It’s now time that you draft the accounts as you have sold the assets, collected the money and paid the debts. This is the home stretch!

We have split Estate Accounts up into 8 sections to make this as easy as possible.

Front Sheet

Kicking off with a nice simple front sheet, this should say what this document is (The Estate Accounts), who’s estate it is (Use the deceased’s full name) and the date they passed away.


Put all the companies and places that the deceased held assets into a list, write the amount that was held with each, and then put a total amount at the bottom. (Banks, investments, houses, cars etc.). Make sure you use the value of the asset on the day the person passed-away (these are known as date of death figures), we will talk about any changes in these values shortly.


Just like you did with the assets section, put all the debts that the deceased had outstanding when they passed away into a list (things like credit card bills, any mortgages, unpaid household bills etc.). Don’t forget to put a total figure for all the liabilities at the bottom!

Changes During Administration

This section is where you would list any asset (or liability) that changed in value from when you had it initially valued to when it was sold during the administration process. If the deceased owned a property that you had valued at £200,000 (the figure you should have entered on the IHT205 form), but later sold for £220,000, this is where you would list the £20,000 change.


After death, we would class any event where the estate received money like rent paid by a tenant, interest on money held in a bank or dividend payments, as the estate receiving income instead of simply an increase in assets. Just like before, list them, total them!


Whilst going through the administration of the estate you are probably aware that there were times that you had to pay out money to complete certain parts of the process. (E.g. Funeral bills, oath fees, estate agent fees etc.). Put all these expenses into this section.

Distribution Sheet

This is the sheet that most people will skip to when they look through your finished set of accounts, it is where you show the total value of the estate and, just like Oprah back in 2004 (“you get a car”), you list who is getting something from the estate.

You should add together the totals for assets, changes, and income, then take away the totals for liabilities and expenses. This final figure should then be divided into the appropriate portions and then assigned to the list of beneficiaries.

Executor Signoff

Finally, there should be a page at the end with all the executors (or administrators) details, where they can signoff that they have looked through the accounts and agree with the figures (they also need to date when they sign).

Put all the above sections together and you have yourself a basic set of estate accounts.

Need help with Estate Management and Probate?

Contact the friendly experts at Steele Rose for help and advice on all things probate and for assistance with your estate management tasks. Call us on 01722 410009 or email us at or via our contact page.

When a loved one passes away, especially if it is unexpectedly, planning their funeral and dealing with probate are usually the last things on our minds.

Planning a funeral is never easy, but we wanted to give you an overview of the process, costs involved and provide a checklist of things to think about to help make things easier during this difficult time.

Funeral Costs

According to the Money Advice Service, the average burial cost is £4,321 and the average cremation cost is £3,250. These costs can often be covered from the estate of the person that has passed, though depending on the size of the estate it can sometimes take up to 6-12 months for the funds to be released. As the executor of the will, you will also have the responsibility of making the funeral arrangements and will need to cover the funeral costs prior to any funds being released from the estate following the probate process.

Things to Consider when organising a funeral

A more expensive funeral doesn’t always mean a ‘better’ one. When considering arrangements for a funeral you should take into account the wishes of the person that has passed and also the affordability. Your loved one would not want you to get into debt organising their funeral, so it is good to get an idea of the costs for what you would like to plan by getting quotes from two or more funeral directors and choosing the right option for you and your family’s situation.

You may also need to find out if your loved one had any insurance policies set up before they passed, which help to cover funeral costs as this will be helpful in covering the expenses incurred and mean that you will not suddenly have to foot the bill, especially if you are not sure how you will afford the expenses involved.

As well as the burial or cremation itself, things that a funeral director can help you to organise include:

  • Location of the funeral
  • Transport to the ceremony such as a hearse
  • Options for a coffin (these costs can vary anywhere from £100 to £10k)
  • Flowers
  • Burial plot and headstone, if your loved one had not already organised this prior to passing
  • Urn (for the ashes following a cremation)
  • Order of service
  • Funeral notice (in the local paper)
  • Copies of the death certificate
  • Venue and catering if you choose to hold and cover the cost of a ‘wake’

Who do I contact to organise a funeral? Should I use a funeral director?

