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Wills, Trusts & Probate

There are times when you need to protect the assets you've built up for your family over years of hard work. Our team are here to advise you of the options available and the best ways to achieve your goals.

Probate

When you're coming to terms with the death of a loved one, sorting out their estate can seem like a daunting task, the Private Client team have therefore structured their support to be flexible to cater for your individual needs.

As well as each estate being unique, we can tailor our services to the level of involvement you require from us. There are three main tiers of support we can offer. Each tier can of course be adapted to you so that we become more or less involved on your behalf as required. 

Whether you would like to hand over all of the work to us to coordinate all stages or whether you would prefer to manage the process yourself and have us as a consultant role to support as and when required.

It is important that at the outset we understand exactly what support you require from us so that we can provide you with an accurate estimate of our costs. As it is usual for things to change throughout an administration of an estate, for example the discovery of new assets or a family dispute, we can keep you updated with regard to our fees as frequently as you like, say monthly or bi-monthly. We can then include a full fee review after 6 months or on receipt of the grant of representation as this is a natural break in the administration process.

We will invite you into the office so that we can meet with you to discuss the estate and the ways in which we can support you throughout the process. From the information gathered in this meeting, we will be able to prepare terms of business, which include an estimate of our costs and anticipated disbursements, for your approval. We do not start work until those terms of business have been approved and signed by you. 

The profiles of the lawyers in our Private Client Team (together with details of when they qualified and their areas of expertise) can be found HERE.

The explanation and cost estimates are broken down in to three tier support packages:

Support Package One – Full Service:

This is our highest level of service. We would generally carry out all of the work required in relation to the administration of the estate. We refer to this as the ‘suitcase’ job as traditionally in our initial meeting with the executor we are handed a suitcase of documentation and we just ‘get on with it’. You may instruct us on this basis if you are busy with work or family commitments or perhaps you live abroad. As an executor, you would need to do very little as we ensure that everything is done for you.

The fees for this package start at £1,495 plus VAT and do not include any third party fees (disbursements). Please see the two case studies below for a breakdown of the support packages.

Support Package Two – Grant Only:

If you have time on your hands but want some help with the ‘legal bit’ then this option is for you. Generally we would complete all of the legal documentation on your behalf but would leave the initial investigative work to you.

We ask that you ascertain the assets and liabilities in the estate, notify all utility companies and ensure that any assets remained properly insured. On receipt of this information we can then draft the Inheritance Tax return and deal with the application to the Probate Registry in order to obtain the grant of representation.  

When this is obtained we hand it over to you for you to collect the assets, prepare the accounts and distribute to the beneficiaries.

The fees for this package start at £995.00 plus VAT and do not include any third party fees (disbursements). Please see the two case studies below for a breakdown of the support packages.

Support Package Three – Consultancy:

If you are confident about carrying out most of the work yourself but would like to check in with us from time to time to ensure that you carry out your role properly then this is the service level for you.

You might want ad hoc advice as to how to protect yourself as executor, what happens if you cannot locate a beneficiary or check your IHT forms for you. Whatever your requirements, we are sure we can add value.

The fees for this package start at £495.00 plus VAT and do not include any third party fees (disbursements). Please see the two case studies below for a breakdown of the support packages.

 

Essentially, we make a charge for our probate services based on how long it takes us to complete the work as we operate on an hourly fee basis. Each person in our team (we call them fee earners) has a different hourly charge out rate depending on their experience.

Trainee  - £100 + VAT

Paralegal  - £155 + VAT

Solicitor  - £165 +VAT - £200 + VAT

Associate Solicitor  - £205 + VAT - £230 + VAT

Partner  - £235 + VAT - £250 + VAT

As each estate is unique both in value and in makeup, our costs for dealing with an estate differ each time. For example if you take two estates, each valued at £850,000 they will consist of different assets and the inheritance tax treatment of the estate will be different depending on the allowances available.

In order to be as helpful and clear as possible about our pricing, below we have set out two case studies setting out our different levels of service and associated costs.

Case Study One

You, along with your Brother are appointed as executor of your late Mother’s Will. You have two younger siblings, meaning there are a total of 4 children. The Will leaves everything to you and your siblings in equal shares. Your late Father passed away several years ago and he left everything to your Mother when he died. Neither of your parents made any lifetime gifts. 

Your Mother owned the family home at the date of her death valued at £400,000. She had £10,000 in premium bonds, a car and three bank accounts each with a different bank or building society. She had no debts other than her funeral expenses. The value of her estate does not exceed £650,000. 

There is no Inheritance Tax to pay because your Mother has a Nil Rate Band (NRB) of £325,000 and you can make a claim to transfer your late Father’s unused NRB.

Explanation of the work which would usually be included

Full Service

Grant Only

Consultancy

Notifying all utility companies and non-financial organisations such as but not limited to the DVLA, the local authority and insurance companies.

Yes

No

No

Collating details of the assets and liabilities in the estate by contacting the banks and building societies, credit card companies and funeral directors. Completing an unclaimed asset register search and placing a statutory advertisement where necessary.

Yes

No

No

Preparing a schedule of the assets and liabilities in the estate to enable the preparation of the Inheritance Tax return.

Yes

Yes

We can help

Preparing the Inheritance Tax Return IHT205 and the supplementary form claiming the transferable NRB.

Yes

Yes

We can help

Preparing the oath for executors and making the application for the grant of probate.

 

Yes

Yes

We can help

On receipt of the grant encashing the assets in the estate by preparing closure authorities for signature by the executors, closing bank accounts, selling and or distributing jewellery and contents and referring any sale of property to our residential conveyancing team.

