Probate and Bereavement


Administering a deceased person’s estate can be complicated, emotional and stressful.

At Ellisons, we can provide you with the assistance you require to get through this difficult time and provide you with the advice you need.

Lead Contacts

Nicola Weldon

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Private Client

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Michelle Lamm

Michelle Lamm

Partner, Chartered Legal Executive

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What is Probate / Letters of Administration

When a loved one has died, their assets will need to be distributed in accordance with their Will, or the Statutory Rules if there is no valid Will. A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is a document that is provided by the Probate Registry which enables the Executor or Administrator to administer the Estate.

It is necessary to establish the value of the Estate for Inheritance Tax and Probate purposes before completing the appropriate Inheritance Tax return for HMRC. In more complicated cases or when inheritance tax is due, a form named IHT400 will need to be completed and sent to HMRC before you are able to apply for the grant from the Probate Registry. In most cases where inheritance tax is not due, form IHT205 will need to be completed and sent to the Probate Registry in order to apply for the Grant.

The assets will need to be collected in or transferred and the liabilities paid. The Executor will also need to see if any other tax is due i.e. capital gains tax or income tax. The Estate will then need to be distributed to the beneficiaries.

Pitfalls of “do it yourself” Probate

The Executor/ Administrator is personally responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate and carrying out their wishes in accordance with the Will or the Statutory Law if there is no valid Will.  If the administration is not carried out in accordance with the law, personal liability falls to the Executors/ Administrators.  Some of the risks are as follows: –

  • Dealing with HMRC – ensuring all tax is due
  • Understanding the financial penalties if something goes wrong- Executors will be personally liable for mistakes made or acts they have omitted to undertake to both HMRC and the beneficiaries
  • Understanding the legal jargon – the Will is likely to contain terminology that you are unfamiliar with
  • Are there any trusts involved?

Ignorance is not a defence for an Executor or Administrator who gets something wrong.  To ensure the whole process is dealt with correctly please contact our Private Client team.

How we can help


Our team at Ellisons has a wealth of experience and aims to provide the best possible service in a rapidly expanding and competitive market. We have dealt with a variety of estates and can help with any stage of the estate administration including either obtaining the Grant only, completing the inheritance tax forms or we are can take the stress away and deal with the whole process and provide as much support to the Executors as they require.



Get in touch

If you have any enquiries please contact any one of our specialist team who would be pleased to advise you on your options. You can also contact your lawyer individually from ‘Our People’ using the link below.

Our People

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