Wills and Probate

It is never too early to make arrangements and manage your business affairs in the event of your death. Making a Will now can save further heartache for your loved ones and stop any disputes arising between them ensuring that your affairs are managed exactly how you wished.

Our Probate lawyers provide a full Wills drafting service and are able to advise you on basic tax planning matters and Inheritance Tax and the various ways in which you can hold property to maximise your tax allowances.

Contact a member of our team today for advice including:

Do not put off making a Will. It is as important for young people to make a Will as it is for older people. Do not assume that if you do not bother making a Will, your Wife or Husband will inherit everything. She or He may not and if the estate goes to other members of the family there may be Inheritance Tax to pay which could leave your spouse with financial difficulties.

There are many reasons to make or update your Will. Questions to consider:

  • If you have a Will did you make it years ago when family and financial services were totally different and is it still relevant to your circumstances today?
  • Were you advised to make a discretionary Will in the past? The law has now changed and a discretionary Will might not now be what you need.
  • Do either or both of you have children from a previous marriage or relationship? If you do and you wish to ensure that both families ultimately receive a fair share of your joint assets on death then you need to have a professionally drawn Will prepared to achieve this.
  • Do either of you suffer from a disability or chronic health condition that might mean at some time in the future there is a foreseeable likelihood of one of you having to go into long term care? If so, a properly drawn Will should enable you to ensure that a significant part of your assets go to your children or other family members and not be tied up funding retirement home fees indefinitely.
  • Do you have a child with special needs and do you wish to set up a trust in your Will to ensure he or she is looked after and provided for.

Costs of a Will
Basic Single Will - £150 plus vat, totalling £180
Basic Mirror Wills - £250 plus vat, totalling £300
Single Life Interest Trust Will - £300 plus vat, totalling £360
Couple Life Interest Trust Wills - £450 plus vat, totalling £540
Single Discretionary Trust Will - £500 plus vat, totalling £600
Couple Discretionary Trust Will - £750 plus vat, totalling £900

As well as providing Will Services and preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney, we also provide specialist legal services on registering Enduring Powers of Attorney and on full applications to the Court of Protection where a person loses mental capacity but there is no Lasting Power of Attorney in place (see relevant information pages.)

More and more people are now becoming proactive in terms of planning for their old age and we are happy to be part of that planning process. We also provide advice on Inheritance Tax issues, protecting the home and minimising residential home or nursing home fees.

Probate: Range of Costs

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.

We confirm our fees are: £595 + vat along with Court fees and oath fees. If, however, you require a grant and an IHT400 is required then our fees are £995 plus vat.

We will handle this process for you. This quote is for estates where:

  • The estate is relatively simple
  • There is a valid will or a straight forward intestacy claim in the absence of a will
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC

Disbursements included in this fee:-

  • Probate application fee of £273

As part of our fixed fee we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experience probate solicitor to work on your matter
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf including obtaining the probate

We will rely on information provided by you to us in respect of the value of each asset and liability at the date of death. We will draft the PA1P/PA1A or the Online Application and Statement of truth as is applicable for your approval. We will draft the tax forms for your approval and extract the Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration.

Once in receipt of the Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration, we will forward the documents to you so that you can proceed to deal with the collection and distribution of the estate.

Time Scale from when the application is submitted is approximately 16-20 weeks until probate is issued.

The first stage in the administration process involves writing to the various banks and organisations to obtain probate valuations of each of the assets and liabilities in the estate. This aspect of our work may in some cases involve arranging for probate valuations to be carried out by stockbrokers (for shares) and by estate agents (for property).

During stage one we will also provide you with advice regarding the additional searches we recommend. It also involves writing to pension providers to obtain certain information about pension plans and HMRC regarding lifetime tax which will be needed to complete the probate forms later. During stage one, we can usually arrange for one of the banks to release a cheque to pay for the funeral invoice. Once the banks are notified of the death the accounts will be frozen until the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration are obtained and the only funds that can be released are to pay for funeral expenses and or inheritance tax.

Stage one, the process of information gathering, usually takes between eight and twelve weeks depending on how long the relevant organisations take to supply us with the information and further, dependent upon the size of the estate. In some cases, it may take longer than this, but we will keep you updated throughout the process.

Our charging rates are £218 to £255 plus vat per hour depending upon the person dealing with your file. There is a charge of £21.80 - £25.50 for each letter or email written and for each telephone call made and received. There is a charge of £10.90 - £12.75 for each letter or email received. In addition to this, there is a value element of 1% of the gross estate added to the charge. This is because the value is a reflection of the importance of the matter.

As part of our fee we will:-

  • Collect in all assets of the estate
  • Discharge all liabilities of the estate
  • Prepare Estate and Distribution Accounts
  • Distribute legacies to any beneficiaries

Stage two involves drafting the probate forms including any relevant tax forms and the PA1P/PA1A if it is a paper application or if not, an online probate application.

The PA1P/PA1A or statement of truth and accompanying forms are then sent to the Probate Registry for inspection and in most cases the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration is issued within 3 – 4 months of receipt by the Registry. Occasionally, the Registry may raise further enquiries or request that extra forms or statements are to be signed by the Executors/Administrators.

Stage three usually takes between 3 and 6 months from the drafting stage to receiving the Grant of Probate. This largely depends upon the backlog at the Probate Registry at the time the application is submitted.

Once the Grant of Probate is received, Stage three involves registering the Grant of Probate with the various banks and organisations and asking them to close the account/asset in question. It may also involve arranging for the sale of shares and property.

Once the assets have been realised and there is cash available any outstanding bills or debts relating to the estate will then be paid and confirmation will be sought from the organisations in question that no further sums are due from the estate. Stage three usually takes in the region of six to eight weeks but may be longer if there are substantial assets in the estate or if shares have to be sold. In cases where a property has to be sold this can take much longer as it really depends on how quickly a buyer is found for the property and how long the transaction takes to complete.

Once all the assets have been cashed in and the bills have been paid, we can move to the fourth and final stage of the administration process namely, winding up the estate. The last stage involves the following:

  • Finalising the income tax position with Inland Revenue and paying any additional income tax that may become due for the administration period.
  • Ensuring that the DWP “2 month” rule has expired. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have two months from the date of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration to make a claim against the estate.
  • Preparing the final estate accounts and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries or transferring assets such as property/shares into the names of beneficiaries.

The timescale for stage four varies greatly from file to file depending on the size of the estate and other factors but typically it can take between three to five months, and longer in exceptional cases where the tax affairs are complex or delays occur which are beyond our control. Taking into account the four stages above a typical estate which is liable for inheritance tax can take anywhere between 9 and 18 months to administer and sometimes longer if for example there are difficulties in selling a property or other exceptional circumstances arise.

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