JS. Wills, Trusts & Probate

Probate & Estate Administration

Administering the estate of a loved one can be a stressful and emotional time and the added burden of handling their legal and financial affairs can be daunting, as well as potentially giving rise to many issues which would benefit from professional knowledge and expertise.

Here to help you through the process, acting quickly and effectively to support you every step of the way.

Probate is the process of administering someone’s estate, property, money, and possessions after they have died. This can be a time-consuming and difficult process and families often look to appoint a professional firm to assist them.

We are licensed to provide non-contentious probate services by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

We pride ourselves on our close working relationships with our clients and the service that we provide sets us apart from our competitors.

For our existing clients, we may have already provided Inheritance Tax planning during their lifetime or drafted the person’s Will, giving us a detailed knowledge of their financial affairs and the makeup of their estate. This puts us in an excellent position when it comes to obtaining probate and carrying out their final wishes. It is also likely to lead to cost savings against appointing a separate firm to undertake this work.

Furthermore, we find that for their beneficiaries it is reassuring to have somebody dealing with the estate who knew and worked with their loved one, sometimes over many years, who understands the family dynamics and, most importantly, who they trust.

For beneficiaries of estates working with us for the first time, the probate process can act as the first step on a financial journey which in turn sees them and their families benefit from our advice in relation to their inheritance and their wider affairs well into the future.

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How does the process work?

All relevant Government departments, banks, and financial institutions need to be made aware of the death, so the assets can be frozen and protected. Importantly, to protect any property, insurers need to be informed and chattels need to be secured.

Utility companies, pension providers, and phone providers need to be informed. Passports and driving licences will also need to be cancelled.

We will establish values for the assets of the estate including all property, savings, and possessions, taking into account any debts that need to be paid.

Any gifts made within the seven years before death will need to be established and accounted for.

We will ensure that all appropriate reliefs and exemptions are claimed and advise of any opportunities for beneficial post-death variations.

We will calculate the amount of any Inheritance Tax payable and ensure the correct forms and payments are sent to HMRC on time.

If a valid Will is in place, the executors will apply for a Grant of Probate.

Where the deceased left no Will (they died ‘intestate’), or the executors named in the Will cannot or do not wish to apply, the next of kin must apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration.

Our probate experts will be able to guide you through either process.

Where appropriate, the assets of the estate are liquidated and turned into cash.

All debts and expenses of the estate are then paid, including any Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax owed to HMRC.

The executors can choose to open an executors’ bank account for this purpose or use our client account to pay in funds.

A final net amount is calculated on preparation of the estate accounts and agreed upon by the executors.

Specific legacies are paid, before dividing the remaining value in accordance with the Will, either by payment of money or transfer of assets in kind.

Where the deceased did not leave a Will, the assets are divided up between specific relatives in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

What does the work entail?

The amount of work involved will depend on the assets owned by the person who has passed away and the terms of their Will. Our service can be tailored to meet your needs, which include:

  • Sending a notification of death to the relevant Government departments
  • Finalising the Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax position of the person who has died
  • Ensuring the validity of the Will and codicils, if any, and the various legacies
  • Considering opportunities for post-death variations, commonly effected via a Deed of Variation
  • Identifing the person’s assets and liabilities
  • Notifing and obtain confirmation of the value of assets/amount outstanding from asset holders/creditors, or value assets as necessary
  • Preparing the Inheritance Tax return and calculate the amount of tax due
  • Preparing the application to obtain the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
  • Collecting all the assets of the estate, which may involve selling them, transferring title to the personal representatives, or physically securing them
  • Settling any debts that need to be paid
  • Placing statutory notices in The Gazette and local newspapers to allow potential creditors and/or beneficiaries to come forward
  • Agreeing the amount of Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax payable by the estate preparing Tax Returns as necessary
  • Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries of the Will or those entitled under the intestacy rules
  • Preparing the estate accounts for approval by the personal representatives
  • Providing ongoing Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, and Capital Gains Tax planning advice

One of our probate professionals will discuss your needs with you so that we can provide you with a quote for our services.

Useful information

How our work is priced

The time taken to undertake the work necessary will vary significantly, depending on a number of factors. As such, it is not possible to provide a general price for this type of work. However, our fees are based on the complexity of the work and the time which it is necessary for us to spend, rather than on the value of the estate in question.

We can either agree and work to a fixed fee or charge on a time basis. If the latter, we will provide you with an estimate upfront before we start our work and keep you updated as things progress. Should we identify anything that is likely to significantly alter the fee for the work, we will bring this to your attention as soon as possible.

For an idea of the scope of work involved, based on various different scenarios, and the potential costs associated, please see our case studies below.


Scope of Services

Case Study

Case Study 1

Case Study 2

Case Study 3

Case Study 4

Obtain values of the estate’s assets and liabilities from the PRs (where available)

Review the Will and codicils (if any)

Apply to Probate Registry for Grant of Representation

Receive Grant of Representation

Complete and submit form IHT400 and supplementary pages


Calculate the amount of Inheritance Tax due and arrange for payment to HMRC


Place statutory notices and advertise for creditors in local newspaper



Pay all known debts and liabilities of estate



Notify Government departments, asset holders and creditors of the death



Obtain valuations/balances for all assets and liabilities as at the date of death



Provide advice on locating lost assets



Pay legacies



Finalise the deceased’s Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax affairs to date of death



Finalise the Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax position of the estate



Prepare estate accounts



Distribute the residuary estate



Tracing missing Will(s), executors, beneficiaries and/or creditors




Ascertain the extent of the deceased’s assets and liabilities




Commission/undertake professional valuations




Advise as to beneficial claims and/or variations pre or post Grant




PRs = Personal Representatives, that is the Executors of a Will or those applying to be Administrators of the estate on intestacy or otherwise.

Additional Costs Menu

We charge for the following items in addition to our hourly rates of charge or the cost of our fixed price packages:



Probate application fee


Additional copy Grants of Representation


Section 27 Statutory Notice


Local newspaper notice


HM Land Registry – copy documents (per document)           


*rates quoted exclude VAT
** most documents

Hourly rates of charge

Our current hourly rates of charge are as follows:

Staff Level 

Hourly Rate*





Senior Manager






*rates quoted exclude VAT

Regulatory Information

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

Details of our probate accreditation can be viewed at www.icaew.com/probate under reference number C001037870.

If, for any reason, we are unable to run our practice, we have made arrangements for the completion of any unfinished probate or estate administration work for our clients.

View the results of our diversity survey

ICAEW Logo, ICAEW accredited JS

ICAEW Probate Compensation Scheme

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 became aware, or reasonably ought to have become aware, of the loss. Our professional indemnity insurance (PII) complies with the ICAEW’s PII regulations having a minimum level of indemnity of £500,000 per claim.

Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website, www.icaew.com/probate.

JS Complaints Procedure

We always look to provide our clients with a high level of service but 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 office managing partner Lucy Williams. For more information about our full complaints procedure and how to get in touch, click here.

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