Estate Planning and Probate

When someone dies it is an emotional and overwhelming time for the family. They may feel unable to deal with the legal and administrative issues that require due care and attention.

Bishop Fleming Bath Limited is 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.

Matters to think about will include registering the death, making the funeral arrangements, completing government forms and applying for a Grant of Probate.

As this is a stressful time, loved ones often choose to hand everything over to an experienced and professional team who can deal with all the necessary matters in an efficient and compassionate manner, and in accordance with the law.

Probate is the process of administering the estate of a person who has died and ensuring its distribution to those who will inherit, after discharging any debts and liabilities.

Bishop Fleming has the necessary knowledge and experience to handle all stages of Probate:

  • assembling all the information regarding the assets and liabilities of the deceased;
  • preparation of all tax returns and applying for Grant of Probate;
  • preparation of estate accounts;
  • organising the assets, discharging liabilities and expenses; and
  • allocating the estate to those who are to benefit.

The work involved in administering an estate will depend on the complexity of the case, the terms of the will and whether any inheritance tax is due.

Bishop Fleming’s probate team will always put you first and ensure that matters are resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible, keeping you advised at all times.

Please contact a member of our Estate Planning and Probate team to find out how we can help you with probate services.

Christine Tuckerman guided us through the challenges of winding up a parental estate with infinite patience, relentless efficiency and great good humour.  Bishop Fleming not only gave us peace of mind but actually even made the whole process surprisingly enjoyable!  Christine’s communication was always reliably clear and comprehensive, giving us well-placed optimism that even the more tortuous fiddly bits would reach a conclusion. 

Christine Counsell and Helen Clark
​​​​​​​What is probate?

Probate is the process of administering a deceased estate. This includes ascertaining assets and liabilities of the estate, paying debts or liabilities, and distributing the estate under the terms of the will.

As part of this, there could be Income Tax returns to deal with, as well as the Inheritance Tax return (IHT400 or IHT205). For larger estates this may also include the preparation of estate accounts.


What are letters of administration where someone dies without a will?

Letters of administration are where there is a will but it either did not name any executors, or there are no executors willing to act. It could also be that there is no valid will, in which case Administrators are decided using intestacy rules provided they have an interest in the estate.


When is probate required?

Probate is generally required for all estates. Probate would not be required for low value estates (under £5,000 and no land property or shares included), estates where all assets are owned jointly (as joint tenants) with another person and so pass under survivorship rules and if bank balances are under £5,000, as most banks will allow access with a death certificate and a copy of the will.

However, some will have different rules, so it is best to always check.


Is probate still required even when no tax is at stake?

Potentially, if assets are in the deceased’s sole name but no tax is due as all has been passed to a spouse or charity for example. There may be reduced reporting requirements for such estates with regards to the Inheritance Tax return – IHT205 as opposed to a full IHT400.


Does having an up-to-date will make probate easier?

Definitely – executors are named so no need to determine who the administrators should be, intestacy rules do not need to be used when distributing assets. More importantly the deceased is making his or her wishes clear.


If I have one, how often should I review my will?

You should always review your will at regular intervals when legislation changes. It is also worth reviewing on certain milestones in life, such as marriage or divorce, and the death or birth of close family members.


What happens when someone dies without making a will?

The rules of intestacy will apply which may result in unnecessary Inheritance Tax liabilities and can cause complications and potential hardship for the surviving spouse where assets are also shared with surviving children.




We will complete all relevant tax forms and send them to HMRC.
This will involve identifying and valuing the assets of the deceased to ascertain whether any inheritance tax is payable.

The estate of the individual may also owe other taxes, such as income tax or capital gains tax.
We will establish what needs to be paid and negotiate with HMRC on your behalf.

Removing the stress
As well as dealing with all the tax issues, we will also remove the stress of administering the estate, including gathering in property, bank accounts, share certificates, insurance policies and any business assets.

As part of our service we will determine what bills need to be paid, including utility bills, credit cards, loans, etc. We can also assist with arranging for property to be sold.

Passing on the inheritance
Once all the tax and administrative issues have been dealt with, we will arrange for the estate to be passed on to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will, or where there is no Will, in accordance with the laws of intestacy.


Diversity Statistics

Licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & 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 under reference number C003088558. Accredited probate firm name – Bishop Fleming Bath Limited.  The probate regulations can be found at As part of our registration we are required to publish diversity related information to Bishop Fleming Bath Ltd. Our statistics for 2020 can be found here.



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