The cost of using a funeral director does mean that the overall cost of the funeral would be increased, however, the benefits of using a funeral director can help ease the stress of making all the necessary arrangements when you are already grieving.

The main benefit of using a funeral director is that they will be able to collect, store, prepare and deliver your loved one to the funeral ceremony, cemetery or crematorium and as part of their fee will also ensure that all the right paperwork is completed with you and help you to make the overall funeral arrangements.

There are likely to be funeral directors locally to you or to where the person that has passed away was living. Costs can vary depending on geographical location across the UK, but as mentioned above, you should get a couple of different quotes to help you decide which to go with based on how much they charge and what services they include in their fee.

How can Steele Rose help?

We understand how difficult this time can be and over the years have helped as many people as we can with what can be a stressful and upsetting process.

When you work with Steele Rose probate specialists for estate administration, we can help by covering the funeral costs for you upfront and then recover the costs from the estate later on. This is optional and dependent on the size of the estate, but may help you to cover the costs of arranging a funeral for your loved one rather than having to find the funds yourself.

If you choose to opt for ‘DIY’ probate, and you need to access funds of the person that has passed away in order to cover the funeral costs, in some cases you can take the funeral invoice and the death certificate to the deceased persons bank, where they will release the exact amount needed to cover the cost of the funeral.

For help arranging a funeral and with estate administration following the passing of a loved one, contact the Steele Rose team who will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your situation. Call us on 01722 410009 or get in touch via our website contact form.

Throughout the country, businesses are celebrating ‘Remember a Charity in Your Will Week’. This event is an opportunity to help raise awareness of the ways in which we can use wills to support charities and to celebrate those people who are positively impacting our community. Here at Steele Rose we are celebrating the local champions who work for these charities and providing guidance for people who would like to consider leaving a charitable donation in their will.

Whilst some people may not be aware that they can leave a donation to charity in their will, it is never too late or early to consider drafting a will. Our team at Steele Rose, Probate Specialists based in Stratford-sub-Castle in Salisbury, provide services that help to guide people through the process of preparing or executing a will. We take pride in this process as the donations received from these gifts deeply impact these charities and help support their work within our community.

Additionally, we have sponsored and worked closely with several Salisbury based charities over the past few years such as Alabaré, Horatio’s Garden and Salisbury Hospice. During this time, these charities have provided invaluable work to support our local community and arguably, without them, many of the people who they have helped would not be where they are today. Despite the ongoing difficulties from 2020 these charities and their volunteers continue their essential work.

Through the support and sponsorship that we have provided for these charities, we have observed countless incredible stories of comfort, inspiration, encouragement and guidance. We wanted to find a way to highlight the inspiring and positive work that these charities have achieved and what better way to do this, than re-telling their stories for the local community to share.

With our focus on supporting these charities, we have recently reached out to individuals within these institutions to learn more about their stories and first-hand accounts of how the support they have given and received has helped them and others – from Alabaré, Horatio’s Garden, and Salisbury Hospice. All of these rely heavily on public donations to continue their fantastic and integral work that they do within our community.

Making a donation to one of these charities or leaving one in your will, could be the key to helping someone get the support they need and help them survive the challenges they face.

It is also an incredible way to use your legacy and give back to your local community or simply to say a big thank you to the organisations that may have helped you through a challenging time. To find out more about planning or making changes to your will and to leave a legacy donation, you can contact Steele Rose on 01722 410009 or to make a donation to any of the charities featured in this good news story, you can visit each of their websites or contact them using the details below.

Alabaré – 01722 322 882 –
Horatio’s Garden – 01722 326834 –
Salisbury Hospice Charity – 01722 416353 –

Alabaré – Charitable Champion 2020 – Terence

Terence is a team leader for the rough sleeper drop-in service at Alabaré in Salisbury. This service provides hot food and drinks, hot showers, a laundry service, and essential items such as toiletries and clean clothing for people with nowhere else to go. Terence has also previously worked for the re-settlement service provided by Alabaré which helps provide support for people moving into new accommodation to help them get back on their feet.

