Probate Service

Applying for probate can be a challenging and emotional process for bereaved family members after the death of a loved one, and who would be better to assist you during this difficult time than a firm of Chartered Accountants with whom you may already have built up a longstanding relationship over many years of assisting you with your financial affairs.

Whitehead & Howarth is licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal service of non-contentious probate in both England and Wales.

What we offer

We offer an initial free consultation.

The services you require will vary with the complexity and size of the estate but may typically include the following: –

  • Applying for or assisting you to apply for grant of probate
  • Estate administration, including dealing with third parties and the identification of assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Collecting in the assets of the estate
  • Calculation of any Inheritance Tax liability
  • Completion of and reporting of Inheritance Tax Reports
  • Advising and assisting executors
  • Preparation of estate accounts
  • Distribution of estate to beneficiaries

The timescale for this kind of work can vary tremendously, in straight-forward cases the entire process may take only around 4-6 months but complex cases can take more than a year.  Good communication and working relationship between ourselves and the executors is therefore the key to a successful outcome.


We are always pleased to offer an initial consultation free of charge where we can discuss what your specific requirements are, and this will then be followed by a quotation of our fees before any work commences.

You can choose between a fixed fee or a time-spent basis which is determined by the hourly rate of the members of our team involved on your case.  For a straight forward  case where the deceased has left a valid will, the beneficiaries are easily determined and the executors are collecting in the assets, then our work will typically only involve the advising of the executors. Applying for the grant of probate and the completion of the Inheritance Tax Return forms.

For more complex cases our fees will be higher and we will be pleased to provide you with a detailed quote.

Complaints procedure

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided to you then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you. In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the individual who is working on your case to discuss any concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage.

Our complaints procedure is available in your engagement letter and terms of reference and in the first instance we would always ask that you initially direct any complaint to ourselves, however if you are still not satisfied a complaint may be made to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England in Wales:

Level 1, Metropolitan House
321 Avebury Boulevard
Milton Keynes MK9 2FZ

We shall in every situation undertake the utmost effort to resolve any fair compliant you have.

What happens if I don’t agree with your views on the complaint?

If we are unable to resolve the complaint with you then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates problems about poor service from lawyers and accountants providing probate services.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and
  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission;or
  • No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman please contact them on:


Call 03005550333 between 9am to 5pm.


Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV19WJ

Probate Compensation Scheme

The above scheme is available to clients of firms such as Whitehead & Howarth where the firm is accredited for probate by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, who are able to apply for compensation if they have suffered a loss that was the consequence of :

  • fraud or other dishonesty on the part of an accredited probate firm or of any principal or employee of an accredited probate firm, in connection with their activities in the course of authorised work; or
  • a failure to account for money which was received by an accredited probate firm, or the principal or employee of an accredited probate firm, in connection with their activities in the course of authorised work.

A claim for a grant must be made within 12 months and details can be obtained by emailing