Probate and Estate Administration Solicitors

When an individual passes away, putting their will into effect (if they made one) and carrying out their final wishes can be extremely stressful for everyone involved. However, the right legal support can take some of the weight off your shoulders. Our team of expert probate solicitors are specially trained to help individuals obtain probate and administer their loved one’s estate.

Usually if the deceased person leaves a will, a friend or family member will have been named as the desired executor. This gives them the legal right to apply for a grant of probate which then allows them to carry out the wishes left behind by the deceased person in their will. This can include distribution of inheritance, organisation of a funeral, settling any debts or tax payments outstanding and death registration. Where the deceased did not leave a will, their estate must still be dealt with but the process is slightly different.

Our probate solicitors understand what you are going through. We want to provide as much support as you need to carry out your required tasks. We can assist you with obtaining the rights to the probate of the deceased, and support you in moving forward to ensure their wishes are met accurately and in a timely fashion.

Working alongside you, we can:

  • Advise you on whether a grant of probate is required;
  • Complete and lodge the application on your behalf;
  • Deal with any queries that are raised by the Probate Registry;
  • Lodge a notice preventing a grant of probate being issued until any disagreements have been resolved;
  • Ensure any inheritance tax is paid or deferred;
  • Help administer your loved one’s estate after the grant has been made to ensure all liabilities are settled and everyone receives their inheritance; and
  • Advise on circumstances where it might be appropriate to vary the will or the rules of intestacy to make provision for other relatives or to save tax.

Advising families throughout Kent and beyond

For sympathetic, practical probate advice, give us a call at your local office. We have offices in Chatham, Maidstone, Tonbridge, Gravesend and Tenterden where we can meet you to discuss your requirements.

We can also offer meetings at your home, in hospital or in a care facility, and in exceptional circumstances a telephone appointment can be arranged via skype.


An initial appointment to discuss your requirements can be arranged from £150 plus VAT.  After that we can agree funding arrangements to suit your budget. 

Frequently asked questions about probate and estate administration

What is probate?

Probate is the process of sorting out someone’s estate (their money, property and obligations) after they die. It involves:

  • Applying for a grant of representation (a grant of probate is there is a will or a grant of letters of administration if there is no will)
  • Gathering information about the deceased’s finances and debts and working out the value of the estate
  • Handling inheritance tax and filing the tax return with HMRC
  • Distributing the inheritance to the beneficiaries

Who handles probate?

If the deceased person left a will, they will have likely appointed up to four people to take on the estate administration – these people are called executors.

If the deceased person did not leave a will, their close relatives are entitled to apply to become an administrator. The job of the administrator is the same as an executor except they follow the rules of intestacy rather than a will document when administering the estate.

How do you obtain a grant of probate?

Your solicitor will apply for the grant on your behalf. Probate applications should be sent to your local probate registry along with the application fee (unless the estate is under £5,000 in which case there is no fee).

Prior to applying for probate you need to work out the value of the estate and whether there will be any inheritance tax. If there is any tax to pay, you may have to pay this before applying for probate but you can claim this back from the deceased person’s estate.

What happens if someone dies without leaving a will?

This is called ‘dying intestate’. If someone dies intestate their estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy rather than a will.

Under the rules of intestacy, only certain people are entitled to inherit or to apply to administer the estate. These people are close relatives of the deceased such as their spouse, civil partner, natural children and adopted children  – unmarried partners, step children and friends are not allowed to handle the estate or inherit.

If someone does not inherit because the deceased died intestate, they may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Who inherits if there is no will?

The rules of intestacy set out a list of people who can inherit if there is no will.

The spouse or civil partner of the deceased will always inherit (although unmarried partners cannot inherit). If the deceased also has children, they will inherit if the estate is worth over £270,000.

If the deceased has no spouse or civil partner, their children will inherit everything equally. Adopted children can inherit but step children and foster children cannot. Grandchildren and great grandchildren may be able to inherit if their parents died before the intestate deceased person.

If the deceased has no spouse, civil partner or children, the estate is inherited by other relatives, such as parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

How long does probate take?

It depends on your individual circumstances. For example, a straightforward matter where the deceased person left instructions about their wishes will not take as long to sort out as a complex matter where the deceased person died intestate and there is a family dispute over inheritance.

Obtaining probate alone will usually take at least four weeks (although at the moment, due to a backlog and the coronavirus pandemic, probate applications are taking around 12-16 weeks to process).

The estate administration process can then carry on for around 9-12 months. Where there is a dispute, the process can take even longer.

Do you always have to go through probate?

You may not need to go through probate if the deceased only had a small estate, their estate is only made up of jointly owned property, or is only made up of cash. However, you should always consult a probate solicitor to check whether probate is needed.

Why instruct a probate solicitor?

The probate process can be complex and, particularly at a time when you are grieving, it is common for people to make errors or misunderstand aspects of the law. Errors put the estate at risk of being challenged and legal challenges can quickly become lengthy, expensive and stressful for everyone involved.

A probate solicitor can take on the hard work for you and provide expert guidance, reducing the risk of any challenge and ensuring the process is executed according to your loved one’s wishes.

Get in touch with our expert probate solicitors in Chatham, Kent

For sympathetic, practical probate advice, give us a call at your local office. We have offices in Chatham, Maidstone, Tonbridge, Gravesend and Tenterden where we can meet you to discuss your requirements.

We can also offer meetings at your home, in hospital or in a care facility, and in exceptional circumstances a telephone appointment can be arranged via skype.

For further information please Contact Us or call to speak to one of our experts on 01634 811444.