Wills and Probate

Last Will

A Last Will is a legal document which lets you decide what happens to assets you own i.e. your money, property and possessions after your death. You must have capacity in order to make a valid Last Will. At SSP solicitors we can professionally prepare your Last Will so that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes.

If you die without a Last Will then the law will dictate who is entitled to your assets. Your assets will be distributed in accordance with the Laws of Intestacy. If you want to update your Last Will, you need to make an official alteration (called a Codicil) or make a new Last Will.

When making a Last Will, you will need to appoint an executor. This is the person/are the people you choose who will administer your estate when you are gone.

Your Last Will should name beneficiaries (i.e a person who is entitled to inherit under your Last Will). These are a person or person’s chosen by you.

You can write your Last Will yourself, but you should get legal advice to make sure your Last Will is interpreted in the way you wanted.

You do not need a solicitor to make a Last Will however, Will writers are not regulated and may not be insured which means that if anything does go wrong you may be left with very little protection. This may leave your loved ones having to deal with problems as a result of any negligence or inability to deal with matters relating to your Last Will effectively.

Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and fully insured which protects consumers.

You need to get your Last Will formally witnessed and signed to make it legally valid.

What is Probate/Letters of Administration?

A grant of probate is a legal document that’s sometimes needed to access bank accounts, sell assets and settle debts after someone has died.

This document is only called a grant of probate if the person left a will. If they didn’t leave a will, a grant of letters of administration is used instead. Both documents work in much the same way, giving a named person legal authority to deal with the estate of the person who died.

When probate has been granted through a grant of probate or letters of administration the next of kin or executor can start to deal with the deceased person’s assets. If there was a will, this will set out how the assets should be distributed. If the person died without a will the law determines who should receive everything.

 How long does probate take?

This process involves the valuing the estates assets, taking from this any debt amounts and then notifying the probate registry the remaining value of the estate. The length of time involved largely depends on what is in the estate. For example, if there is a house, it depends on housing market and how quickly it will sell in that market. If there are only bank accounts, obtaining a grant could take approximately 2 months. It will be longer if there are shares involved. If inheritance tax needs to be paid, the value of assets will need to be agreed with inland revenue which could again take time. Ultimately the time taken depends on the types of assets/ components there are in an estate.

Please note that every estate is different and can take a different length of time to administer depending on its complexity. There is a general expectation that an executor or administrator should try to complete the estate administration within a year of the death, and this is referred to as the executor’s year. There are numerous reasons why an estate may take longer than a year to administer though, including complex Inheritance Tax situations, lengthy property sales or missing beneficiaries.

How much does Probate cost?

Our fixed or estimated costs for probate are based on a matter having standard features. The price will therefore vary. If your matter contains complex property, family relationships or risks the price may change or we may give you an alternative fee quote based on hourly rates. To get a specific quote for your matter, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will let you know your options for you to decide. We believe in transparency and therefore there will be no hidden costs.

Grant of probate/grant of letters of administration only where no Inheritance Tax is payable – £1,500 plus third party costs (disbursements) and VAT (current rate is 20%)

After we have obtained the grant from the executors/ administrators, they can then deal with the administration of the estate.

If inheritance tax or if any other tax matter arises, we will agree a fee with you that is based on an hourly or fixed/ estimated rate.

The key stages for obtaining a grant and services included in our price:

 1. Value the Estate

Determine the total value of the deceased’s assets and debts. This involves gathering information on all bank accounts, properties, investments, and outstanding liabilities.

2. Apply for the Grant

Complete the Probate Application

Complete the Inheritance Tax Form: Fill out the relevant Inheritance Tax form

3. Submit the Application

Send the completed probate application and inheritance tax form to the Probate Registry. This submission should include the original will (if one exists) and the death certificate.

4. Pay any Inheritance Tax

If the estate owes inheritance tax, some or all of it must be paid before the grant is issued. The exact amount depends on the estate’s value and any applicable exemptions or reliefs.

5. Attend an Interview

In some cases, you may be required to attend an interview at the Probate Registry or with a solicitor to confirm the details of the application.

6. Receive the Grant

Once the application is processed and approved, you’ll receive the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration). This document gives you the legal authority to manage and distribute the deceased’s estate.

7. Administer the Estate

With the grant, you can now access the deceased’s assets, settle any debts, and distribute the estate according to the will or the rules of intestacy.

This process can take several weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the estate and the current workload of the Probate Registry.

 NOTE: Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in the price quoted above


Dealing with entire estate (obtaining grant, collecting in assets, and distributing to beneficiaries) – 2% of the gross value of the estate plus third party costs and VAT (current rate is 20%). Our minimum charge for this type of matter is £3,000 plus VAT (current rate is 20%)

The key stages for obtaining a grant and administering the estate and services included in our price:

  1. Valuation and Documentation:
    • Determine the estate’s total value by gathering details on all assets (property, bank accounts, investments) and liabilities (debts, loans).
    • Complete the necessary probate application form and the relevant inheritance tax form, and submit these to HMRC, regardless of the tax due.
  2. Application and Taxation:
    • Submit the probate application to the Probate Registry, including supporting documents like the original will and the deceased’s death certificate.
    • Pay any inheritance tax that may be due, potentially in advance of receiving the grant.
  3. Grant Issuance:
    • Upon processing, receive the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration if no will is present), which authorizes you to proceed with estate administration.
  4. Estate Administration:
    • Gather the deceased’s assets using the grant, and address any property sales or transfers.
    • Settle all outstanding debts, including bills, taxes, and funeral expenses.
    • Prepare detailed estate accounts, documenting all financial transactions, asset distributions, and beneficiary information.
    • Distribute the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries according to the will or the rules of intestacy if there’s no will.
    • Finalize the estate by closing accounts and notifying relevant parties that the estate has been fully administered and closed.

NOTE: Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in the price quoted above

Third party costs (Disbursements)

  • Probate Court fee of £273
  • £1.50 for each office copy of the grant required (1 per asset usually)
  • £3.00 for each HM Land Registry official copy entry
  • £2 for each bankruptcy search
  • £13.50 for each electronic ID search
  • HM Land Registry registration fees based on scales and the value and status of the property – between £30 and £200.
  • A post in The London Gazette maybe required. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. The fees will vary depending on the type of notice is required

Other third party costs will be advised as required, e.g. accountant’s fee for potential income tax return, statutory advertisement fee to advertise for unknown creditors, asset tracing fee

What qualifications does our team hold?

Satpal Singh was admitted as solicitor in April 2013 and has been principal solicitor at SSP Solicitors since 2015. Satpal has over 15 years of experience in all estate administration work and therefore possesses the expertise to guide you through the processes of obtaining a grant or administering an estate, ensuring a seamless and supportive experience.

Should you require additional insights into how we can expertly assist you, please feel free to contact us.