Terence has been working and volunteering for Alabaré for three years and chose to do so after they supported him through his recovery from alcoholism. Having once run his own business, he greatly missed working during his recovery began volunteering at Alabaré as soon as he could. He had this to say about his experience:

“If it wasn’t for charities like Alabaré, life would have been more difficult to ‘pick yourself up’. I had always worked and I had my own business. For years and years, I was drinking too much and you don’t always notice that things are falling away and going wrong.

I was fortunate to already have certain skills to help me pick myself up, whereas some other people, if they had a chaotic life, may not have the confidence to recover. Encouraging people to volunteer gives them opportunities and builds confidence.

Working in this large hostel can be challenging at times and everyone that works here are the same; hard-working, dedicated and say that the good days outweigh the bad. We’ve got some great volunteers here and across the country.”

Terence is a shining example of how the help and support provided by Alabaré can change lives for the better, and because of it, he has now found a new direction in life that he is passionate about and is able to give back to the community.

Horatio’s Garden – Charitable Champions 2020 – Katrina, Debra, Peter and Wendy

Prior to all volunteering being halted as a result of Covid-19, Katrina worked with Debra and others as part of the clean-up crew in Horatio’s Garden on a Monday.

Whilst in lockdown, the volunteers set up a Horatio’s Garden WhatsApp group which helped everyone to keep in touch. Debra had mentioned that the spinal centre was desperate for help and Katrina thought that this would a brilliant way to continue volunteering and supporting patients.

She has been visiting the spinal centre from 3:30pm – 7:30pm every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, bringing a different traybake with her every time. Needless to say, they’ve become legendary amongst patients and staff! Together with Debra, Katrina’s been doing all sorts of jobs on the ward to help the nursing teams out and they’ve both come to know all the patients really well. Sundays are particularly challenging days for the patients spending time in the hospital, especially as they are currently unable to have visitors, so their company on these days are a well-needed form of support.

Katrina said:

“The camaraderie on the ward amongst patients, staff and volunteers is second to none. Patients have been able to confide in us, but there’s also been a lot of laughter! It always ends up being such a fun-filled time, with plenty of warmth and amusement. It’s certainly lifted my spirits and you get back so much more than you give. You pass on just a little bit of kindness and it comes back to you in spades.”

Back in December, Debra had an operation on her foot that entailed her to three months of non-weight bearing recovery, meaning she couldn’t come to Horatio’s Garden to volunteer.

After being at home for all this time, she was looking forward to coming back to the garden. Alas, she made it in for one week in March before the country was put into lockdown.

Despite living in Wokingham, Debra generously responded to the call for volunteers at Salisbury District Hospital, driving for over an hour every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to join Katrina on their 3:30pm – 7:30pm shifts.

Alongside Katrina, Debra has been helping out with absolutely everything, from feeding and cleaning to brushing people’s hair and placing small jars of flowers on the windowsills.

Debra said:

“The smallest of things have made such a huge difference to patients and staff. Volunteering on the ward has helped me immensely too during the COVID crisis. It’s certainly been hard work, but it’s been enormously fun too and I’ve enjoyed every minute. The patients have been amazing and inspirational; I’ve become attached to them all.”

Peter, has been volunteering at the garden at Salisbury Hospital to maintain it throughout the duration of the pandemic and lockdown.

“I know, from talking to patients, how important having the peaceful sanctuary of Horatio’s Garden is to their rehabilitation. I felt privileged to be asked to help the Head Gardener, Stephen, maintain the garden during lockdown, at a time when many people were unable to continue their work.”

Regular volunteer Wendy, who has been helping patients with their meals and other important tasks, has explained how volunteers benefit from the peace and sanctity of Horatio’s Garden, as much as the hospital patients do:

“The peaceful haven that Horatio’s Garden provides has come even more into focus. It has looked especially beautiful this summer and was well-used by so many patients. And for those that are not yet clinically able to leave the ward, it has been lovely to be able to tell them about this special place and give them something truly wonderful to look forward to. I have always felt privileged to be involved in a charity which has such a positive impact on the quality of life of people who are coming to terms with genuinely life changing injuries.”

