Thank you for looking at our probate services. Coping with the death of a person can bring a mixture of emotions and the legal side of dealing with a person’s death can often be overwhelming and confusing. Having compassionate, experienced legal advice can make this difficult situation much easier on you and your loved ones.
Whether the deceased person left a Will or whether there is substantial wealth and property involved, the sense of burden can increase. Where a Will is in existence, the Executors will need to apply for the grant of probate which will give them the legal right to administer the estate. Where there is no Will in existence, the Will is invalid, or it does not specify Executor, an Administrator will need to be appointed.
We have an experienced team who can assist you with every aspect of the probate process, reducing the administrative burden and advising sensitively on key decisions which need to be made when managing an estate. We are aware that administering an estate comes at a time of grief and high emotion, and that most people do not know the processes and legal requirements involved.
We will give you a clear time frame of how long probate should take and will keep you and any beneficiaries advised throughout.
You will have the confidence that you are our priority, with our aim being that any member of the team is available to speak with you when you need some clarity and certainty at any stage in the process. We feel this provides reassurance and gives you an outlet for any concerns that you may have. Fees are generally paid out of the estate, so there may not be a need for you to fund the administration.
The fees involved in a probate matter can vary and this will depend on the individual circumstances involved.
We offer both fixed fees and an hourly rate charging rate, whereby you will be charged for each hour of work undertaken.
At the outset, we will provide you with a detailed client care letter setting out who will be working with you and what work will be done. Also included will be our costs information.
We work as a team with each element of the work done by the appropriate member of the team. We charge on a time spent basis and your client care letter will detail everyone’s hourly rate.
Straightforward non-taxable estates - £8,000 - £10,000 plus VAT
There is a valid, straightforward will
There is no more than one property and this passes automatically to the joint owner
There are a small number of bank accounts and certificated shareholdings
There are a small number of adult beneficiaries and you know them all
There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
The work we do may include:
Valuing the assets and liabilities of the estate.
Reporting the inheritance tax position to HMRC on the shorter inheritance tax form.
Applying to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate.
Collecting in the cash assets of the estate.
Paying the liabilities of the estate.
Paying legacies to those named in the Will.
Dealing with income tax matters where no formal reporting is needed.
Complex estates - £10,000 - £20,000 plus VAT
There is a more complex Will with for example, trusts are set up and there are multiple legacies or beneficiaries some of whom are minors.
The assets are numerous and include property, investments, bonds and bank accounts and significant personal possessions which require professional valuation.
There is inheritance tax payable.
In addition to the work required for a non-taxable estate, the work we do may include:
Dealing with all aspects of reporting on inheritance tax to HMRC including claiming all available exemptions and allowances, and arranging for payment of the tax to be made to HMRC.
Dealing with all aspects of the property including liaison with utility companies, managing any maintenance requirements and arranging for insurance.
Liaising with share registrars to enable the sale or transfer of investments.
Liaising with accountants regarding formal income tax and capital gains tax reporting.
Highly complex estates - our costs will be from £20,000 plus VAT
In addition to the work required for non-taxable and complex estates, the work we do may include:
Dealing with overseas assets and advising on any domicile issues arising.
Dealing with any properties other than the principal residence.
Dealing with agricultural property.
Dealing with business property or interests.
Advising on any associated trusts where the deceased was, for example, a trustee or a beneficiary.
Liaising with specialist colleagues who deal with any claims arising against the estate, for example, by a person claiming the Will is invalid or that they have not been properly provided for.
In addition to our costs, there will be additional expenses, including - :
Grant of Probate application fee - £155 and £1.50 per copy
Land Registry search fee - £3 per property
Bankruptcy search fee - £2 per beneficiary
Placing Statutory Notices in The London Gazette and a local newspaper – this protects executors against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
Our experience shows us that the majority of estates take between 9 and 12 months to finalise. There are exceptions to this, and once we have discussed the circumstances of the estate, we will be able to guide you further.