Probate and Estate Administration

 

Our Probate Team of Solicitors and Executives are specialists in dealing with Probate and the Administration of Estates.  We can offer varying levels of service ranging from taking full responsibility for the entire administration of the estate on the basis of a fee estimate provided in advance to just obtaining the Grant of Probate for you for a fixed fee.

Charges and Expenses

Obtaining the Grant of Probate only

With regard to our dealing just with the preparation and completion of the probate papers and the obtaining of the Grant of Probate for a fixed fee, this fee will depend upon whether the estate is above or below the inheritance tax threshold. The cost of dealing with the estate is usually paid from the estate funds.

  1. Our fixed fee for completing the probate papers and applying for a Grant of Probate where an IHT205 (a shorter form of Inland Revenue Account) is required amounts to £750* plus VAT (total including VAT and likely disbursements detailed below £1,065)
  2. Our fixed fee for completing the probate papers and applying for a Grant of Probate where an IHT400 (a long and detailed form of Inland Revenue Account) is required amounts to £1,200* plus VAT (total including VAT and likely disbursements detailed below £1,605)

*Please note that both fees above are quoted on the basis that the executors provide us will all the information required to enable us to make the application on their behalf. Should we be required to undertake any other work we can quote separately for this.

Administering the entire estate

With regard to our dealing with the complete administration of estates, no estate administration is exactly the same and our fees will reflect the particular requirements of the administration in question.  For example, an estate which is not taxable and has one asset and one beneficiary will involve a great deal less work than an estate which is taxable with numerous assets and several beneficiaries.  The nature of the assets will affect the complexity (eg business or foreign assets) as will the number and status of the beneficiaries (eg minors).  The provisions of the Will will also affect the complexity of the administration process (eg the creation of a trust).  We therefore cannot give you a reliable estimate of the cost of us helping you until we have details of all aspects of the estate in question.  Of course, if an estate has unexpected complications (such as an Inland Revenue enquiry, a dispute between beneficiaries etc) we will always inform you of this immediately and would fully discuss the potential consequences of this before any extra charges were incurred.  Subject to this caveat we are happy to advise that our average fees based on recent matters completed* (excluding VAT and disbursements) were as follows:

  • Estates where the gross estate was under £325,000  : £3,850
  • Estates where the gross estate was between £325,000 and £650,000 : £5,750
  • Estates where the gross estate was between £650,000 and £1M : £7,850
  • Estates where the gross estate was over £1M : £9,100

*matters completed in the years 2017 and 2018

With regard to the basis of our charges the primary element is a charge calculated at the relevant hourly rate on the work and time properly expended on the matter by the relevant lawyer. The lawyers who will be looking after your matter will be detailed in the initial letter which we send you and their relevant hourly rates will also be set out clearly.  You can find details of who would be dealing with your matter and their relevant hourly rates here

We may also charge a further element where appropriate to reflect the importance of the matter and the consequent responsibility upon the firm and the special complexities of the particular estate.  This can be on the basis of the value of the estate where the normal maximum percentages would be 1% of the gross estate less the main residence and 0.5% of the value of the main residence.  Alternatively, where appropriate it can be by way of a percentage mark-up of the total hourly rate fees – such a mark-up would normally range between 10% and 35%.  We will make it absolutely clear at the outset of any estate administration on what basis the particular estate will be charged, taking into account the particular complexities of the estate.

Disbursements likely to be payable in all estates

The disbursements likely to be payable in such cases would be statutory fees for swearing the papers which currently amount to £5.00 per named person on the document to be sworn plus £2 for each exhibit. In addition there are probate court fees which are currently £155 plus £0.50 for each office copy requested of the Grant of Probate. There may also be various valuation fees, land registry fees and sundry search fees covering the status of beneficiaries regarding bankruptcy.

The administration process and timing

There are three stages to the administration of an estate. The first stage involves obtaining all relevant information and up to date values for assets and liabilities to enable us to prepare the probate papers. This can take between four weeks and three or four months depending on the size and complexity of the estate, and how long it takes for organisations to respond to our enquiries.

The second stage involves the application for probate which can take between three and six weeks depending again on the size and complexity of the estate.

The third stage covers the period after probate is obtained when assets are collected in, sold or transferred, all liabilities, taxes and expenses are paid, accounts are prepared and circulated, and all assets and monies are distributed in accordance with the terms of the Will or under the rules of intestacy.  The length of time this stage can take is obviously totally dependent on matters such as the sale of property and obtaining tax clearances from HM Revenue & Customs.

The average duration of the entire administration is likely to be in the region of five to six months for non-taxable estates and eight to twelve months for estates where inheritance tax is payable.

If you would like more information on the likely costs involved please talk to us on 01323 434414 or contact us by email on enquiries@stephenrimmer.com

Wills

With our team of expert Solicitors and Executives, making a Will is easy. An appointment can be made at  our main office in central Eastbourne or at our Hastings office.  We can also offer home visits in the local area if required.

More than six in ten people in Great Britain (61%) do not have a Will. There are a number of reasons why people start to think about writing a Will such as marriage, the birth of a child or a death of a spouse.

A recent survey from Will Aid shows that over 25% of people with a Will may have had a change in circumstances which could mean their most recent Will is either invalid or no longer reflects their wishes.

The importance of talking to a professionally regulated Solicitor who you meet face to face to carefully go over your personal circumstances and prepare your Will cannot be overstated.

This becomes even more important if your personal situation is complex (such as having children from different relationships); or if issues of estate and tax planning are involved.

Our fixed fees for straightforward Wills and Codicils are set out below and if your situation is not straightforward any additional cost will be clearly communicated to you before any fees are incurred.

Simple Will

–       Single

–       Joint (mirror)

 

£175 + VAT

£250 + VAT

 

£210 inclusive of VAT

£300 inclusive of VAT

Codicil

–       Single

–       Joint (mirror)

 

£125 + VAT

£175 + VAT

 

£150 inclusive of VAT

£210 inclusive of VAT

 

Lasting Powers of Attorney

It is not easy to think about a time when you won’t be able to make your own decisions but it will help you and those around you if you are prepared.

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you are no longer able to do so (or don’t want to).

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA):- one to help deal with your financial affairs and one for your health and welfare.  An LPA for financial decisions can cover things like buying and selling property, paying your mortgage or bills and investing money whilst the health and welfare LPA covers matters such as where you should live, medical decisions and the care and support you should receive.

Our fees are set out below, with any extra charges only being incurred if we have to correspond with individual attorneys (£25 plus VAT each) or an independent professional certificate provider has to be found (required where a solicitor is appointed as one of the attorneys). Please note that, subject to the above caveat, the fees below cover all the work of preparing, completing and registering the Lasting Powers of Attorney(s) with the office of the Public Guardian.

Property & Financial Affairs£350 + VAT£420 inclusive of VAT
Health & Welfare£350 + VAT£420 inclusive of VAT
Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare£525 + VAT£630 inclusive of VAT
Mirror Power of Attorneys i.e. Property & Financial Affairs for spouses or civil partners£525 + VAT£630 inclusive of VAT
Joint Mirror Power of Attorneys i.e Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare for spouses or civil partners£850 + VAT£1,020 inclusive of VAT

 

Each Lasting Power of Attorney document is subject to a £82 (no VAT) court fee on registration

You can find details of who would be dealing with your matter at Stephen Rimmer LLP here

If you would like more information on the costs involved on any of the above talk to us on 01323 434414 or by email on enquiries@stephenrimmer.com