We advise on the preparation of wills, lasting powers of attorney, setting up of trusts, and probate, including administration of cross-border estates.
We ensure that your financial affairs are dealt with in a tax-efficient manner so that family members are properly provided for.
We can liaise with your other professional advisors, including accountants, investment managers and financial advisors to provide a comprehensive service.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE INCLUDE:
- wills and codicils
- grant of probate
- administration of estates including overseas estates
- setting up trusts and dealing with tax-related issues
- tax planning including post-death variations of wills
- lasting Powers of Attorney
- related property transactions
APPLYING FOR A GRANT OF PROBATE OR GRANT OF LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION
We understand the importance of being as clear as possible as to the likely costs when administering an estate. Each estate is different and can vary in complexity. We will therefore speak with you in detail in order to establish a number of facts:
- Whether the Deceased left a valid Will;
- The family history or circumstances of the Deceased;
- The various assets and liabilities belonging to the Deceased at the date of death;
- Any foreign assets the Deceased owned at the date of death;
- Whether the Estate is taxable;
- The Domicile of the Deceased;
- Whether there is a Trust element in the Will or the Deceased benefited during their lifetime; and
- Potential claims against the estate.
The Service provided
Applying for a Grant of Probate, collecting and distributing all assets and settling liabilities.
As part of this service we will:
- Identify the legally appointed Executors or Administrators and beneficiaries;
- Accurately identify the type of probate application that you will require;
- Arrange for posting on the Gazette and the local newspaper;
- Obtain the relevant documents and information required to make the application;
- Complete the Probate application and the relevant HMRC forms;
- Draft the statement of truth or a legal oath for you to swear;
- Submit the relevant Inheritance Tax forms to HMRC and attend to any inheritance tax due;
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf;
- Obtain the Probate and securely send copies to you;
- Attend to any capital gains tax and income tax liabilities in the estate; and
- Collect all assets in the estate, settle any liabilities and distribute the assets
The following estimates are a guide to the various time frames depending on the complexity of your matter:
- A straightforward estate with no property to sell and a single bank account may take as little as 3 months.
- The majority of estates in England and Wales take 9 - 12 months after probate has been granted.
- Straightforward estates where there is an inheritance tax liability will usually take between 12 - 18 months.
Common delays to the administration include:
- The sale of a property;
- Missing beneficiaries; or
- Dealing with certain foreign assets.
If a dispute arises in the estate, or is threatened to arise, the Executors or Administrators should not distribute or wind up the estate. The administration must be delayed while the Executors or Administrators attend to the claim.
Fees and disbursements
Fees are payable by the estate. However, we will require some costs to be paid on account, such as those to cover expenses and disbursements.
Typically, the cost of obtaining probate or, in the case of intestacy, letters of administration for an estate following death will range from £2,500 plus VAT for a straightforward matter to £75,000 plus VAT for a complex matter.
The Fixed Fee scale assumes:
- there is a valid Will;
- there are no disputes between the beneficiaries on the division of assets;
- There are no claims made against the estate;
- There are no foreign assets involved in the Estate; and
- There are no missing beneficiaries.
Hourly rates average £350 - £450 plus VAT per hour.
In addition to our own fees, it will often be necessary to incur the fees of third parties. Typically, these will include the following:
- Probate application fee of £155* (plus additional costs for office copies of the Grant and Will);
- Online ID Check (per entity) £12.00-£20.00 plus VAT;
- Swearing affidavit/oath (if necessary) - £5 plus £2 for exhibit(s);
- Bankruptcy searches at Land Charges Department; £2 per search; and
- Section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 Notice fees, £100 -250 plus VAT and handling cost
* The Government have announced an increase to probate court fees in the future. The increase has not been implemented yet, but these will be banded in line with the value of the estate passing under the Grant.