Losing a loved one can be a very emotional and stressful period, and you may simply not know what steps need to be taken or be unsure of your responsibilities as an Executor to a Will.

After a death it is important to those who are left behind that the estate is administered with sympathy as well as efficiency, something we are more than happy to help with.

At Pennine Law we pride ourselves on dealing with probate matters in both a professional and sympathetic manner. Our team are experienced in all areas of the Probate process, including; obtaining valuations of all assets, agreeing tax liability, applying for the Grant of Probate or Letters of administration, and gathering/administering assets in accordance to a Will. In cases where a trust may arise, which could last for many years, Pennine Law has experience of administering the trusts provided by the Will or an intestacy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Grant of Probate?

When someone dies and has left a Will, their property and possessions are distributed in accordance with the terms of their Will. However, the Will needs to be proven in court, and this process is called ‘Grant of Probate’. Without the Grant of Probate, generally, bank accounts cannot be closed or property sold.

What is Administration?

On the other hand, when no Will is left, this is termed dying “Intestate”. Under these circumstances the property and possessions would pass under a strict legal order, rather than how a person may have wished them to be distributed; this is called ‘Administration’. Letters of Administration have to be applied for at Court.

What is Inheritance Tax?

A tax which must be paid to HM Revenue and Customs when the total; value of an estate exceeds a certain amount.

Inheritance Tax Planning

You can leave up to £325,000 to friends or family free of inheritance tax. However any excess above this figure may be subject to inheritance tax at a rate of 40%. There are various ways to save or minimise inheritance tax liabilities, which we are happy to advise you on.

You can also arrange a policy of insurance to pay out a lump sum, upon death, to cover any inheritance tax liability. Such a policy has to be set up very carefully and Pennine Law can advise you so the proceeds of the policy do not form part of the estate to be subject to inheritance tax itself.


A person can give away up to £3,000, each tax year, without being liable for inheritance tax. The unused portion of the previous year’s exemption can also be carried for one year. It is possible to give further amounts to any number of different people if the total gift to each person does not exceed £250. There are also certain exemptions for wedding gifts.

You can also give away assets, cash or property in excess of £3,000 and providing you survive for a period of 7 years after the gift, the gift will be free of inheritance tax.

Married Couples & Civil Registered Partners

Spouses and civil registered partners are able to transfer their unused nil balance rate band to the surviving person. When the first spouse or partner dies their share of the home and any other assets can be transferred to the survivor. When the second spouse or partner dies inheritance tax will only be paid if the total assets exceed the £650,000 threshold. It is important to keep records following the death of the first spouse relating to their Will and estate and how much if any of the nil rate band was utilised on death.