Co-op Legal Services has been named best estate administration and probate services provider in the 2021 cfi.co awards.
Probate advice and support
Ethical probate specialists to guide and support you through probate
Supporting you through probate
We aim to provide a stress-free probate and estate administration service to support you through these difficult times. Whether you are the executor of a will or the relative responsible for the administration of the estate, we can provide you with clear, practical advice on how to progress the estate administration following the death of a loved one.
Our probate and estate administration service offers you peace of mind for a fixed fee. We provide no obligation fixed fee quotes for probate and estate administration. When we have provided you with a fixed price written quote for the agreed work, that price will not change (unless the original information we are given is shown to be incorrect or the estate circumstances change).
Our probate advice team will listen to your particular circumstances, to ensure we are best placed to provide you with support covering:
- an explanation of probate to help you understand if probate is required to administer the estate
- an explanation of estate administration and the scope of our service
As probate and estate administration experts, we will:
- perform detailed tax reviews on every case and take advantage of all opportunities to minimise tax liabilities and transfer unused tax allowances
- conduct specialist searches for lost and forgotten assets to ensure that the beneficiaries’ inheritances are maximised
- take action to protect the executor or administrator of the estate from personal liability
- assign a dedicated probate expert to your case
- if required, we can arrange highly competitive and flexible vacant property insurance
- we're regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we're fully insured, and our client accounts benefit from FSCS protection.
If you choose to take care of probate and administer the estate yourself, you should be prepared to commit many hours of highly detailed work over a period of up to 12 months or more to complete the estate administration, Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and any other legal work.
It’s very important to note that an executor or administrator can be held personally financially liable for any loss resulting from a breach of their duty, even if a mistake or mistakes were genuine errors. See executor and administrator duties explained.
As part of the Co-op Group our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.
We can take full responsibility for probate and the estate administration, with fixed fee probate pricing that we will agree with you upfront. We'll support and guide you through the probate process from start to finish and we’ll avoid using legal jargon wherever possible.
Probate solicitors and probate consultants are available in England and Wales only for customers using our probate and estate administration service.
What documents do I need when applying for probate?
When a probate application is submitted to the Probate Registry, there are several documents and forms that will need to be included. These documents provide essential information on the estate, such as its value and how it will be distributed to the beneficiaries.
Documents and forms to include when applying for probate:
- a probate application form PA1
- an Inheritance Tax form
- the original will along with any codicils (which are any additions or amendments to the will)
Applying for probate yourself? Then you will also need to submit the probate application form PA1 along with an official copy of the death certificate. Please note that if you deal with probate yourself you can be held financially liable for any loss resulting from mistakes you make.
Applying for probate through our probate solicitors? Then we they will submit all of the above documents to the Probate Registry on your behalf. We also take on full liability for the work carried out.
When sending the above documents, the probate application fee of £215 should be paid to the Probate Registry, unless the total value of the estate is under £5,000. If Co-op Legal Services submits the probate application on your behalf, then you will only need to pay a Probate Registry fee of £155.
How to apply for probate using form PA1
If you choose to apply for a grant of probate yourself, and not use a solicitor or professional probate provider, the first form you will need to complete is a probate PA1 application form.
You can apply for probate by completing form PA1 if you are an executor in the will or if you are a next of kin and there is no will.
The PA1 form is 12 pages long and requires a lot of information about the person who has died, along with details of the person who is applying for the grant of probate.
Which Inheritance Tax form do I need to apply for probate?
An Inheritance Tax form needs to be completed and submitted with your probate application, even if no Inheritance Tax is payable on the estate. There are two different types of Inheritance Tax form:
Form IHT205 Return of Estate Information. This is the shorter Inheritance Tax form, which will need to be completed if no Inheritance Tax is payable.
Form IHT400 Inheritance Tax Account. This is the longer Inheritance Tax form, which will need to be completed if Inheritance Tax is payable. There are also separate forms called schedules which ask for information about different assets in the estate. The relevant schedules will need to be completed too and sent in with the IHT400 form. If there is any Inheritance Tax to pay on the deceased's estate, you will need to obtain a reference number and payslip from HMRC.
Can I apply for probate in the UK if I live overseas?
It depends where the estate assets are located.
The probate process differs from country to country, even within the UK. England and Wales share the same estate administration process, but the processes in Scotland and in Northern Ireland are different. If you are dealing with probate in Scotland, you’ll hear the word 'executry' used instead of probate.
You’ll need to understand the probate process in the country that has legal jurisdiction over the estate.
If you're based abroad but the estate is in the UK, you can apply for probate in the UK, but there might be tax implications on any inheritance you're set to receive and there are likely to be delays when sending or receiving paperwork. You’ll also need to visit to the UK to get all the paperwork together, like the will, and take an inventory of the assets you’ll be dealing with.
If there are assets in more than one country, this is known as a ‘cross-border estate’ and you’ll need to take extra care, as there can be legal difficulties. You’ll almost certainly need help from experienced probate solicitors in each of the countries involved. They will need to work together to make sure that the estate is dealt with properly, taking into account the law in each country.
The good news is that you don’t have to complete the estate administration process on your own. You can ask our probate solicitors to step in and complete the probate process for you.