We recognise that the loss of a loved one is a difficult and stressful time and offer a full estate administration service, founded on the principles of sensitivity and care and of providing practical and straightforward advice.

Our estate administration service is offered on a national basis and is suitable for both lay and professional personal representatives. We also offer the option of our trust corporation acting as personal representative, if that may assist in the circumstances.

We have considerable experience in administering:

Alternatively, we also provide a service to assist personal representatives in simply obtaining the grant of representation.


Key contact

Matthew is a partner and heads up the firm’s private wealth offering. He is responsible for the development, implementation and long-term strategy of the team.

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Your questions answered

What steps are involved in the administration of an estate?


The administration of an estate involves both practical and legal steps. Those steps can include:

  • Arranging for payment of the funeral director’s fees
  • Writing to all asset and liability holders to confirm the value of the assets at the date of death
  • Ensuring that any property is secured and insured
  • Identifying all of the beneficiaries and the terms upon which they receive an asset in estate, either by correctly interpreting any will or by correctly applying the intestacy provisions
  • Completing the relevant Inheritance Tax returns, calculating any tax that may fall due, ensuring the appropriate tax reliefs are claimed and arranging for payment of the tax
  • Preparing an appropriate oath, arranging for it to be sworn and, thereafter, for all forms and the appropriate fee to be sent to the probate registry to apply for the grant of representation
  • Placing statutory adverts for creditors and other claimants in the London gazette and local newspapers
  • Setting up any trusts created within the will or by operation of the intestacy provisions
  • Completing any income tax or capital gains tax returns as may be required om behalf of the estate
  • Collecting in assets, including arranging to close bank accounts and investments and receiving the closing balances and completing stock and share transfer forms
  • Dealing with any agricultural and business assets
  • Dealing with overseas lawyers where there are assets in other jurisdiction
  • Paying all debts
  • Arranging the sale of any estate property or the transfer of it to the beneficiaries

What if there is no will?


If there is no will, the deceased is said to have died “intestate” and their estate is distributed in accordance with statutory rules. In such cases, a grant of letters of administration is obtained, normally by a close relative. You can find our guide to the intestacy provisions here.

What is a grant of representation?


A grant of representation is a court order issued by one of the probate registries. It confers authority on the personal representatives (executors or administrators) to administer a deceased person’s estate.

There are a number of types of grant of representation but the two that are most common are:

  1. Grant of probate
    A grant of probate is issued to the executor, or executors, named in the will and it confirms the authority of the executors appointed by the will.

  2. Grant of letters of administration
    A grant of letters of administration is issued where there is no will, where there are no executors appointed in the will or where the named executors do not take up the office. A grant of letters of administration is issued to the persons entitled in law to act as the deceased person’s administrators.

Personal representatives are obliged to administer the estate of the deceased according to law. This involves collecting in all the assets, settling all the liabilities, and distributing what is left in accordance with the will or the rules of intestacy. Usually, apart from joint property which passes automatically to the surviving co-owner(s), a grant of representation has to be obtained before it is possible to gather in the assets and discharge the liabilities of the estate.


Hugh James ‘punches above its weight’

The Legal 500


Rightly recognised as the heavyweight firm in Wales for estates, trusts and probate', Hugh James six-partner team includes numerous 'talented practitioners and the depth of resources to take on substantial work'

The Legal 500


They are very focused as an organisation, they are very professional. I feel that we are in good, safe, trusted hands.

Chambers & Partners UK

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