Stephenson Smart can help take the pressure off families at difficult times with our probate and estates services.

We are licensed to provide probate services in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW). Claire Melton FCCA TEP is our director who specialises in probate and is a member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

This specialism to provide probate and estates services enables us to give enhanced support to our clients by assisting them with the administration of estates, dealing with the application for Grant of Representation and all aspects of Inheritance Tax, without the need to involve a third party.

Whether you need clarification of probate law, assisted probate services, help or advice, our probate specialists can offer a friendly consultation to establish your needs and how best to move forward with the process.

The benefits of using a probate and estates specialist:

  • Expert advice on tax and compliance.
  • Full understanding of the use of trusts and lifetime transfers.
  • Assistance with liaising with HMRC and agreeing liabilities.
Probate and Estate Services

The probate and estate planning service we provide is:


Our teams are fully qualified and experienced, to provide you with an efficient and personal service.


As chartered tax advisors and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners we know the laws relating to probate and estates and are fully qualified to give you sound advice.


The advice and support we can offer you will give you the peace of mind that you are managing your affairs properly.

As part of our probate and estates services, we can:

  • Provide a full review of your estate (or that of family members).
  • Provide application for Grant of Representation or Letters of Administration.
  • Give analysis of the tax position and preparing the tax returns for the period of administration.
  • Determine the assets and liabilities of the estate and prepare estate accounts accordingly.
  • Calculate the Inheritance Tax liability and explain any payment instalment options which may be available.
  • Deal with HMRC on behalf of the estate, including agreeing liabilities.
  • Assist with the creation and uses of trusts and lifetime transfers.
  • Give advice on estate charitable giving and legacies.
  • Write wills and Lasting Power of Attorneys.

Dealing with HMRC on behalf of the estate, determining the assets and liabilities and preparing the accounts accordingly is something that many of our clients request our probate and estate specialists to help them with. We have the capacity to help an executor from start to finish with all probate and estate services; at home or abroad, small or large, our team provide you with assistance needed to carry out the last wishes of a friend or family member.


Upon the death of someone, an executor is appointed to deal with the estate of the deceased in accordance with their wishes. The role of the executor can be an onerous one, taking on several responsibilities. It can be easier for the family at this stressful time to appoint a professional to assist and provide peace of mind by reducing the administrative burden on them.

Tax regulations surrounding probate, inheritance and estates are complex and time consuming to deal with. Our probate specialists will be able to help you in calculating the inheritance tax liability and explaining any payment instalment options that may be available.

We do not charge based on a percentage of an estate but instead on the complexity of the work and time taken. We can either work to a fixed fee or charge on a time basis. If you wish us to charge on time taken, we will provide you with an estimate in advance of undertaking any work.

At the outset we will provide an estimate of fees and keep you apprised as the case progresses. If we identify anything that is likely to significantly alter the fee, we will bring this to your attention as soon as possible.

Example costs of Probate and Estate Services work:

Obtaining a grant of probate (easily identifiable low value assets).

This example is based upon the existence of a simple will and assets that are well understood and easy to value and that these assets are not subject to Inheritance Tax.

It assumes that valuations were easily obtained, there were no complicating factors, the estate is an excepted estate and no IHT forms are required, and a probate application made on behalf of the executors.

It would also mean that the executors were dealing with the administration of the estate.

Total fees would be in the region of £1,800 and £3,600 (including VAT).

Calculating Inheritance Tax and obtaining a grant of probate (high value assets, easily identifiable, simple will)

This example is based on the estate having Inheritance tax to pay but has well understood assets and there may be one, or few beneficiaries.

It assumes that valuations have been reasonably easy to obtain and there were no complicating factors and that the relevant Inheritance Tax forms have been prepared (IHT400), and a probate application made on behalf of the executors.

It would mean that the executors dealt with the administration of the estate, although some handholding was required.

Total fees would be in the region of £4,800 and £9,600 (including VAT).

Acting on behalf of executors

This example is based on us undertaking the full process of identifying assets, valuing the estate & calculating Inheritance Tax. As well as applying for probate, collecting in assets, and distributing assets to beneficiaries and accounting for the estate and completing the necessary returns.

Total fees would be between in the region of £12,000 and £16,800 (including VAT)

Acting on behalf of executors (complex estate)

This example is based on us identifying and seeking valuations of assets, working in foreign jurisdictions, dealing with high value assets including agricultural property and dealing with complicated business assets. As well as assisting with the administration of the estate and accounting for the estate and completing the necessary trust tax returns.

Total fees would be in the region of £21,600 and £36,000 (including VAT).


Probate Application Fees are £273 for all estates valued at more than £5,000. There is a small additional charge for extra copies of the Grant of Probate.

Bankruptcy search – £5 per beneficiary

Notification in The London Gazette and a local newspaper of the individual’s death to protect against claims from unknown creditors – £300 to £500.

Every estate is different and there are many things that can impact upon how long it will take. We aim to work with the executors and keep them informed of progress on a regular basis so that they know where we are with a case.

It may take up to two to three months to identify and value assets/liabilities and prepare the Inheritance Tax forms and apply for probate.
Selling assets and collecting in money may take three to six months depending on the market for those assets.

Settling tax liabilities, preparing estate accounts, and making final payments to beneficiaries may take six months after the grant has been obtained.

We have Professional Indemnity Insurance in place in accordance with the requirements of ICAEW.  In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been aware of the loss. Further information about the scheme, and the circumstances in which grants may be made, is available on ICAEW’s website.

We have an internal complaints procedure which will be brought to your attention on engagement, should you wish to see this prior to engagement please contact us and we will email or post you a copy. If we do not deal with a complaint within our complaints procedures timescale or you are unhappy with our response you may of course take the matter up with our professional body, ICAEW, and the Legal Ombudsman, details for whom can be provided by email on request.

Licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.

Details of our probate accreditation can be viewed at – our reference number is C003459317