Salisbury Hospice Charity – Charitable Champion 2020 – Juliette

Salisbury Hospice Charity was initially established in 1981 to provide palliative care and support for terminally ill patients within the Salisbury area, the hospice has grown over the years and is now able to accommodate up to ten patients in its purpose-built facility.

The hospice provides nursing and medical care, emotional and practical support, welfare advice, occupational and physiotherapy, complementary therapies, spiritual care and creative activities. Care is provided for people in their own homes and through non-residential and inpatient services at Salisbury Hospice.

To ensure that more people in the local community have a better end of life experience, the hospice also shares specialist skills through education and support for other care providers, such as GPs, district nurses, hospitals and care homes.

Salisbury Hospice’s specialist multi-disciplinary team provides care and support for patients with complex needs arising from advanced, progressive, life-limiting illnesses, and also for their families and carers.

Juliette is a proud mother who was working as a care assistant for around twenty years at Salisbury hospital before the pandemic. From our conversation with her and how she talks about her work, it is clear that she is deeply passionate about providing end of life care. As the country went into lockdown, hospitals were forced to stop staff from making outpatient appointments so there was suddenly areas of the hospital which became overstaffed, the number of shifts that were available became limited and Juliette had free time to fill.

Wanting to continue her passion Juliette started volunteering at Salisbury Hospice, when shielding began there was a huge decrease in the amount of help the workforce could offer which meant there were more ways in which Juliette could become involved. Since then Juliette has been running errands and doing administrative work to help out, she has said that she has seen a huge amount of support from everyone at the hospice throughout the lockdown and how it really is a privilege to help.

Salisbury Hospice has told us that Juliette is a wonderful person and that without her over the past few months, they would have struggled to keep up with some of the essential work they do for our community.

Juliette’s children, Amy and Jon, who are part of the local theatre group, Starcast, would normally be busy helping out at charitable events to raise money to ensure the Hospice can keep providing the high-quality support for those who need it. However, due to the lockdown, there has been a massive decrease in the number of fundraising events that the hospice and its volunteers were able to run this year.

Online DIY Probate Tool Launching Soon!

We offer legal and administrative services to help people through the process of estate administration after losing a loved one. We also offer free advice on will writing and the probate process and are able to take on the administration tasks involved in distributing a will, so you don’t have to.

Our friendly and knowledgeable team can help with more than just administration, such as setting up trusts and advising you on legal matters.

We will soon be launching a free-to-use ‘DIY’ Probate tool online called the Probate Machine.  This will allow you to complete the probate process yourself, whilst choosing only to get professional help with select areas, helping to manage the costs compared to using professional services.

For advice on probate or more information and to be kept updated about the soon-to-be-released Probate Machine, you can contact the Steele Rose team on 01722 410009, or email You can also follow Steele Rose and share your charity stories on Facebook: @steelerose and Instagram: @steeleroselaw.

At Steele Rose we believe in the importance of staying connected.

We have always understood how important it is to maintain a strong presence within our community, especially through difficult times. We are continuing to support charities, hospices and any other organisations that need us as well as providing uninterrupted services to our community.

Whilst we appreciate that there may be uncertainty for the foreseeable future, our team are here to help. By calling Steele Rose you are under no obligation to use our services.

It can sometimes be confusing as to how long probate will take.

To make it as easy as possible we will outline the causes that largely lengthens the time taken for completion. As well this, we aim to define the variables contributing to the question of how long does probate take.

What Factors Contribute to How Long Probate Takes?

Obtaining the Grant of Probate is an essential part of the estate administration process. When trying to understand this process, one of the elements to consider is the length of time probate will take to complete.

Executors are unable to administer the estate until the grant has been issued. Ideally, this would be achieved within three to five weeks. Occasionally complications can occur, for instance inheritance tax to pay or mistakes in the submitted forms which can slow the Grant of Probate.

