Dealing with someone’s estate after they die can be stressful.

We can give you sensitive professional advice, and make sure personal representatives (PRs) and trustees do their duty so the deceased’s wishes are carried out correctly and tax efficiently.

Our experienced team bring together legal, accounting and taxation knowledge to meet any challenges that might come up while administering an estate (and any trust arising on the death). The team are confident dealing with both UK only estates and also estates where the deceased was UK or foreign domiciled and had assets in multiple jurisdictions. We’ll handle the probate process with care and sensitivity.

How we can help

We can offer a full administration service to the PRs and deal with all aspects of the administration of an estate, or we can assist in a more limited manner, for example:

  • working closely with the PRs and/or other professionals to offer technical advice and guidance and prepare all the paperwork, but have a hands-off approach to information gathering and organising valuations, sales etc
  • helping the PRs obtain the grant of probate but ‘standing down’ for the resulting distribution of the estate
  • advising only on a particular aspect of the administration but not undertaking general probate work.

Getting the ‘basic’ administration of an estate right can be challenging in itself, as the PRs must make sure that the information gathering and disclosure is dealt with appropriately, that timelines are adhered to, tax is paid, and compliance is dealt with.

In addition, there may be further aspects of the estate administration work that may require specific professional expertise:

  • maximising the benefits of reliefs, allowances and exemptions applicable on death, including but not limited to the standard nil rate band allowance (particularly for previous widows or widowers), the residence nil rate band allowance, business or agricultural relief, charitable or spouse exemption and the conditional exemption for heritage assets
  • facilitating the administration where the deceased was either UK domiciled with assets overseas or non-UK domiciled with UK assets – where it may be necessary to instruct professionals in multiple jurisdictions and confirm the effect of domicile on inheritance tax and equivalent overseas taxes
  • managing a complex set of beneficiaries, in particular where there may be scope for dispute which can be costly in terms of time and money if not handled appropriately
  • dealing with challenges to the will itself (whether it be capacity, undue influence or lack of knowledge) or any claims against the estate by disappointed beneficiaries
  • working with the PRs and the beneficiaries to determine how the administration fits into the wider family succession strategy and determining whether any post death reorganisation is advisable (including deeds of variation and disclaimers)
  • managing any trusts that arise as a result of the death or any trust interests that are taxed as part of the estate due to a trust interest of the deceased

Our lawyers

We’re well placed to deal with these complexities due to the wealth of experience within the team, our colleagues who are experts in estate, trust and will disputes, and our ability to call on colleagues with different legal specialisms such as property work.


Our experience

We’ve been administering estates for well over 200 years. Some recent examples of our work include:

  • working on a disputed (and complicated) estate for someone who died leaving behind a child from his second marriage, adult children from his first marriage, agricultural land and a business
  • administering the estate of a UK-domiciled individual with assets and family based in five different countries across the globe
  • administering the estate of a wealthy non-domiciled individual with assets in multiple countries. We also helped the family with a long-term succession plan for the wealth, taking into account overseas tax regimes
  • successfully negotiating the availability of relief from inheritance tax on valuable assets, including heritage property
  • acting for a trust corporation in a variety of matters involving a heavily disputed estate, including obtaining court direction concerning a claim by a beneficiary to be owed a substantial debt, resisting an application by a beneficiary to remove the trust corporation as executor, obtaining contested possession of various properties, resisting various insolvency-related applications, and obtaining prospective permission for expenditure of legal costs

Did you know?

Mills & Reeve Sites navigation
A tabbed collection of Mills & Reeve sites.
My Mills & Reeve navigation
Subscribe to, or manage your My Mills & Reeve account.
My M&R


Register for My M&R to stay up-to-date with legal news and events, create brochures and bookmark pages.

Existing clients

Log in to your client extranet for free matter information, know-how and documents.


Mills & Reeve system for employees.