Our Services

Probate and Estate Administration Solicitors

Sensitive, clear guidance for every stage of probate and estate administration

When a person dies, someone has to deal with their affairs. This is called 'administering the estate'. Dealing with the estate of someone who has passed away can be a daunting prospect, so it is usually a good idea to seek specialist legal support from an experienced probate lawyer.

David W Harris & Co offers friendly, supportive service for all aspects of probate and estate administration in South Wales. With decades of combined experience, we can assist you with any part of the process, including handling the entire estate administration for you.

Our estate administration and probate lawyers in Swansea, Pontypridd and Talbot Green can help with matters including:

  • Obtaining grant of probate
  • Collecting the estate assets
  • Valuing the estate assets
  • Paying any liabilities owed by the estate
  • Paying Inheritance Tax
  • Distributing bequests
  • Preparing estate accounts

As we have probate and estate planning experts at each of our local offices in Pontypridd, Swansea and Talbot Green, we can offer a truly local, convenient service for our clients.

Our probate lawyers regularly deal with estates of all levels, from those worth a few thousand pounds to those with assets valued in the millions.

We know how difficult it can be to deal with something as complex as the administration of an estate at an already challenging time. Our team are ready to step in and provide as much support as you need to make sure you can carry out your role effectively while keeping the strain on you to a minimum.

Discuss your requirements with our probate and estate administration solicitors in Swansea, Pontypridd and Talbot Green

We offer a free first consultation to answer your questions and help you decide whether we are the right people to assist you.

Please use our simple online enquiry form to book a free initial chat with one of our probate and estate administration lawyers. We respond promptly to all enquiries.

Common questions about probate and estate administration

What happens If the person has left a Will?

If the person has left a will, the Will usually names one or more people to act as the Executors of the Will - that is, the people to administer the Estate. If you are named as an Executor of a Will, you may need to apply for a Grant of Probate.

The Grant of Probate is the official document that Executors may need to administer the Estate. It is issued by the Probate Registry.

What happens if there is no Will?

If there is no Will (this means a person has died “intestate”), the process is more complicated. The Administration of Estates Act 1925 sets out who can act as administrator - that is, who has the legal right to deal with the affairs of the person who has died. The administrator is usually a close relative of the person who has died if there is such a relative. There can be more than one person with an equal right to deal with the Estate.

Anyone who has this right can apply to the Probate Registry for what is known as a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is the official document that allows Administrators to administer the Estate.

Where the person who is to benefit from the Estate is a child, the law requires that more than one person must act as administrator.

When is a Grant of Representation needed?

A Grant of Representation is not always needed. For example, if the person who died has left less than £5000 in total or owned everything jointly with someone else, a Grant may be unnecessary.

In other cases, some financial organisations, such as banks, may agree to pay funds to a Personal Representative without a Grant of Representation. This is commonly known as the Small Estate’s procedure. It is always worth asking as this may achieve a saving in costs.

A Grant of Representation will normally be needed when the person who has died left:

  • more than £5000; 
  • stocks or shares; 
  • a house or land; or 
  • certain insurance policies.

How do you get a Grant of Representation?

We at David W Harris can assist you by applying for the Grant of Representation on your behalf. Our staff will be more than happy to give you a costs estimate for the work involved.

What are the responsibilities of Personal Representatives?

Personal Representatives are responsible for making sure that the Estate is administered correctly. Where a Will has been left, the Personal Representative must make sure that the wishes of the person who has died are followed. If there is no Will, the Personal Representative must follow the rules of intestacy as set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925. We at David W Harris can, if necessary, explain the rules to you.

Who pays the Inheritance Tax on an estate?

Personal Representatives are also responsible for finding out if Inheritance Tax is due as a result of a person's death. If this tax is payable, the Personal Representative has to make sure that it is paid.

The liability to pay Inheritance Tax will depend on the following:

  • The value of the property and belongings of the deceased at the date they died; /li>
  • The value of any gifts which they gave before dying and who the gifts were given to;
  • The value of certain Trusts from which the dead person benefits; or
  • Which people benefit under the Will or under the rules of intestacy (known as the beneficiaries).

Our staff at David W Harris can advise you on the above.

How long does probate take?

Finalising the affairs of someone who has died can take a long time. It can take up to one year and perhaps longer if matters are not straightforward. The process may involve dealing with banks, building societies, insurance companies and HM Revenue & Customs.

An Estate cannot be finalised until all claims to it have been received. Individuals have 6 months from the date when Probate was granted to make claims against an Estate. There are other factors that can affect the time taken, such as any legal disputes or claims against the Estate, whether Inheritance Tax needs to be paid and ensuring that matters relating to Income Tax, Benefits Agencies and pensions have been resolved.

Arguments between family members, beneficiaries or Personal Representatives also cause delays. Such disagreements must be resolved before the affairs of the person who has died can be settled.

How much does probate cost?

We will be happy to give you an estimate of the charges which are likely to be involved in administering an Estate. It is often not possible to know immediately what may be involved, but we should be able to give you a reasonable estimate of the likely costs of the work needing to be carried out.

Whilst the costs will undoubtedly be a consideration, we pride ourselves on having approachable and sympathetic staff with whom clients will hopefully feel at home at what is a very difficult time. 

For clear guidance on our probate fees, please see the section below.

Our probate and estate administration fees

Price depends on the complexity and overall value of the estate. For estates that are uncontested and have UK assets only.

The cost of a Grant of Representation (excluding Estate Administration) ranges from £750.00 plus VAT to £1,250.00 excluding VAT - depending on the complexity involved and the relevant IHT forms that are required.

Minimum cost for acting in the Administration of the Estate (including the Grant of Representation) is £1,250 plus VAT.

The average for acting in the Administration of an Estate is £3,000 plus VAT. Average cost depends on the value of the estate typically as follows:

£0.00 - £150,000£1,250.00 - £2,000.00 exc. VAT
£150,001 - £400,000£2,000.00 - £4,000.00 exc. VAT
£400,001 - £750,000£4,000.00 - £7,000.00 exc. VAT

The standard hourly rate for our probate and estate administration lawyers is £255.00.

Please note: All prices are guideline only and may be subject to change.

Speak to our probate and estate administration solicitors in Swansea, Pontypridd and Talbot Green

To discuss your requirements with our friendly, sensitive probate and estate administration solicitors in South Wales, please get in touch.

Simply use our short online enquiry form to tell us that you would like to speak to one of our probate and estate administration lawyers, and we will be in touch promptly.