Oakwood Solicitors
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Probate and Estate

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We have nothing but praise for Charlotte Bandawe who helped us with every detail (and a smile in her voice) along the way. A pleasure to deal with them!

- Wayne Beasley

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Katherine was very helpful and efficient from start to finish and all the documentation she sent through had clear instructions so that we could complete it easily.

- Nicola

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The experts in Probate matters

Following the death of a family member or friend, it is a very stressful and emotional time. We offer a bespoke service and will provide you with as little or as much assistance and guidance as needed.

What is probate?

This is the term given to the legal authorisation of a person to deal with the estate of a deceased person whether under the terms of a Will or as the closest relative under the Intestacy rules. The document received will be a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration.

The probate process ends once the estate has been identified, all taxes and debts have been paid, and the inheritance has been distributed.

Who can apply for a Grant of Probate?

If you are named as an executor in the will, you can apply for probate.

If there isn’t a will and you are the next of kin, the order of priority for applying for Letters of Administration is as follows:

  • spouse
  • children (including children adopted by the deceased but excluding stepchildren)
  • parents
  • siblings
  • grandparents
  • uncles or aunts
  • if children, siblings, and uncles or aunts of the deceased person have died before the deceased, their children may apply for probate.

It’s worth noting that if you are named in the Will as the chosen Executor or you are next of kin, but you don’t want to act, you don’t have to.

How long does probate take?

Everything depends on the unique circumstances of the Estate, the Will, and the people involved. Additionally, external factors such as; the housing market, the Probate Office, and the social, and political climate, can all hinder the length of time.

We always keep our clients informed of progress throughout. If there are delays that are beyond our control, we will work diligently to make sure that our clients are informed of the reasons why, and how we are going to proceed.

Are there time limits on applying for probate?

Although officially there are no legal time limits on applying for either the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, you should consider the list of reasons to go through the process earlier rather than later. Examples of reasons could be:

  • Beneficiaries could deem that by not proceeding with probate or starting the process is an ‘unnecessary delay’, which would then enable them to sue for withholding their property or portion of the estate.
  • Inheritance Tax Return Form IHT400 must be filed within one year of the person’s death. You may therefore have to start the process earlier in order to get this form submitted in time.

Estate administration

The administration of the estate can be complex and time-consuming, but we aim to take the burden from you, and we will:

  • Interpret the Will and identify who the Executors are
  • Identify who will “administer” the estate in the absence of a Will
  • Value the estate
  • Prepare the account to HM Revenue & Customs
  • Apply for the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration
  • Pay any Inheritance Tax due from the estate
  • Administer the estate and distribute to the beneficiaries
  • Prepare estate accounts
  • Provide advice and full administration of an estate if no Will has been left
  • Advise and administer insolvent estates
  • Offer a fixed fee for obtaining the Grant only
  • Offer a fixed fee estimate for the full administration of an estate at the outset of the matter


We can provide additional assistance to Executors/Administrators during the administration of the estate by:

  • Providing advice on any post-death changes to the Will or Intestacy
  • The distribution only of the estate to the named beneficiaries
  • A reseal of a foreign Grant (if appropriate)
  • Liaising with a solicitor to deal with assets located abroad
  • Reconstituting the title deeds of an unregistered property
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of a property
Frequently Asked Questions

Why use a solicitor?

Because of the complexity involved with the process, most people use the services of a solicitor to deal with the probate of a loved one. Sometimes probates can be relatively easy to deal with especially if the Will is not complicated. However, even with straightforward estates, there are plenty of issues and challenges that can arise which causes things to go wrong.

As the Executor of an estate, you are legally responsible for ensuring that the estate administration is carried out correctly according to the Will, or which would satisfy the family if no Will has been left. This means that if anything goes wrong, or you make a mistake, you can be held responsible for it.

Having a solicitor will take some of the burden of responsibility off your shoulders and give you peace of mind that you are correctly carrying out the wishes of your loved ones. The solicitor will provide guidance and seek information from you and others to make sure that a person’s wishes either from their Will or on behalf of their next of kin, are satisfied to the best of their ability.

Many people find it hard to grasp this legal process, whilst dealing with the emotional turmoil of losing a loved one. A probate solicitor is completely independent

Why should I choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?

Oakwood Solicitors can assist you through this process and provide you with the necessary advice. Our team has gained an excellent reputation amongst local organisations and their client-base for delivering a personal and compassionate service. As a firm, we pride ourselves on having a high standard of customer service and making all our current and potential clients feel at ease when making any decisions regarding their future wishes.

We understand that this is a difficult time and we, therefore, offer a free initial meeting to discuss your personal requirements and provide you specialist advice.

Whatever the size of the estate, whatever the asset which forms a part of the estate, and whether the deceased died intestate or has a Will or trusts that need to be administered, our experienced and compassionate probate Solicitors can help.

You will have a dedicated advisor who will work through the process with you from start to finish, assisting you in the event of any queries or issues you may have. Your advisor will also continue to provide regular updates until you receive your order, and the probate has been administered. We will ensure the process is as stress-free and effortless as possible.

What do I do now?

If you believe or feel you have a claim, contact us for a free initial consultation regarding your options:

Charlotte Bandawe
Charlotte Bandawe - Solicitors and Head of Department

Charlotte Bandawe is our Head of Wills and Probate department, leading a team of two other colleagues. She is also our firm’s Dementia Champion, enabling her to train other staff in how best to understand and aid clients and carers living with dementia.

Charlotte is also a member of Solicitors For the Elderly (SFE).



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