Estate and probate

Probate is the process of dealing with a deceased individual’s estate, in order to ensure that their property, money and possessions are distributed in accordance with their wishes.

The probate process requires individuals to gather a variety of information relating to the deceased person’s assets.

In addition to keeping various records and accounts, you may also need to correspond with beneficiaries and financial institutions.

At a time of bereavement, Coates and Partners Limited can advise you on what to do when somebody dies. We will deal sympathetically with the administration of the estate, and relieve you of the worry and responsibility of:

  • Obtaining probate valuations
  • Preparing HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) accounts
  • Applying for probate
  • Settling the debts of the deceased
  • Paying legacies/transferring property
  • Preparing estate accounts.

The advisers here at Coates and Partners Limited will help you to effectively handle probate issues in an efficient and discreet manner.

Time and fees

The time taken to undertake the work necessary to take care of an estate will vary significantly depending on a number of factors. It is not possible to provide a general price for the work. However, we do not charge based on a percentage of an estate but instead on the complexity of the work and time taken to resolve issues. We charge on a time basis. We will provide you with an estimate for the work.

For an idea of the scope of work that we undertake and the possible costs please see our case studies below.

It is also difficult to provide a general timeline for probate services as there are many things that can affect the process. What we seek to do is work with the executors and keep them informed of progress on a regular basis so that they know where we are with a case. As a basic guide:

  • It may take two to four months to identify and value assets/liabilities and prepare the Inheritance Tax forms and apply for probate.
  • Selling assets and collecting in money may take one to six months depending on the market for those assets.
  • Settling tax liabilities, preparing estate accounts and making final payments to beneficiaries may take two months.

At the outset we will provide an estimate of fees keep you appraised as the case progresses. If we identify anything that is likely to significantly alter the fee we will bring this to your attention as soon as possible.

Case Studies

Case Study 1
Obtaining a grant of probate (easily identifiable low value assets).

  • We have worked with executors where there is a simple will and assets are well understood and easy to value.
  • These assets were not subject to Inheritance Tax.
  • Valuations were easily obtained and there were no complicating factors.
  • The relevant Inheritance Tax form was completed (IHT205) and a probate application made on behalf of the executors.
  • The executors dealt with the administration of the estate.
  • Total fees between £2,000 and £3,000 (including VAT).

Case Study 2
Calculating Inheritance Tax and obtaining a grant of probate (high value assets, easily identifiable, simple will)

  • We have undertaken assignments where the estate has Inheritance tax to pay but has well understood assets.
  • There may be one or few beneficiaries.
  • Valuations have been reasonably easy to obtain and there were no complicating factors.
  • The relevant Inheritance Tax forms have been prepared (IHT400) and a probate application made on behalf of the executors.
  • The executors dealt with the administration of the estate although some hand-holding was required.
  • Total fees between £3,500 and £6,500 (including VAT).

Case Study 3
Acting on behalf of executors

  • For some estates we have been asked to undertake the full process of:
  • Identifying assets, valuing the estate & calculating Inheritance Tax
  • Applying for probate
  • Collecting in assets and distributing assets to beneficiaries
  • Accounting for estate and completing the necessary returns
  • Total fees between £10,000 and £15,000 (including VAT)

Case Study 4
Acting on behalf of executors (complex estate)

  • Identifying and seeking valuations of assets.
  • Dealing with high value assets including agricultural property.
  • Dealing with complicated business assets.
  • Assisting with the administration of the estate.
  • Accounting for the estate and completing the necessary trust tax returns.
  • Total fees between £20,000 and £35,000 (including VAT).


Probate Application Fees are £155. There is a small additional charge for extra copies of the Grant of Probate.

Bankruptcy search – £5 per beneficiary

Notification in The London Gazette and a local newspaper of the individuals death to protect against claims from unknown creditors – £300 to £500.

Additional information

Licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.

Details of our probate accreditation can be viewed at under reference number C001255575.

The results of our diversity survey can be viewed here.

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 Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been aware of the loss. Further information about the scheme, and the circumstances in which grants may be made, is available on ICAEW’s website:


If you would like to talk to us about how we can improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Mrs Karen McKenzie. We will consider carefully any complaint that you may make about our probate services as soon as we receive it and will do all we can to resolve the issue. We will acknowledge your complaint within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within 8 weeks. Any complaint should be submitted to us by letter. If we do not deal with it within this timescale or you are unhappy with our response you may of course take the matter up with our professional body the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Legal Ombudsman.

Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within six years of the act or omission or within three years of you becoming aware of the issue and in either case within six months of our written response to your complaint to us.

The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:

Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 15870, Birmingham, B30 9EB, email - or telephone 0300 555 0333.