Estate – Probate and Inheritance Matters
We will act for the executors to obtain a Grant of Probate where someone dies leaving a Will and to obtain ‘Letters of Administration’ where someone dies without making a Will and after that to collect and distribute the assets of an estate. Every case will have its own features in relation to properties, savings and investments with perhaps numerous bank or ISA accounts or with debts and the number of beneficiaries entitled to inherit under the terms of the Will of the deceased.
All work will be carried out by Paul Hillier or supervised by him. If there are complex accounts and trusts then with your agreement, we may involve specialist tax experts or barristers to ensure the best approach/result is obtained for you.
Our indicative charges describe the key work necessary following a death to obtain a grant of representation for an estate where we act for executors of a deceased individual and the administration of the estate.
In each case preliminary steps are taken to establish we have the last Will of the deceased person (as it is the original copy that is required and scanned or photocopies are currently not sufficient) and the extent of the Estate and to locate the executors and beneficiaries entitled under the Will.
Potentially a number of HMRC returns/forms may need to be completed and submitted to establish the amount of Inheritance Tax (if any) that might be payable on the estate. Once any Inheritance Tax has been calculated we will manage the arrangement for payment and make the application to the court which will then normally issue the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration.
The administration of an Estate involves collecting assets, meeting or paying claims and liabilities according to instructions of the Executors and the wishes of the deceased and adapting procedures to the circumstances of the Executors and beneficiaries as the circumstances vary for each case.
The work on each matter will include:
- Locating the last will and any codicil or otherwise determining who should benefit and be capable of applying for Letters of Administration and evaluate the content and relevant circumstances
- Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Identifying the type of Probate application (as there are a number depending upon circumstances) you will require
- Obtaining the relevant documents required to make the application and to create an account of assets and liabilities
- Contacting asset holders and creditors and obtaining details and valuations which should be as at the date of death
- Completing the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
- Preparing a Statement of Truth for signature
- Making the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtaining funds and Paying any Inheritance Tax due
- Applying for Probate
- Obtaining the Probate and copies for your use
- Discharging all liabilities
- Collecting and distributing all assets in the estate
How long will it take to obtain a grant from the court?
In a straightforward case the papers for application to the court for a grant of probate may be made within 6 months but in more complex cases information is lacking or tax needs to be paid it can take a longer period.
How long will it take before payments can be distributed?
Administration can take a year or longer depending upon the terms of any Will and instructions of the testator, the number and type of assets and the beneficiaries and tax liabilities that may take some time to resolve. Interim payments can usually be made within a year and most legacies will be paid out once funds are in hand.
Our legal fee for the process up to grant of probate assuming a valid will with no more than one codicil and two executors who are relatives and in agreement would include:
- Investigating history of assets and liabilities
- Preparing financial statements and executors’ statement
- Obtaining valuations of assets
- Locating beneficiaries
- Preparing and agreeing all statements including assets and liabilities
- Liaising with executors
- Calculating Inheritance Tax and claiming relevant reliefs
- Raising funds to pay Inheritance tax
- Making application to court
Following the grant of probate or letters of administration assuming the executors do not wish to manage aspects themselves our fees would include:
- Informing relevant people and organisation
- Advertising for debts
- Selling or transferring assets and investments
- Paying liabilities
- Preparing and agreeing estate accounts and distribution statements
- Making distributions to beneficiaries
- Preparing estate accounts and income tax returns
- Obtaining HMRC tax release
Our costs will depend upon a number of factors and by way of example would be incurred for: the firm acting as executors and liaising over funeral; securing property, valuing, insuring and managing any property and sale of any assets or property, locating beneficiaries and tracing of people or assets and dealing with domicile questions and foreign assets. Investigation of lifetime gifts or gifts with reservations. Dealing with disputes and claims and deeds of trust or variation.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Indicative fees and charges
|Estate of £325,000||Estate of £1.4m||Including VAT at 20%|
|Legal fees Grant||1700||3500||2040-4200|
|Bank transmission non BACS||£42 per item|
|Third party Disbursements and costs, Tax|
|Office copies 0.50 per copy||5||NA|
|Statutory advert in London Gazette and Local Newspaper.||280 -400|