Probate & Estate Administration

Anyone having to cope with a death in the family and the grief of losing a loved also has the burden of sorting out personal and financial paperwork that it inevitably involves.  At Challenor Gardiner, our probate team are here to relieve you of stress and worry it inevitably brings allowing you the time and space to be with you family at this difficult time.

We can advise and assist you with the estate administration – providing advice to executors and beneficiaries-  and on all aspects of an estate, helping you with complex issues if they arise and offering guidance on the beneficial entitlements.

We will obtain valuations of the estates assets and liabilities, prepare the necessary Inheritance Tax return for HMRC and arrange for payment of any IHT due and complete an application for a grant of probate, if there’s a will, or a grant of Letters of Administration if there is no will.

We also advise on trust matters acting as trustees or for trustees on the administration of trusts and winding up of trusts.

We advise personal representatives if there is no will and the deceased died intestate and on the entitlement to a grant of letters of administration and beneficial entitlements.

We can also advise you whether a will can be varied post death to redirect gifts and how to reduce the Inheritance Tax payable on an estate.

We can advise if there is a challenge to the validity of a will or a claim against an estate for reasonable financial provision to be made to them from the estate, for example from a former spouse or a child of the deceased.

We will prepare full estate accounts prior to distribution of the estate, pay any income tax due and claim any reliefs and Inheritance Tax relief on sale of assets below probate valuation.

On average, straight forward estates are dealt with within 12 months. Typically, we should be in a position to apply for a grant within 12 weeks of instructions being received and to obtain the grant of probate takes a further 8 to 12 weeks. Collecting in the assets, paying any debts and legacies can take between 8 to 12 weeks and once all assets are in all payments made HMRC will be asked for a Clearance Certificate confirming that no further IHT is payable and we can then proceed to distribute the estate in accordance with the will or the intestacy rules to the next of kin.

Probate and Estate Administration Fees

Our fees for probate work depends on a number of factors and are charged out based on one of the following bases, which we will discuss with you:

  • Our fee earners’ hourly rates (which includes an uplift on our expense rate),
  • Our hourly expense rate plus a value element, or
  • A fixed fee, depending on the complexity of the administration.

Once we have been able to make an assessment of the estate papers and what is involved in the estate we will discuss with you how we propose to charge for the administration and our anticipated fees.

Charging Probate Business

As far the costs of the administration are concerned, our fees are calculated mainly based on the amount of time spent on the administration. We take account of all the circumstances and in particular the following:

  • the complexity and any anticipated difficulties during the administration
  • the skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved
  • the time spent on the administration
  • the amount and importance of the documents prepared or considered
  • the amount or value of any money or property involved
  • whether any land involved is registered land or unregistered
  • the importance of the matter to you

Time taken and value of the estate are two of the main factors which determine the level of our charges and where we are acting as executor of the estate the value element of our charge is increased due to the added personal responsibility undertaken. A typical estate administration will cost on average £3,500 plus VAT and disbursements. The more straightforward the will and the fewer the assets the less our fee will be and, conversely the more complex the estate is, the greater the assets are the more our fees will be, but we will give you an estimate or quote once that information becomes available.

VAT is charged on our fees at 20%.


In addition to the fees we charge, there will be disbursements payable to third parties, such as court fees. We pay all the disbursements required, which include the following:

  • Probate court fee of £155, plus £0.50 for each office copy of the grant
  • Bankruptcy only searches with Land Charges Department at £1 per beneficiary
  • £101.52 inclusive of VAT statutory advertisement in the London Gazette – this protects the personal representatives against unexpected claims or unknown creditors; and
  • £250 (approx.) inclusive of VAT for a statutory advertisement in a local newspaper