Yes

No

No

On receipt of estate assets, settling the liabilities in the estate and obtain receipts.

Yes

No

No

Preparing estate accounts to include records of all of the assets and liabilities in the estate and the distribution of the estate as per the Will.

Yes

No

We can help

Obtaining identification of each of the beneficiaries in the Will, obtaining their payment instructions, distributing the estate in accordance with the Will and ensuring that receipts and indemnities are obtained to protect the executors from future claims.

Yes

No

We can help

Estimated costs

Between £4,000 to £5,000 + VAT

Between £2,000 to £3,000 +  VAT

Up to £1,000 + VAT

Case Study Two

You, along with your Brother are appointed as executor of your late Mother’s Will. You have two younger siblings, meaning there are a total of 4 children. The Will leaves everything to you and your siblings in equal shares. Your late Father passed away several years ago and he left everything to your Mother when he died. Neither of your parents made any lifetime gifts.

Your Mother owned the family home at the date of her death valued at £950,000. She had £50,000 in premium bonds, a car, some jewellery and two bank accounts. She had no debts other than funeral expenses. The value of her estate does not exceed £2million. 

There is Inheritance Tax to pay after deducting her NRB and your late Father’s transferable NRB. As your late Mother owned a qualifying interest in property and is leaving this to her direct descendants her estate is entitled to claim the Residence Nil Rate Band of £125,000. As your Father did not use his RNRB, his unused allowance can be transferred to your Mother’s estate. 

Explanation of the work which would usually be included

Full Service

Grant Only

Consultancy

Notifying all utility companies and non-financial organisations such as but not limited to the DVLA, the local authority and insurance companies.

 

Yes

No

No

Collating details of the assets and liabilities in the estate by contacting the banks and building societies, credit card companies and funeral directors. Completing an unclaimed asset register search and placing a statutory advertisement where necessary.

 

Yes

No

No

Obtaining formal valuations of contents, jewellery and property including the preparation of formal letters of instruction where necessary.

 

Yes

No

We can help

Preparing a schedule of the assets and liabilities in the estate to enable the preparation of the Inheritance Tax return.

 

Yes

Yes

We can help

Providing Inheritance Tax advice and setting out the Inheritance Tax due and deadlines by which it must be paid.

 

Yes

No

We can help

Preparing the Inheritance Tax Return IHT400 and the supplementary pages.

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Preparing the oath for executors and making the application for the grant of probate.

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

On receipt of the grant encashing the assets in the estate by preparing closure authorities for signature by the executors, closing bank accounts, selling and or distributing jewellery and contents and referring any sale of property to our residential conveyancing team.

Yes

No

No

On receipt of estate assets, settling the liabilities in the estate and obtain receipts.

 

Yes

No

No

Preparing estate accounts to include records of all of the assets and liabilities in the estate and the distribution of the estate as per the Will.

Yes

No

We can help

Obtaining identification of each of the beneficiaries in the Will, obtaining their payment instructions, distributing the estate in accordance with the Will and ensuring that receipts and indemnities are obtained to protect the executors from future claims.

 

Yes

No

We can help

Estimated costs from

£10,000 + VAT

£5,000 + VAT

£2,000 + VAT


Other Possible Third Party Fees (Disbursements):

These are third party charges payable by the estate. Before the grant is issued and funds are available, we can settle these on behalf of the estate so they appear in our invoices to you. If we settle them from estate funds they will appear on the estate accounts.

We have compiled a list of potential disbursements but confirm that as every estate is unique it is possible that additional disbursements will be due. We will endeavour to provide you with a list of anticipated disbursements within our terms of business at the outset of the matter. If throughout the administration, further disbursements become due, we will let you know as soon as possible and before incurring them. Where applicable these costs are plus VAT.

  1. 3rd Party Valuations i.e. contents, jewellery & property - £250 - £1,200
  2. Probate Court Fee - £155
  3. Copies of the Grant - £0.50p per copy
  4. Statutory advertisement - £250 - £300
  5. Land Registry Search - £3 - £6 per title
  6. Commissioner’s oath - £5 – £7 per personal rep
  7. Land Registry Transfer Fees - £40 - £200 per title
  8. Bankruptcy search fee - £2 per beneficiary

Additional work

As each estate is different and the examples in this guide are limited, there is additional work we are happy to complete on your behalf or assist you with. Additional fees may apply if an estate you are dealing with contains any of the assets set out below:

  • Business Property
  • Agricultural Property
  • Foreign Assets

Or requires us to carry out any of the additional areas of work set out below:

  • Income Tax Reporting – (Current or Historic)
  • Advice regarding lifetime gifts made by the deceased and the Inheritance Tax position
  • Advice regarding Intestate Estates (i.e. where there is no Will)
  • Advice regarding assets in the estate which may benefit from Inheritance Tax Relief
  • Inheritance Tax Advice which is over and above the basic level of advice required in order to complete the tax return such as tax mitigation planning and trust advice.
  • Advising the executors/administrators regarding potential claims against the estate and disputes
  • Estates which contain a significant number of individual assets
  • Estates requiring an emergency grant in order to sell property (Grants de Bonis non)
  • Preparation of deeds of variation
  • Advising on complex related trusts (historic and current)
  • Implementation of Will trusts
  • Disagreements between executors and beneficiaries

 

We have taken all reasonable steps to ensure the price information set out on our website provides an accurate and realistic indication of the costs of obtaining certain legal advice today, but we may update the information at any time in the future.

Whilst we hope this information is helpful as an initial guide, we will provide you with a specific fee proposal and a copy of our standard terms of business when you instruct us to undertake work.  

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