Overview

Specialist knowledge is required for the efficient administration of the estates of deceased individuals. Our probate lawyers are part of our private client and wealth structuring department. They are supported by the breadth of knowledge and experience of the wider department enabling them to deal with all types of estates, however valuable or complex.

We provide a personal service which combines our expertise and knowledge of estate administration with an awareness that for the family it is often a difficult time. 

Some firms charge on a percentage of an estate's value. We believe this is unfair as it is generally the nature of the estate's assets rather than its value which dictates how much work is needed in the administration. Instead we usually charge by reference to time spent although we are often able to propose a fixed fee basis if appropriate.

Areas of focus

Our probate law expertise includes the following:

  • Advice on post death inheritance tax planning including the use of deeds of variation.
  • Negotiating agricultural and business property relief claims for IHT with HMRC.
  • Heritage property matters including claims to HMRC for conditional exemption, acceptance in lieu and the setting up of maintenance funds.
  • Cross-border estates involving foreign property and liaising with lawyers and officials in other jurisdictions.
  • Advising on estates involving continuing private trading business and re-financing matters.
  • Dispute resolution whether involving claims against or by the estate or resolving pre-death disputes.
  • Dealing with the tax compliance aspects of the administration.
Experience

A businessman left a large estate with complex inheritance and valuation issues, the lifetime sale of his company and lifetime trusts.

An estate involving mediation and difficult implementation of the agreed terms.

An estate involving a deceased who had two separate families and which involved complex questions of lifetime gifting and maintenance as well mediation.

Complex issues of beneficial entitlement of a valuable landed estate left to the deceased but held by the executors of the un-administered estate of a close relation.

A landed estate with agricultural property and business property relief issues and acceptance in lieu claims for heritage exempt chattels.

A non-domiciled multimillionaire businessman with worldwide assets requiring the coordination of estate administration in several jurisdictions.

An administration which had to be re-opened 35 years later to deal with issues relating to chattels and overseeing a complex structure of allocation among numerous beneficiaries.

An estate of a multimillionaire business man who died intestate resulting in complex succession issues involving the business and assets used by the business and re-financing of the same.

A £55 million landed estate involving the death of a husband and wife in quick succession, heritage relief claims, re-financing and a negotiated settlement of potential claims against the estate and claims from potential beneficiaries of discretionary trusts.

An Italian domiciled deceased with assets in the UK subject to debt which could not be repaid directly from the estate and arranging borrowing to ensure that it remained deductible for IHT.

The estate of a successful farmer with complex succession issues as between the wife and three children all with conflicting interests.

Meet the team
Tom Hewitt

Tom Hewitt Partner

  • Private Wealth
  • Head of Estates and Land
  • Head of Food and Farming
Jim Aveline

Jim Aveline Partner

  • Private Client Services
  • Family Offices and Family Businesses
  • Food and Farming