Probate & Administration of Estates

At Protopapas LLP our team is able to offer expert advice, guidance and understanding towards individual private client issues and matters relating to Probate & Administration of Estates.

We can advise you on:

  • What to do following the death of a family member, friend or loved one
  • Completing the Inheritance Tax Account
  • Applications for grants of representation
  • Applications for limited grants of representation
  • International probate matters and estates
  • Re-sealing of grants of representation obtained in some foreign countries
  • Deeds of Family Arrangements
  • Administering estates
  • Selling the assets of the deceased’s estate
  • Disputed wills
  • Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Probate can have two meanings. Firstly, it can mean the document which confirms the will is valid and states who the executors are. It authorises the executors to deal with the deceased’s assets and access their personal accounts and property. This is known as Probate of the will, where there is a will or Letters of Administration where the is no will.

The second meaning of probate is slightly wider. This refers to the various laws and courts which deal with the wills, intestacy, succession, inheritance, administration and disputes over estates. Probate laws have developed carefully over many years. Their main aim is to protect the deceased’s estate, safeguard creditors, ensure the wishes of the deceased under a will are followed or distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules and to ensure that any inheritance tax is paid.


There are two types of personal representatives, those appointed by a will and those not appointed by a will. Personal representatives appointed by a will are called ‘executors’ (a female is often called an ‘executrix’) and those not appointed by a will are called ‘administrators’. The law provides rules on who can become the administrator of an estate if there is no executor named in the will or if the named person does not want to or cannot carry out the required duties. Where there is no valid appointment of an executor, the next-of-kin can apply to be the administrator in a strict order of priority, with spouse/civil partner at the head of the list, followed by child, grandchild, parent, sibling, nephew or niece and then other relatives not named above. Both executors and administrators have similar powers and duties and usually only one personal representative is required to administer an estate.


Once it has been decided who is entitled to become the personal representative(s), the prospective executor or administrator must make an application to the Probate Registry for the court’s written confirmation of their appointment, known as a grant of representation. The grant made to an executor appointed in the deceased’s will is called a ‘Grant of Probate’ while the grant to an administrator when there is an intestacy is a ‘Grant of Administration’. In addition, there is also a ‘Grant of Administration with the Will Annexed’ which covers the hybrid situation where there is a will but no executors appointed. Although these grants have different names, their effect is virtually the same i.e. to vest the deceased’s assets and liabilities in the personal representative(s). There are also various limited grants which can be applied for in certain circumstances. However, it is not always a requirement to make an application for a grant of representation, for example if the estate does not consist of any land, property or shares or if the value of the estate is less than £5,000.


Before applying for a grant of representation, usually the prospective executor or administrator must first complete an Inheritance Tax (“IHT”) Account which involves documenting all of the deceased’s assets, debts and liabilities in prescribed forms and calculating the gross and net value of the estate. The IHT Account will also show much (if any) IHT is payable by the estate which must be confirmed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs; any IHT due must usually be paid before a grant of representation can be applied for.


Once a grant of representation has been granted by the court, subject to complying with the general rules and duties of general representatives, the estate can now be administered by the executor or administrator which will include: paying all the debts of the estate; informing all relevant persons of the death of the deceased; closing bank and other accounts if necessary; calling in all the cash and assets; distributing the estate to the beneficiaries; and generally dealing with all issues and enquiries relating to the estate . Where there is a will, the estate must be distributed strictly in accordance with the will. In certain cases, the will can however be varied by written agreement from all beneficiaries – this is known as a ‘Deed of Family Arrangement’ or ‘Deed of Variation’. Such a variation must be drawn up within two years of death. If there is no will, the administrator must distribute the estate in accordance with the intestacy rules.

Obviously, no two estates are the same however the procedures followed will nearly always be similar unless any problems, delays or complications are encountered, such as: not being able to locate the named executor(s) in a will; not having sufficient funds to pay any IHT which is due; if a will’s validity is disputed; if a claim is made against the estate by an aggrieved family member or any other dependant; etc. It is therefore important to ensure that if you wish to prepare a will, it is drafted properly to avoid uncertainty and that you appoint trustworthy executors. When a loved one dies, it is imperative that any prospective executor or administrator receives proper advice and guidance from the outset to ensure that the administration of the deceased’s estate is as smooth as possible. Any claims made against the estate must also be dealt with in a proper and timely manner.

We have dedicated English and Greek speaking solicitors on hand to deal with any issues you may have in relation to Probate & the Administration of Estates. We can clear any doubts which you may have and provide you with a clear step by step outline of what steps need to be taken following the death of a family member or friend. Please contact one of our solicitors today.