Many people feel that it is important to organise their affairs before they pass away. It allows them to have greater control over what happens to their property and belongings, as well as who will look after their children.  Wills and Trusts can be important tools for tax and long term care planning.

By making a Will you can decide what happens to your property and possessions after your death. Although you do not have to make one by law, it is the best way to make sure your estate is passed on to family and friends exactly as you wish. If you die without a Will, your assets may be distributed according to the law known as the Intestacy Rules rather than your wishes. The disadvantage of relying on the Intestacy Rules for the distribution of your assets is that they adopt a one size fits all approach and are not tailor made to cater your individual circumstances. For example if you wanted to leave part of your estate to a close friend or an unmarried partner they will not be considered as a beneficiary under the Intestacy Rules.

It is possible to prepare your own Will but trying to make your own Will, without legal assistance, can lead to mistakes or a lack of clarity and could mean that your Will is invalid. If you have a number of beneficiaries and your finances are complicated, it is even more important that you get a professionally trained solicitor to create your Will and provide you with the necessary specialist advice as to how to ensure your wishes are set out correctly. This makes it easier for those you leave behind to carry out your wishes.

We will look at your both your personal and financial circumstances and advise you on the best way to prepare your Will. Many couples be they married, in a civil partnership or otherwise, especially those with children or with children from a previous relationship, consider it essential that they make provision for the survivor on the death of the first person and then to provide for their children and grandchildren on the death of the second person. This involves making what is known as ‘mirror Wills’. We know families can be complicated. Our private client team can help couples tailor their mirror Wills to fit with their particular circumstances.

Our team can also help with long term care planning for example the protection of assets such as the family home. This is particularly important in a scenario where you jointly own your home with your partner.

Once you have a properly prepared and signed Will, you should review it on a regular basis, and seek advice if your personal or financial circumstances change.

When a person dies, somebody has to deal with their affairs. This is called 'administering the estate'.  The process varies depending on whether a person has died leaving a Will or not and our Private Client team can guide you through each stage.

A Grant of Probate is an official document which is often required to administer an estate. It gives  the administrator the legal right to distribute the estate according to the deceased’s wishes. It is issued by a section of the court known as the Probate Registry.

It may be useful for you to view the administration of the estate process as three distinct stages.
• Stage 1 involves establishing the value of the estate by collating a list of assets and liabilities;
• Stage 2 involves making the application to the Probate Registry which consists of the Probate Registry fee, an Inland Revenue form and an Oath sworn by the administrator(s) or executor(s);
• Stage 3 involves the collection of the monies in the estate for distribution to the beneficiaries who are either named in the Will or, if there is no Will, who are due to inherit under the Intestacy Rules and the preparation of final accounts to record how the estate has been administered.

In some cases, a Grant of Probate is not needed, for example, if there is no property, or stocks and shares, or the money in bank accounts is less than approximately £10,000 depending on the policy of each particular bank or financial institution.  If this is not the case, a Grant of Probate will be required, even if there is a Will.  Butcher & Barlow will be able to advise you on whether a Grant is required and will assist you with the application if this is necessary.

You will also need to consider whether Inheritance Tax is payable on the estate.  Butcher & Barlow can help you assess the size of the estate and calculate the extent of the tax payable, if any, and the method of payments available.

Once Probate is obtained, we can assist in calling in the assets, settling any outstanding liabilities, as well as preparing the estate accounts and dealing with the final distributions to the beneficiaries.


To make an appointment to discuss making a Will or amending your existing Will, or to find our more about administering an estate,  contact your local Butcher & Barlow office and ask for the private client team.

Meet our Wills and Probate Team

What our clients say...

We both wish to thank you and your team for all of the hard work that you undertook in order to sort out the Estate. Everything was handled in an expeditious manner and we really could not have wished for better service. The manner in which you responded to electronic communications was most impressive.  It almost seemed that you never slept!  We were kept well informed at every point and, as a result, the whole process proceeded smoothly - at least from our (the clients’) point of view.

Probate - Runcorn - January 2015

Thank you so much [Mike Bracegirdle] for all your help in transferring our affairs from Poole Alcock to Butcher & Barlow.  We are delighted that we can stay with you - its means a great deal to have a solicitor who is caring and approachable and with the wealth of experience you have.

Mr & Mrs C - Private Client - Gadbrook Park - December 2014

Many thanks for all your help.  Everyone at Butcher & Barlow always seems so nice and friendly.

RB - Will & Probate - Prestwich - February 2017

Thank you so much for helping us with our Wills.  We thought that your professionalism and knowledge really helped us understand the issues we needed to consider and the politeness and courtesy with which we were treated was much appreciated.

Frank Cooper & Elaine Hodson - Private Client - Bury - October 2017
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