Wills & Probate
Few of us want to think about a time when we won’t be around, but making a will is the best way of ensuring that our wishes, thoughts and feelings still matter when we’re gone. Whatever the size of your estate, we will make sure that your wishes are fully understood and recorded, and that the assets you’ve spent a lifetime working for are passed on to those you care most about.
For larger estates or more complex wills, our expertise will help you mitigate any Inheritance or Capital Gains Tax. We can advise on whether it would be useful, for practical reasons or from a tax planning point of view, to create a Trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries.
If you’re planning ahead, we can also provide advice on the appointment of an attorney, usually a close relative, friend or legal adviser, to manage your affairs and make decisions regarding your welfare if a time comes when you’re no longer willing or able to shoulder that responsibility yourself.
Call our Wills and Probate team on 01432 276276 and let us help you plan ahead to give you the reassurance that comes from knowing that your and your family’s interests are properly safeguarded.
- Tax planning
- Estate administration
- Lasting Powers of Attorney
Our team has many years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to probate and estate administration.
‘Probate’ is the term often used to describe the legal process of applying to the Probate Registry to obtain proof of authority to deal with a deceased person’s estate.
The generic name given to the document issued by the Probate Registry is a ‘Grant of Representation’. This may be:
|Grant of Probate||This is where there is a valid Will and Executors able and willing to act.|
|Grant of Letters of Administration (with Will annexed)||This is where there is a valid Will but no executors able or willing to act.|
|Grant of Letters of Administration||This is where there is no valid Will and, therefore, the deceased is said to have died ‘intestate'.|
What is the process followed and how long does it take?
|1. Initial meeting to discuss administration process of the deceased’s estate.||1 - 2 Hours
|2. Preparing a schedule of UK and non-UK Assets and Liabilities and obtaining probate valuations|
• (Assets include property, bank accounts, stocks and shares)
• (Liabilities include funeral expenses, outstanding debts and overpayments)
4 – 8 weeks from taking instructions
|3. Preparing the Inheritance tax forms and supplementary forms, if required and arranging for any Inheritance Tax to be paid.||1-2 week
|4. Applying to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Representation and the Grant being issued.||3 weeks
|5. Collecting in the Deceased’s assets and settling liabilities.||4-6 weeks
|6. Preparing Estate Accounts, Tax Returns and final distribution.||4-6 weeks
- The above is a simplified process of what happens throughout an administration of an estate and is not an exhaustive list.
- Where we are dependent on third parties such as HMRC or DWP it can be more difficult to predict how long estate administration may take.
What does is Cost?
If you instruct us to administer the estate on behalf of the Executors (or Administrators) our charges will fall into one of the following brackets:
- £750.00 – £2,000.00 (Straight forward estates with 1 to 2 assets, no inheritance tax payable).
- £2,000.00 – £4,500.00 (several assets, no inheritance tax payable); or
- £4,500.00 – £7,500.00 (several assets, inheritance tax payable).
- £7,500.00 - £20,000.00+
All of the above are not inclusive of VAT and disbursements. Also, if there is a property to sell or transfer this will attract a separate fee to be charged by one of our property solicitors.
Costs are likely to be at the higher end of the range if:
- There are multiple beneficiaries;
- There is a property, multiple properties, Agricultural Property or Foreign Property.
- There are multiple bank accounts, investments or shareholdings (stocks and bonds);
- There is no valid Will and a genealogist needs to be instructed;
- There are disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets or there is a claim against the estate. In this instance it is likely that the matter would have to be referred to a specialist contentious probate solicitor;
- There is Inheritance Tax payable.
- The deceased had Business Interests.
- The deceased held Foreign Investments.
We will be able to provide you with an estimate at the initial meeting, taking into account the information that you provide us regarding the estate, and we will keep you updated with any revision of estimates throughout the administration of the estate if applicable.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
The disbursements that are likely to be included are:
- Probate application fee of £155;
- If any additional copies of the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) are required they will cost 50p per extra copy;
- £7 swearing of the oath (per Executor) or £5 swearing of the oath (Per Administrator) and £2 for swearing any additional documentation;
- Certainty Will Search of £114;
- Land Registry Search fee of £3;
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary);
- £150-£300 to post a Section 27 Trustee Act 1925 Notice in the London Gazette and a local newspaper. This is done to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.