We have over 40 years’ experience between us of dealing with clients’ personal legal affairs during their lifetime, planning their estates and assisting family when they have died. We pride ourselves on providing a personable service to put clients at ease and help them through these personal legal matters.
Having an up-to-date Will is vital to ensure that the people who will deal with your assets and, if relevant, look after your children, are those you have chosen, to ensure that your assets (including business assets and any foreign assets) pass to those you intend and that any tax-saving and asset protection opportunities have been taken advantage of. In drafting Wills, we consider all these elements, including advice concerning the payment of care home fees.
We have considerable experience of dealing with the administration of estates, both simple and those with more complex elements. We advise on the steps to be taken in a clear and straightforward manner to assist in what is often a very difficult time. We obtain a Grant of Probate where the deceased has left a Will or a Grant of Letters of Administration where the deceased has died without leaving a valid Will. Once the Grant is obtained, the estate is then administered and distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will or based upon the intestacy rules where a Will does not exist. We can undertake the whole process or provide a reduced service where clients wish to undertake some aspects of the administration themselves.
We also assist in the setting up and the ongoing management and administration of Trusts. There are different types of Trust so it is important to seek advice on the most appropriate form for your circumstances and what you are wishing to achieve.
We have considerable experience of dealing with a wide range of disputes concerning Wills and Trusts, including claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, challenging Wills and actions to remove trustees.
Our fees in assisting with Probate and Estate administration can be either a fixed fee based on a percentage of the Estate, an hourly rate or a fixed fee up to a certain amount and thereafter an hourly rate. We will agree with you at the outset how our charges will be calculated. Of course, the exact costs will depend on the individual circumstances of each matter.
Where there is a simple Estate we would estimate that our likely costs based on time spent and the value of the Estate will range from £3,000.00 up to £12,000.00 plus VAT and disbursements. A simple Estate is one where:
- There is a valid Will.
- There is no more than one property.
- There are no more than two bank or building society accounts.
- There are no other intangible assets.
- There are up to two beneficiaries.
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets (if disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs).
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the Executors do not need to submit an IHT account to HMRC.
- There are no claims made against the Estate.
In terms of timescale, we would expect simple Estates to take between 6 and 12 months to administer.
We deal with the administration of many complex Estates. The likely fees are based on time spent and value of Estate and are likely to range between £15,000.00 and £75,000.00 plus VAT and disbursements. A complex Estate is where one or more of the following apply:
- There is no valid Will.
- There is more than one property.
- There are several bank or building society accounts.
- There are insurance policies, investments, business assets or trusts.
- There are several beneficiaries.
- There are disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets in the Estate.
- There is inheritance tax payable and the Executors need to submit full Estate accounts to HMRC.
- There is a possible claim against the Estate.
Complex Estates are likely to take over 12 months to administer.
There are a number of factors that can affect the time it takes to complete the administration of an Estate and the costs of administration. The nature and extent of the assets in the Estate, the liability for inheritance tax, the existence of foreign assets, tracing beneficiaries and dealing with matters of construction and claims in respect of the Estate. It is only with detailed information that an accurate estimate of costs can be given in any particular case.
Obtaining probate only.
If you would prefer to carry out some of the work yourself but want the certainty that the application for the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) has been properly dealt with, we can assist with obtaining the Grant only. For simple Estates, our fees are £1,250.00 plus VAT plus court fees.
For more complex Estates, our fees for obtaining the Grant only would be £4,000.00 plus VAT plus court fees.
The hourly rates for the private client department are as follows:
- Partner £300.00 per hour.
- Associate Solicitor £280.00 per hour.
- Lead Conveyancer £240.00 per hour.
- Assistant Conveyancer £200.00 per hour.
All of the hourly rates are plus VAT.
- Drafting of Wills
- Inheritance tax advice
- Care home fees and asset protection
- Probate and the administration of estates
- Deeds of Variation
- Trusts and the administration of Trusts
- Will disputes and inheritance claims