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PROBATE & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be a difficult and stressful time and this is recognised by our experienced and sensitive Private Client Team. We regularly act both as professional Executors and advise lay Executors as to their roles and responsibilities in the administration of an estate. Acting as an Executor can be a burdensome and lengthy task but we can provide guidance through the administration, from beginning to end.

We also provide costs estimates from the outset of the matter and can provide advice on Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax liabilities, as required.

Examples Of Our Experience: Estate Administration

We acted for the family of an elderly couple who were found to have passed away virtually at the same time as one another. The circumstances of their deaths, and therefore how their respective estates would devolve, was unclear. We advised the family on the inquest process and in respect of the resulting administration of the estates and probate procedures, locating a will for the gentleman and verifying the intestacy of his wife. We duly administered both estates, located heirs under the will and intestacy, and distributed the residue accordingly.

Examples Of Our Costs

Our emphasis is on providing a high quality service to our clients.  We provide a personal and responsive service.  We aim to respond to particular needs which arise during the course of the Estate Administration, many of which cannot be foreseen.  It is for this reason we do not offer fixed fees for any work of this nature.

During the course of the Estate Administration we will engage in regular communication, advising on time spent and costs incurred.

We do understand the importance of knowing the level of costs you are likely to incur when instructing us.  If you choose to instruct the firm, we will provide you with a detailed estimate of costs based on the information you provide.  This will be calculated by reference to the hourly rate of the team or individual you choose to represent you and the number of hours we estimate the work will take us from the information you have supplied.  Our currently hourly rates are displayed here.

For instructions to obtain only the Grant of Probate our fee is between £875 and £1,150 plus VAT.  This estimate applies where:

  • the Deceased died domiciled in England and Wales;
  • the Deceased died leaving a valid Will;
  • you are providing us with all of the financial information and details of liabilities at date of death; and
  • the Executors do not need to submit a full account to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

In the case of a straightforward Probate Administration where we handle the full process for you, (including the application for a Grant of Probate, the collection and distribution of the assets), we estimate that our costs will be between £2,500 and £4,000 plus VAT.  This estimate is for estates where:

  • all of the assets are in England and Wales;
  • there is a valid Will;
  • there is no more than one property (note that any costs relating to the sale or transfer of the property are not included in the above estimate);
  • there are no more than three bank or building society accounts;
  • there are no other intangible assets;
  • there are no more than three beneficiaries ;
  • there are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise, this will almost certainly lead to an increase in costs;
  • there is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs;
  • there are no claims made against the estate; and
  • you
    • provide us with timely instructions, information and documents necessary or desirable for us to perform our services;
    • notify us promptly of any changes or additions to instructions, information and documents previously provided by you or on your behalf; and
    • ensure that all information provided to us is complete in all material aspects and is not misleading.

The exact costs will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.  For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs are likely to be at the lower end of the range.  We also charge £10.00 plus VAT for administering any bank transfers.

In addition to our costs, there are fees that we may have to pay to a third party (called disbursements).  It is likely that the following disbursements will be incurred as part of the Probate Administration process:-

Probate Application Fee: currently £155 plus 50p per office copy of the Grant.  The Government has proposed significant changes to Probate Application Fees commencing in April 2019.  To see the proposed fees, go to http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7929/CBP-7929.pdf.

Advertisement in the London Gazette: this protects the Executors/Administrators against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.  It is desirable for you to consider whether or not this advertisement is necessary.  If it is, the costs are estimated to be in the region of £175 to £250 plus VAT.

Advertisement in a local newspaper: also to help to protect the Executors/Administrators against unexpected claims.  If it is necessary, the cost is expected to be in the region of £100 to £175 plus VAT.

If your matter falls outside these parameters, please contact us to obtain an estimate of our costs.

What is involved?

As part of the Probate Administration process, we will

  • identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries;
  • identify the type of Probate application you will require;
  • obtain the relevant documents required to make the application;
  • complete the Probate Application;
  • draft a Statement of Truth for you to sign;
  • make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf;
  • obtain the Grant of Probate; and
  • collect in and distribute the estate assets.

How long will this take?

In the case of a straightforward Probate Administration, the time taken is likely to range between six and nine months (not including the sale of a house).   Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes three to four months.  Collecting assets then follows, which can take between one to three months.  Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets which normally takes two to four months.  This assumes that you provide information to us on a timely basis, that information is accurate and there is no delay outside of our control (for example, with the courts).

KEY CONTACTS

Carol Morris

Carol Morris

Partner

"At all times it was clear that Carol was acting in my interests which was very reassuring"

Richard Mullings

Richard Mullings

Partner

"It is not often that you can say you are completely happy with the service provided, but this is one…

Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons

Head of Private Client & Agriculture

"I was dealt with in a professional, courteous, but also friendly manner. Everything was explained clearly"

Kate Nairn

Kate Nairn

Associate and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

"Kate is easy to talk to, sympathetic, knowledgeable and gives good easy to understand advice and answers to difficult questions…

Steven Pipe

Steven Pipe

Associate Solicitor

"Steven was very knowledgeable in his field and extremely professional throughout"

Elizabeth Stilwell

Elizabeth Stilwell

Partner

“I was very impressed with your efficiency and delighted to deal with you”

Robina Pighills

Robina Pighills

Solicitor

"Once again thank you so much for all your sound and valued advice"

Kate Day

Kate Day

Legal Executive

‘Kate was personable and efficient, she put us at ease throughout the process’

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