse, they won't have to apply for probate.

However, there may not be a valid Will specifying the distribution of the deceased's assets, or the estate can be complicated. It may be helpful to appoint a professional probate adviser if the estate:

  • Is insolvent (bankrupt)
  • Has assets held in Trust
  • Includes a business or overseas property
  • Includes high-value gifts for children or dependants
  • Has a total value exceeding the Inheritance Tax threshold

The larger the estate, and the greater the number of beneficiaries or creditors involved, the more likely it is that you'll need the assistance of a probate specialist. A probate accountant can assist executors and advise them on appropriate administration of the estate, including tax management.

The formalities of handling all the paperwork, paying off debts, and distributing assets can be a lot of responsibility and pressure for someone already dealing with their grief over the loss of a loved one. Estate administration providers like GBAC can help, tailoring our probate services to your situation.

If a person dies and leaves a valid Will, this document should name their preferred executor (or multiple executors) of their estate. It's the responsibility of the appointed executor to apply for grant of probate. In most cases, the deceased's Will appoints a family member or close friend.

The Will may also nominate a legal professional as the executor of the estate. If an appointed relative or friend declines to administer the Will themselves, another beneficiary must take on the role, or the named executor should hire a probate accountant to manage the estate administration.

If there is no Will, or the Will does not appoint an executor, then close family can apply for grant of probate to be an administrator. If probate is needed but nobody applies for it, the estate cannot be accessed and assets cannot be distributed to beneficiaries, leaving everything essentially in limbo.

The deceased's next of kin, such as their spouse or a child over 18, is normally expected to apply for probate in the absence of a Will. Dying without a Will is known as being intestate, in which case the intestacy rules of inheritance will apply which do not provide for some unregistered relationships.

When there are complicated claims to the estate, it's best to get professional guidance to complete the probate administration to the letter. Not everyone has the time, energy, or ability to manage the probate process alone but GBAC probate services are here to provide professional support.

The executor (in the case of a Will) or administrator (in the case of no Will) is a representative of the estate, and is therefore liable for its management and distribution. This includes organising assets, paying off debts, and allocating inheritances to beneficiaries in line with the Will or intestacy laws. An executor/administrator is not liable for repaying the deceased's debts from their own finances.

Being an executor or administrator of an estate is an important duty. It's essential that all claims to the estate are identified and settled before payments are made to beneficiaries. If the administrator isn't scrupulous in their evaluation and distribution of the estate, they could be held personally liable for any outstanding debts or claims that might be revealed later, up to the total value of the estate.

This kind of liability is usually only an issue if the estate is insolvent - meaning there aren't sufficient funds to repay the deceased's outstanding debts in full. In these situations, there are legal rules to follow regarding which creditors must be paid in which order, and the executor/administrator could be held personally liable for a creditor's financial losses if they fail to comply with these regulations.

To prevent claims of maladministration, it's crucial to keep careful records of all activity relating to the estate, including details of who is responsible for specific actions. When there are multiple joint executors or administrators, they are collectively responsible for any activity regarding the estate, even if only one of them made a decision individually - which can complicate things even further.

If you're worried about personal liability and aren't comfortable administering an estate yourself, you can appoint a professional estate administrator to help you fulfil your duties in line with the law. You'll have the reassurance that an expert is overseeing every step, ensuring that nothing is overlooked and helping you to keep records that can support you against potential liability claims.

Key features of Administering an Estate:

  • Review paperwork including death certificate and will
  • Notify relevant institutions of the death
  • Obtain a valuation of the estate’s assets and liabilities
  • Advise re finding lost assets
  • Place newspaper notices
  • Complete the necessary paperwork for the grant including the oath
  • Receive the grant of probate
  • Calculate and process the estate tax
  • Collect the assets
  • Pay any debts and liabilities of the estate
  • Pay legacies to Beneficiaries
  • Distribute the residual estate

Disbursements paid to third parties may include:

  • Probate application fee of
  • London Gazette and local paper adverts to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
  • Unclaimed Asset Register search

On average, for simple cases we will try and conclude the estate administration within 3 - 12 months of being instructed:

  • We allow 3-4 months for obtaining the Grant of Representation from the point we are instructed.
  • Collecting assets then follows, which can take a further 3–4 months.
  • Once this has been done, distribution of the assets normally takes a further 3-4 months.
  • The above time estimates are for guidance only and vary depending upon the work involved.
  • Large and/or more complex estates will take longer to conclude as there will likely be Inheritance tax issues which will require us to liaise with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC can take up to 6 months to finalise their own position on an estate, and this increases the time it will take for us to conclude the estate administration.
  • Where there are one or more properties in an estate that need to be sold, there might be a delay if a buyer is not found quickly