Probate and Wills
It’s a daunting time when someone close to you dies and you are left with the responsibility of sorting out their affairs, Bennett Richmond are here to advise and support you sympathetically in this difficult time.
If someone has died leaving a Will then we can tell you whether or not it would be necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate and then make the application on your behalf. We can take away the stress involved in such an application and make sure that the Will is dealt with properly. We would pass on property, money and other assets to the appropriate people named in the Will.
It may be that a relative has died without leaving a Will (intestate) and you need assistance with the administration of the estate or in applying for Letters of Administration. You may not know who the person’s assets will pass to. We can explain what happens when someone dies intestate and what you will need to do next.
- Obtain Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- Transfer unused Inheritance Tax nil rate band
- Payment of Inheritance Tax
- Deed of Variation
We hear it more than often that people put off writing their Will, didn’t have time or didn’t think they needed to make one. If you don’t make a Will then the Government will decide what happens to your assets. We understand that making a Will is usually the least of your priorities but we are sure that you would wish to control what happens to your assets on your death.
- If you die without making a Will and you have a partner, but are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner will most likely receive nothing from your estate.
- Perhaps you have infant children and need to appoint Guardians in your Will.
- You may have children from a previous marriage but have re-married and you would like to protect the interests of your children.
- You may have little or no family and wish to name a charity or a good friend in your Will
These are only some of the issues that we deal with. We can create an individual Will for you that carries out your wishes and keeps the stress and conflict for your surviving relatives to a minimum.
PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATE
PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATE COSTS
The amount of work involved in collecting and distributing the assets in a deceased’s persons estate can vary considerably according to the circumstances of each case. Cases where there is a simple Will with one beneficiary and few assets are likely to be relatively simple to administer whereas cases where there are disputes among family members or claims against the deceased person’s estate are likely to be more complex.
Our charges are calculated by reference to an agreed hourly rate for the person who carries out the work and the number of hours spent.
The hourly rates which we currently charge are £220 plus VAT for partners and senior solicitors and £180 per hour for junior solicitors and paralegals.
Our experience tells us that a case involving the administration of an estate is likely to come within one of the following categories:
Straightforward case £1,000-£3,000 & VAT
(No inheritance tax payable and no requirement to submit a full account to HMRC); entire estate passing to surviving spouse or children; no complicating factors of the type mentioned below.
Moderately complex cases £5,000-£10,000 plus VAT.
(A full account is required to HMRC); there are multiple assets and/or beneficiaries; there is a property held by the estate.
The fees indicated above are intended to be for guidance only because, as mentioned above, the work involved and the time spent can be influenced by a number of factors. We can provide you with a more precise estimate of costs at the outset of your case.
Our fees include work carried out in relation to the following key stages:-
- Ascertaining and valuing the assets and liabilities of the estate.
- Identification of the personal representatives and beneficiaries.
- Preparation and submission of the appropriate inheritance tax account.
- Arrange payment of inheritance tax and application for probate or letters of administration.
- Realisation of assets, payment of debts claimed against the estate, and payment of legacies to beneficiaries.
- Clearing any income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax liabilities.
- Prepare estate account for approval by personal representatives.
- Distribution of estate to beneficiaries.
POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL COSTS
The presence of any of the following factors is likely to result in an increase in costs:
- Disputes between family members as to the division of assets.
- Claims made against the estate.
- If there is no Will and there are beneficiaries to be chased.
- The estate consists of a significant amount of shares (stocks and bonds).
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of a property in the estate is not included in the above fees.
We will be able to advise you at the outset whether there are any complicating factors present and the effect that this is likely to have on the costs.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, e.g. court fees. We can normally handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to make the process easier for you. Disbursements which are likely to arise would include:
Court fee for probate or letters of administration
Fee on swearing Executor’s Oath
Advertisements to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
£200 inclusive of VAT (estimate)
Bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries
£2 per beneficiary
In addition to legal costs and disbursements, there may be tax to pay to HMRC. This could be inheritance tax, Capital Gains Tax, or income tax or any combination of these. We can advise you whether any of these are relevant to your case and how they should be dealt with.
HOW LONG WILL YOUR CASE TAKE?
An average case is likely to take between 6 and 9 months but some cases take longer than this if they are complicated. We can give you an indication of how long the case is likely to take at the outset and as the case progresses.
Solicitor with many years experience in this work