The primary factor affecting the completion of probate is the complexity of the estate. This is a time-consuming practice which deals with the collection of all of the assets and the selling or disposal of these in accordance with the will.

Another factor affecting the Grant of Probate can be where various institutions (such as banks, insurance companies and investment agencies) work to their own timescales which results in extending the administration period.

There are circumstances which can delay the completion of probate by two years, such as an interruption in a property sale. Thankfully, this is a rare occurrence.

Once all assets have been sold or transferred, the estate accounts can be completed. Any outstanding tax can be paid prior to beneficiaries receiving their legacies. This step can take a substantial period of time as it is dependant upon the time taken for beneficiaries to respond with information.

How Long Does Probate Take If Administered by a Layperson?

It is possible to administer the estate oneself. However, as mentioned probate is not an easy task. The probate process can be stressful, time-consuming and expensive if not completed in line with strict regulations. We believe it is certainly worth, if nothing else, understanding what you are paying for.

Probate is for many, an unfamiliar and complicated process faced at a distressing time. If you are unsure if the estate needs probate or you do not know what you need to do, please do not hesitate in contacting Dean Steele on 01722 410009.

The opportunity of claiming against an estate even if there are no provisions for them in the Will or the Intestacy Rules is given to the following people:

  • Family Members (blood line relatives e.g. a spouse or child of the deceased)
  • Someone who was financially dependent on the Deceased.
  • A beneficiary under the Will
  • Someone who is owed money (debt claims)
  • Someone who was promised something by the Deceased

There are five main areas where wills can be contested

Mental Capacity – When the testator makes a Will, they must be of sound mind. Broadly speaking the individual must know what they are doing, understand the consequences of including and excluding beneficiaries and have knowledge of the value of the estate. They must know that they are signing a will and approve of its contents.

Lack of valid execution – The Will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two others who are neither under the age of 18 or a beneficiary of the Will.

Undue influence – The testator must not have been unduly influenced, coerced or been under duress at any stage during the making of the Will.

Fraud or Forgery – Contesting a Will is possible if you believe there was Fraud or Forgery involved during or after the creation of the Will. This area mainly includes forged signatures. Keep in mind if a beneficiary is removed from the Will after a fraudulent accusation the Will may be invalidated.

Rectification and construction claims – A Will may be contested where the testator’s wishes were not correctly or clearly written into the document either due to a failure in the person preparing the Will or a clerical error.

Probate is for many, an unfamiliar and complicated procedure faced at a distressing time, if you are not sure if the estate needs Probate or you do not know what you need to do as an Executor please do not hesitate in contacting Dean Steele on 01722 410009 to discuss the estate administration.

By accepting free advice you are under no obligation to use our services.

The appointment of an executor of a will is made on the creation of the document by the testator (The person for whom the will is made). Administering the estate and carrying out the wishes of the testator upon their death is the responsibility of the executor.

What are my roles as an executor of a will?

There are many tasks that an executor must complete; it is easiest to group these into three main areas of probate: The administration, legal and tax.

Administration consists of tasks such as taking inventory of the deceased’s possessions and debts, notifying and paying off bills for all relevant organisations and distribution of the estate. The most time-consuming task of the three is the estate administration.

The Legal side consists of applying for a grant of probate; this must be done before the executor of a will is able to carry out the majority of the estate administration. They must also identify and deal with claims that are made against the estate.

Finally, the executor needs to complete relevant tax returns and pay any inheritance tax that is due (this is normally paid before the Grant of Probate is issued). This must also be done for both income and capital gains tax; all outstanding tax must be paid.

I do not wish to be the Executor of a will

If an executor of a will refuses to take out the grant of probate, any substitute executor named in the will can step forward and apply for the grant. If the circumstance arises in which there are no executors available or are named in the will; beneficiaries can then apply to administer the estate.

Probate is for many, an unfamiliar and complicated procedure faced at a distressing time, if you are not sure if the estate needs Probate or you do not know what you need to do as an Executor please do not hesitate in contacting Dean Steele on 01722 410009 to discuss the estate administration.

