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My Legal Club Provides You With Unique Solutions 

  • Access to highly recommended specialist solicitors in probate – whether you are a member or not 
  • Access to DIY probate documents in the interactive online legal document library – whether you are a member or not
  • Members receive unique savings on legal fees with our highly recommended specialist solicitors 
  • Members receive discount codes for probate documents in our interactive online legal document library

Probate: Do I need a solicitor?

General advice is parties should use a solicitor if:

  • The will may be disputed
  • There are issues surrounding the validity of the will
  • There is no will and the estate is complicated
  • There are parties (dependants) left out of the will deliberately who may wish to make a legal challenge against this
  • The estate may be bankrupt
  • Assets are held in trusts
  • There is a request to create a trust
  • The deceased lived outside of the UK
  • The estate includes foreign assets such as shares, property etc
  • The value of the estate is over the inheritance tax threshold. In the 2019-20 tax year there is an inheritance tax allowance of £325,000. The standard inheritance tax rate is 40% of anything in your estate over the £325,000 threshold.

If none of the above apply then many people decide to process probate themselves.

For some it is upsetting, for others they do not have the time. For others they feel more comfortable instructing a solicitor.

There may be property involved meaning a solicitor will be required in respect of the property anyway. Solicitors may be able to offer a special price for handling the conveyancing and the probate together. 

How can My Legal Club help?

We would recommend your first step is to review whether the details of the estate and will mean that a solicitor is best being instructed.

If the details of the estate, and will, do not mean that a solicitor would be required consider whether you wish to proceed with the probate on a DIY basis.

One option is whether you wish to use the vast online resources available to process probate directly.

An alternative option is using the documents, and guidance notes, in the online legal document library which we would recommend you reviewing.

You could also contact us and obtain quotes from our highly recommended specialist solicitors to compare all your options and make a choice that suits you best.

We offer free trials of My Legal Club membership which would provide you with discount codes if you wished to purchase documents within the online legal document library, or alternatively unique discounts on legal fees from our panel solicitors.

Our advice would be to review all of your options, compare prices and see which option suits your needs best.

At the bottom of the page we have provided further information to provide you with further information regarding probate.

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Probate terminology explained
  • Administration
    This is processing the estate. This includes calculating the value of the estate, paying off all debts / creditors, any tax liabilities, closing all relevant accounts (e.g. bank, phone, gas/electric etc). The administration includes distributing to the beneficiaries the remaining assets.
  • Administrator
    The person(s) who review and distribute the estate of a person who has died without a will.
  • Beneficiary

    A beneficiary is someone who receives/benefits via inheritance from a deceased person’s estate. Beneficiaries will be confirmed within the will. If there is no will then the rules of intestacy will apply.

  • Estate
    Everything (all of the assets) a deceased person owned. This may be cars, property, jewellery, cash, pension, pets etc.
  • Executor
    The person(s) who has been named in the deceased person’s will to finalise the estate. The executor will perform the administration of the estate but can refuse to be an executor if they wish.
  • Grant of Letters of Administration
    If there is no will then the administrator must apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
  • Grant of Probate
    Where there is a will, the Executor/s of the Estate must apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate.
  • Intestate
    Dying without a will.
  • Personal Representative (PR’s)
    Executors or administrators.
  • Probate
    Is a legal document process which allows the deceased’s assets to be released to those who have the legal authority to act and administer the estate. It proves that the PR’s are releasing the assets to the correct and authorised people.
  • Probate Registry
    Review all applications and decide whether or not to issue a Grant of Representation. This is where the probate fee will be paid to.
  • Renunciation
    An executor no longer wishes to act.
  • Rules of Intestacy
    The rules which apply when someone dies without leaving a will (or one cannot be located). There is an order of priority which applies in respect of the administration of the assets of the estate.
What does Probate entail?
  • Reviewing the initial position in respect of the will, estate, and any issues which may arise.
  • Completing the Probate application forms and attending an interview at the Probate Court.
  • Completing the necessary Inheritance Tax forms for HMRC – even if £0 inheritance tax due the forms must still be completed.
  • Collating and valuing all of the estate assets, including property, monies and personal belongings, whilst paying any debts due against the estate.
  • Administering the remainder of the estate in accordance with the will or the rules of intestacy.
How much does it cost?

The application fee is £215 if the value of the estate is £5,000 or over – there’s no fee if the estate is under £5,000.
If you apply online you can pay with a credit or debit card.
If you apply by post, you can either:

  • call the probate registry between 9:30am and 3pm to pay by debit or credit card – you’ll be given a reference number to send with your documents
  • send a cheque payable to HM Courts and Tribunals Service with your documents

Extra copies of the probate cost £1.50 each – this means you can send them to different organisations at the same time.

How long does it take?

From start to finish the whole process should be completed within 6 to 9 months, subject to complexities.

Additional tips
  • Secure numerous copies of the death certificate – you can never have too many (e.g. 8-10 are plenty most will require 5)
  • Consider all your options, prices quoted and what suits you and the estate best
  • Shop around and ensure you get a great service and price to match
  • Keep records of everything
  • Prepare at the start carefully, where is the will, what are the likely assets, is there anything complex?
  • Register the death

You’ll need a copy of the death certificate for each of the deceased’s assets (eg, each bank account, credit card, mortgage etc), so before you can start probate, you’ll need to register the death.

Go to the register office for the area where the death happened – use to find it. You may need to book an appointment, so it’s worth phoning first.

You’ll need the medical certificate of the cause of death, plus a birth certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate or NHS medical card if available. A relative will usually need to register the death, if possible, but others are allowed to do this in some circumstances.

The registrar will then give you a certificate for burial or cremation, and a certificate of registration of death (more commonly known as a death certificate).

In some areas, you can use the Government’s Tell Us Once service ( report the death to most Government organisations in one go, including council tax, benefits, passport and driving licence info.

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