trusts-probate

Trusts & Probate

There can be a great deal of emotional stress following the death of a friend or relative. This can be exacerbated by having the burden of dealing with the deceased’s affairs.

We can ease this pressure by taking responsibility for the winding up and distribution of the estate. We can help you to obtain the Grant of Probate (where there is a Will) or Letters of Administration (where a person dies ‘intestate’, without a Will).

Our skilled staff can also provide advice and guidance on trusts and inheritance issues, and on tax planning. Our team has a great deal of experience in administering estates, supplemented by up-to-the-minute training on the ever-changing tax regime relating to estates. The team is dedicated to working on probate and trust cases on a daily basis, unlike some practitioners who dabble in the work as part of a wider caseload.

Our Expertise

  • Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration
  • Trusts & Inheritance
  • Tax Planning
  • Bereavement Support Services

Meet the Team

Our team has over 50 years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matter relating to wills and estate administration. The team has particular expertise in high value estates and inheritance tax planning.

We have four members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter he or she will be supervised by Liam Gough who is the Probate Team leader. Samantha Hamilton has overall responsibility for the Private Client department.

You can click on the team’s names to read more about them.

Liam Gough – Team Leader and Solicitor

Kalbir Badesha – Solicitor

Clive Austin - Solicitor

Kristina Wolfenden – Solicitor

Costs

Our Estate Administration Services

We offer two services in Estate Administration and given below is information on how our fees are calculated. Both examples assume that the estate is uncontested and all the assets are in the UK. Information is also given to show the kind of circumstances that would not be covered by our general fees given here.

Full Estate Administration

When we undertake a full administration for our clients this means that we deal with every aspect of an estate administration both legal and practical. Our service includes:

  • Confirming the existence and validity of a will
  • Corresponding with all asset and liability holders in the estate
  • Arranging house insurance where necessary
  • Arranging property valuations
  • Preparing the inheritance tax return and applying for additional relief where appropriate
  • Preparing the probate application
  • Arranging payment of inheritance tax
  • Registering the grant of probate and arranging closure of accounts
  • Finalising income tax and capital gains tax where appropriate
  • Drafting estate accounts
  • Confirming the identity of and distributing to beneficiaries
  • Conducting bankruptcy searches
  • Preparing certificates of deduction of income tax where required

Our charges start at £4,000 plus VAT and any payments that we make on your behalf. A typical administration costs about 2% of the gross value of the estate plus VAT and the additional payments mentioned below. A large estate (more than £1 million) would generally be less than 2%. Common additional payments are:

  • Oath swearing fee £7
  • Probate application £155
  • Bankruptcy searches £2 per person
  • Statutory notices £250

Examples of circumstances that would not be typical and therefore might increase our fees are given below. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

  • Business or agricultural property
  • Operating or selling a business
  • Private company shares
  • Assets abroad
  • Assets of a specialised nature e.g. fine art
  • A homemade will
  • Property issues such as missing deeds
  • Deeds of variation or disclaimer or renunciation
  • A large portfolio of certificated shareholdings

Examples of circumstances that would have a significant effect on our fee are as follows, again the list is not intended to be exhaustive:

  • Operating a business as an ongoing concern
  • Engagement in litigation or threatened litigation including caveats
  • Complex intestacies where beneficiary tracing is required
  • For client with no immediate family; registering the death, arranging the funeral, clearing the property and thereafter inspecting it for buildings insurance compliance

It would however be rare for our fees to exceed 4% of the gross estate plus VAT and additional payments.  The exact costs will depend on the circumstances of the matter. For example an estate with a high value property, one bank account and one beneficiary may be cheaper to administer than a lower value estate with no property but multiple certificated shareholding and several beneficiaries.

All our fee earners with the exception of Kristina charge £250 per hour. Kristina charges £210 per hour. A typical administration takes 30 to 40 hours to complete. On average an administration takes between 9 and 12 months to complete assuming that there is a property to sell. If not then the administration period is usually shorter. If there is any foreign property the overall administration period is likely to be much longer depending on where the property is. Generally it takes 3 months from the date of instruction to obtain the grant of probate and from then a further 3 to 6 months to encash the assets and draft the estate accounts.

Grant Extraction

In a grant extract our retainer is limited and we are therefore generally able to offer a fixed fee quote for our services. In contrast with the above a grant extraction means that we are instructed only to obtain the grant of probate for you so that you can complete the administration yourself. From the list above we would be responsible for the following:
  • Preparing the inheritance tax return and applying for additional relief where appropriate
  • Preparing the probate application
  • Arranging payment of inheritance tax

You would be responsible for providing the valuation information and dealing with any property issues that arose. For a non-taxable estate our fees would be £1,500 plus VAT and any additional payments. For a taxable estate our fees would be £2,000 plus VAT and additional payments. In all cases our fixed fee would be dependent on the information you provide being adequate for the Inland Revenue and probate registry’s purposes. The only additional payments would be the oath fee and probate fee.

In general it would take one month from the time we receive all the required information for the grant of probate to issue in a non-taxable estate. For a taxable estate inheritance tax would have to be paid and depending on the source of funds this could extend the time by up to three weeks.