By accepting free advice you are under no obligation to use our services.

Formerly known as ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’, today’s Lasting Power of Attorney replaced EPAs in 2007 – making the process more streamlined and accessible. A Lasting Power of Attorney is something you should look ahead to in the event that a loss of mental capacity becomes a barrier to making decisions regarding your future.

While none of us wants to consider losing our mental capacity, having an LPA in place will ensure your best interests can be met, as well make sure any assets you have are readily available to contribute towards your ongoing care. A reduction in mental capacity can happen suddenly – due to a stroke for example, or more gradually as dementia develops. Act now and you can protect yourself and your loved ones from a mountain of obstacles to climb if there is no Lasting Power of Attorney is in place.

If a loved one is unable to manage their own affairs or make their own decisions regarding their personal welfare, you may need to obtain a form of authority to act on their behalf. If they have already made a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney then this should be used in the first instance. However, if someone loses mental capacity before having the chance to make a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney, an application to the Court will have to be made for what is called Deputyship.

Who can be a Deputy?

The only legal requirements to become a deputy is that the person is over 18. Deputyship is usually given to a close friend, family member or Law firm, in some circumstance’s Local authorities or organisations such as The Money Carer Foundation have been approved as deputy by The Court of Protection.

There are two types of Deputy

  • Property and Financial Affairs– Paying bills and organising a pension.
  • Personal Welfare– Making decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after.

What is the Difference between getting Deputyship and getting Power of Attorney?

Do deputies need power of attorney?
Power of Attorney enables a person to act on your behalf. It must be given while the donor (the person who wants you to act) has mental capacity. If a deputy is required that means the person is mentally incapable and so unable to create an ordinary power of attorney.

Applying for Deputyship can be a daunting procedure. At Steele Rose, we have a number of experts who can assist you every step of the way, providing valuable support at a difficult time. For more information or to speak to a member of the team please call 01722 410009.

By accepting free advice, you are under no obligation to use our services.

The cost of probate can be a very confusing matter, with vast differences in who charges what and how they calculate their quote. We will try to address the amounts you should and should not be paying, the methods companies use to work out quotes, and things to watch out for when getting a quote.

The Methods

The cost to have a probate specialist take over the estate administration for you will vary from estate to estate. It takes in factors such as size of the property, number of beneficiaries, and the amount of bank accounts, to name a few. There are multiple methods as to how a probate specialist calculates the quote.

Hourly Rate

An hourly rate for services is one way the quote for estate administration is calculated, this usually falls between £100 and £250 per hour. This can swing either way, some find it saves them money because the probate is simple and does not take much of the specialists’ time. Others can find this a bank breaking method as the estate takes an eye watering amount of time as new barriers begin to crop up that prolong the case.

Percentage of the Estate

Taking a flat percentage of the estate is the common means of working out the quote. This can be as low as 1% to as extortionate as 6%. Law firms sit around the 2% mark on average. The estates complexity plays a role in working out the percentage. Some also like to use both methods in a quote, for example they will charge 1% of the estate, and they will also charge £100/hour for additional work.

Shall not exceed

A good thing to ask for is a ‘shall not exceed’ quote, the hint is in the name, they give you a figure that the probate fees cannot exceed, most firms will be happy to give you this, keep in mind that it is at times quite high and occasionally it backfires when the firm sees it as a ‘happy to pay up to mark’, so they ramp up the charges to the amount and you end up costing yourself more, it all depends on the firm. I recommend having a talk with the specialist first, it’s a good way to give you some background on the company.

Most Preferred

The cost of probate does not often fall below £2000-£3000. Each method has their pros and cons however for the most part Executors prefer the percentage system as they have an exact number to work with in relation to planning out expenses.

Probate is for many, an unfamiliar and complicated procedure faced at a distressing time, if you are not sure if the estate needs Probate or you do not know what you need to do as an Executor please do not hesitate in contacting Dean Steele on 01722 410009 to discuss the estate administration.

By accepting free advice you are under no obligation to use our services.

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