Probate Solicitors

If a loved one has died, with or without a will, our probate solicitors in Basildon, Colchester and Chelmsford can help you get your affairs in order. You can choose as much or as little help as you need and get the peace of mind that comes from dealing with real experts.

What is probate?

When someone passes away, they leave behind everything they owned at the time of their death such as money, property and sentimental items. These are called assets; these assets need to be dealt with in respect of the deceased person’s last wishes set out in their will. This is referred to as the administration of an estate.

When a person dies with or without a will, the deceased’s estate must go through probate (also known as a “grant of representation”). Probate refers to the process where the deceased’s assets are valued, debts are settled and the remainder is distributed to family. Our probate solicitors can help you and your family from start to finish and answer all the questions you may have.

Probate in England and Wales is a legal process that first requires the will to be proven as a genuine and valid piece of documentation by the Probate Registry Office. This provides permission to the executors and trustees to commence with their duties.

Probate also involves the administration of the deceased’s estate. Executors and trustees are the appointed person/s who has the responsibility of administrating the estate in accordance with legal requirements. However, the appointed executors are not required to act if they are unwilling.

If you were appointed the executor of an estate in the deceased’s will, our probate solicitors can help you in administering the estate efficiently and accurately according to your loved one’s wishes. We can manage the distribution of assets to beneficiaries, the selling of assets and any other aspects defined in the will.

Dealing with probate?

At a time of grieving, the last thing you need is the task of administering the estate of the deceased. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Birkett Long is here to help with the often complex issues surrounding the administering of an estate, avoiding issues with things such as:

  • Anything to do with tax – it’s complicated
  • Probate causing family conflicts
  • The multiple forms to complete
  • Dealing with HMRC
  • Understanding the financial penalties if something goes wrong
  • The responsibility and consequence of mistakes made

What if the person I am acting for died without a will?

In many cases, you must prove that you can act for the person who has died and to do this you will need to apply for something known as a Grant of Letters of Administration.  Banks and other institutions will need to see this document.  This will also be needed before contracts can be exchanged in relation to a property sale.

Why do I need a solicitor to help with probate?

Probate can be lengthy and time-consuming.  A good lawyer will not only do the practical things, such as prepare the papers required for Probate and make an application to the court on your behalf, but will also explain the process clearly and guide you through the many pitfalls. We can assist with paying Inheritance Tax and explaining the deadlines involved.  We can advise if:

  • The estate is valuable and inheritance tax is likely to be payable
  • The estate is complicated - for example, with business or overseas assets
  • You have underage children or family trusts
  • There are questions over the validity of the will
  • You have reason to believe that the will could be contested
  • Practical issues (such as your location or other commitments) make it difficult for you to take a hands-on role as an executor.

We take full responsibility for getting the Grant of Probate and dealing with the legal, tax (excluding VAT), property and estate administration affairs when you instruct us.

We can also help with:

We also offer home visits to the elderly, infirm and disabled and can provide large print leaflets on request.

Organising a probate solicitor

If you need any advice following a bereavement, contact our probate solicitors in BasildonColchester or Chelmsford via our enquiry form. At Birkett Long, we can arrange a free, no obligation 15 minute chat on the phone.


  • Destiny Carter
      • 01206 217353
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  • Nicky Halls
      • 01206 217390
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  • Frances Lavender
      • 01268 824928
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  • Jill Morris
      • 01245 453849
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  • Jane Wicker
      • 01245 453842
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  • Bethany Wrightson
      • 01206 217333
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With one of the largest teams in Essex, the team holds members of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), members of Solicitors for the Elderly and the Agricultural Law Association.

We also offer home visits to the elderly, infirm and disabled.