Trusts & Estates


There are a whole host of reasons why families might use settlements and trusts, for example:

  • Asset protection
  • Passing assets through different generations of the family
  • Providing for vulnerable beneficiaries
  • Tax planning
  • Retention of control over gifted assets

Westcotts can assist with:

  • Liaising with solicitors in respect of drafting the settlement deeds
  • Administration of trusts; dealing with income and expenditure for trustees; annual accounts and tax returns; forms R185
  • Tax planning through use of trusts
  • Protection of capital for settlor and beneficiaries

Estates and Probate

Westcotts is licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate work in England and Wales. Probate Services are provided from our Exeter office.

Work that we can undertake

The service that we can provide can incorporate all of the following elements:

• Collating estate assets and liabilities
• Preparing IHT and probate forms and payment of IHT
• Submitting the formal application for probate
• Claiming of various reliefs including APR and BPR
• Conversion of assets into cash and payment of liabilities
• Preparation of estate accounts
• Distribution of estate to beneficiaries
• Identifying tax planning opportunities


We will always endeavour to give an indication of what our total charges will be before we start work but, because no two estates are ever the same, this will only ever be a guide to our costs. Ultimately our fee will computed by reference to time spent and to the knowledge and experience of the staff required to undertake the work. This time base charge is calculated by reference to the following (current) rates:

  • Partner – £270 plus VAT
  • Director – £155 plus VAT
  • Senior – £100 plus VAT

Our fees start at £2,000 for the simplest estate with the average cost of handling an estate falling in the range of £4,000 to £7,500 plus VAT. Our charges would be higher than this for more complex cases.

We do not make a separate or additional charge based on the value of the estate.

In addition to our own charges there are other costs that need to met during the process. These will include:

  • Probate application fee £273*
  • Copies of sealed grants £1.50 per copy*
  • Placing a notice in the Gazette £99.90*

*Prices current at 1 March 2023


Obtaining grant of probate can take anywhere in the region of 3-6 months but sometimes considerably longer. This will be largely dependent on the availability of information from third parties.

Complaints and Compensation

It is, of course, our hope and expectation that the level of service we provide in respect of our estates and probate work will never give cause for complaint. If, however, you are unhappy with the work that we have done for you details of how to pursue the matter are set out in clause 22 of our Terms of Business, which can be found here.

In the event that you do not consider that we have dealt with your complaint satisfactorily you can refer the matter to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Further details on how to do this can be found here.

You can also direct your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6167, Slough SL1 0EH.

Finally, In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Compensation Scheme. Further details of this scheme are also available in clause 22 of our Terms of Business.

Specialist Advisers

Get in touch with one of our specialist advisers to see how we can help your business.

The specialist sectors we can advise you on include,
but are not limited to the following:

  • Agriculture
  • Charities and Not for Profit
  • Company accounts
  • IT Contractors
  • Manufacturing and Technology
  • Owner Managed Businesses
  • Professional Practices
  • Property and Construction
  • SME Market
  • Timeshare Industry
  • Tourism and Leisure

We're here

Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you want to achieve. With more offices in the South West than any other firm, we’re always on hand to offer face-to-face advice, opening doorways to a whole world of specialisms and services which are available to all of our clients whenever they need them.

To find your nearest office or get in touch with one of our specialist advisers, please go to our contact us page.

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