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Freeths - Law firm

Estate Planning & Administration Lawyers

Helping you to prove a Will

What is involved?

When someone dies, it is necessary to establish who has the legal right to administer their estate. Probate is the process of proving a Will, in which executors apply for and are issued with a ‘Grant of Probate’. This confirms their legal authority to administer the money, property and possessions of the deceased.

If someone left no Will or did not appoint an executor, the next of kin or beneficiaries apply to the Court to appoint an administrator to act as a personal representative. A grant issued to administrators is known as a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’. Executors or administrators are known as the personal representatives.

Freeths offer a variety of detailed information guides, including your duties as an estate administrator, the documentation required, and price lists for our legal services. Please get in touch if you would like a copy.

Why choose Freeths?

  • Freeths have a highly experienced probate team offering clear and considered advice
  • National reputation for private client services, acting for executors, trustees and beneficiaries
  • You can ask us for advice on tax mitigation and the practicalities of estate administration
  • Our probate lawyers have expertise relating to international assets and cross-border issues

Freeths have significant experience of advising executors, administrators, trustees and beneficiaries, and have a deep-rooted understanding of the issues they face. Our solicitors understand that the circumstances of each case can vary widely. Their aim is to help personal representatives to wind up the estate as quickly and efficiently as possible, overcoming any practical difficulties and mitigating financial liabilities.

Occasionally, Wills are inappropriate, incomplete or ambiguous, or make inadequate provision for dependants. Or, there may be doubt about the circumstances surrounding its creation.

We have a specialist litigation team who will deal with any contentious probate cases effectively and efficiently. The time administering an estate depends on the nature and value of the assets, as well as the complexity of the deceased individual’s affairs. We can provide an estimated timescale at the outset, but unpredictable factors, including claims instigated against the estate, may alter this throughout the course of action.

We sensitively handle all aspects of estate administration, whether the estate is straightforward or complex. We also deal with intestacies (when a person has left no Will) and we can trace missing beneficiaries.

Call our specialist Probate & Estate Administration team to find out more about how we can help you.

Key contacts

Sarah Foster
Managing Partner - Oxford & Joint Head of Private Client Services Division

0186 578 1055

Mark Keeley

Mark Keeley
Partner & Joint Head of Private Client Services

0345 274 6875

Alternatively complete the form below:

Contact Us


"Freeths is 'pre-eminent for contentious trusts and probate'. ACTAPS member Mark Keeley is 'a safe pair of hands', and 'actively promotes mediation and looks for settlements while never compromising the client's position'. He acts in an impressive array of cases, including actions to set aside wills on grounds of undue influence, and complex Inheritance Act disputes."

(The Legal 500)


"National head of private client Nigel Roots is an expert in trusts, tax and charities, including contentious trusts matters. One source said: ‘He's very approachable and practical, and explains things well’ and has ‘phenomenal' trusts expertise."


"I would again like to thank you both for all the constant reassurance I needed throughout the whole process. You did an amazing job. After my previous solicitor experience it was almost inconceivable to me that you could tie everything up successfully the way it has turned out. So thank you very much."


"You have certainly been brilliant throughout and I can't imagine where I would be without your ongoing efficiency, excellent advice and good humour. It was been a total pleasure working with you."


"Thank you for all the support you have given us in this difficult, complicated and interesting case, you have explained all the jargon in easy to understand terms with efficiency and helpfulness."


"Jane Maitland is an experienced private client solicitor who advises on all aspects of estate planning and administration. She also advises on Court of Protection matters."

(Chambers & Partners HNW 2021)


"Nigel Roots acts for high net worth individuals on a range of private client matters including estate, trust and tax planning matters. A barrister says: "Nigel is great. He's knowledgeable, personable and really technical. I would thoroughly recommend him."

(Chambers & Partners HNW 2021)


"Sally Goodger acts on a variety of contentious trust and probate matters. A source reports that she is "good at strategic thinking," while a client enthuses: "Sally is very professional. She is especially good at dealing with urgent developments, not just time-wise but competently."

(Chambers & Partners HNW 2021)


"Sarah Foster heads the firm's private client litigation team in Oxford and advises high net worth clients on contentious trust and probate matters. An interviewee says: "Sarah is extremely good. She provides clear advice, her tax knowledge is excellent and she is really amiable." Another enthuses: "She has a wealth of experience and knowledge in her practice area. She is able to disseminate complex and voluminous information and then deliver advice in a practical and understandable manner. She is also extremely personable."

(Chambers & Partners HNW 2021)

Notable Work

  • Advising a family in relation to challenges to Wills on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence and want of knowledge and approval.
  • Administering estates in which there are difficult relationships, including acting in complex contested estates where a court-appointed independent administrator/judicial trustee has been appointed.
  • Disputes between executors and between executors and beneficiaries and the removal of executors and trustees.
  • Representing a group of intestacy beneficiaries at trial in relation to a claim brought against the estate based upon a nuncupative (oral) Will.
  • Assisting in finalising estate matters where a grant of representation was not required, but other formalities had to be complied with.
  • Defending the executors of an estate from a claim to have the transfer of a property to their father set aside because of incapacity/undue influence.
  • Acting in a complex Inheritance Act claim for a claimant who was a long term co-habitee of the deceased, where estate assets were tied up in a farming business.
  • Separately pursuing and defending proprietary estoppel claims valued at over £1 million in relation to promises allegedly made in relation to the inheritance of farms.
  • Assisting in the administration of an estate where a charity is the sole beneficiary.
  • Acting in the administration of the estates in numerous contested probate cases, acting for both executors and independent administrators.
  • Acting for trustees in relation to an application to court to resolve a dispute in the administration of a family trust involving interests in a group of companies and property assets.
  • Resolving a long running dispute over life-time gifts made shortly before death and allowing the executor to complete the administration of the estate.
  • Acting for a beneficiary of a trust in an action against the trustees for improper investment of the trust fund.
  • Assisting in the administration of an estate with a large number of investments and beneficiaries abroad.

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our values


Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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