Probate and Wills
Vincent Browne and Jill Mehrji act in matters of Probate and Wills and both have over 30 years experience.
We always deal with probate matters sensitively and efficiently.
Our expertise covers the administration of estates of differing values and complexity, ranging from those with foreign, business and agricultural assets involving complex tax considerations, to smaller estates.
We will, as required do the following:
- Investigate and evaluate assets
- Prepare HMRC tax forms and all necessary court papers
- Liquidating assets including
- Closing bank accounts
- Selling share portfolios
- Disposing of freehold and leasehold properties
- Preparing itemised estate accounts
- Distributing the estate in accordance with the Will or the intestacy rules where there is no Will
We can assist with more unusual and complicated situations, such as where an executor or administrator has died leaving an estate partially un-administered, or where a person has died domiciled outside of England and Wales.
We can also obtain official copies of Grants and Wills as necessary.
We advise on the importance of leaving a Will in place and prepare your Will so that it meets your individual needs and provides certainty that your Estate will pass to the beneficiaries you choose, on the terms you decide, and in a tax-efficient manner.
More often than not, we act on a fixed fee basis in probate matters in accordance with Law Society Guidelines. Each case is different and therefore, even though we may act for a fixed fee, each fee may be different. Where you have elected to be charged based on the time spent working on your matter, or in the exceptional circumstance where we have been unable to provide a quote for a fixed fee, our usual hourly rate is £250 plus VAT.
The basis of how we act for you and the fixed fee (if you choose this) will be fully discussed and agreed at the outset.
An example of how we work in this field is set out below.
As part of our fixed fee /hourly rate charge to obtain probate and administer the estate we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
- Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
- Draft a legal oath for you to swear
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtain the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
- Provide you with a complete set of Estate accounts which gives details of the assets and liabilities at date of death, all the administration expenses and a Distribution account showing the amounts due to each beneficiary.
We are happy to deal with the entire administration of the estate from obtaining all information required to make the application, applying for the Grant, completing the inheritance tax papers and finalising the inheritance tax position, collecting and distributing the assets. We are also happy to only obtain the Grant of Representation and complete the Inheritance tax paperwork, as long as you provide all the relevant information needed for the application. This would be a more cost effective option for you provided you are confident that you can handle all the pre grant and post grant paperwork required yourself.
How much does this service cost?
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter and on how much work you wish us to do. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property and no inheritance tax to pay, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property, multiple bank accounts, and inheritance tax to pay, costs will be at the higher end. If you require us to deal with the Inheritance tax and obtain the Grant only then costs will be lower. Where the matter becomes contentious or involves a foreign element, costs are likely to increase.
VAT and disbursements may be payable in addition to our fees.
Disbursements may include (but this list is not exhaustive):
- Probate court fee of £155 plus £0.50 for each office copy (needed for each asset).
- £7 - Swearing of the oath (per executor).
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary if in UK).
- Trustee Act notices in The London Gazette and a local newspaper (to protect the executors/administrators against unexpected claims from unknown creditors) - approximately £200 plus VAT but depends on the local newspapers’ charges.
- Land Registry charges for obtaining official copies of title deeds £3 and plan £3 per property.
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. VAT is payable on some disbursements but not on others.
Our fees for small or non complex estates (when a full inheritance tax return is not required ) are between £1500- £5000 + vat depending on the complexity of the matter.
For more complex estates ( where a full inheritance tax return is required) we anticipate £3750-£7500 + vat. Vat is currently charged at the applicable rate of 20%.
An average probate matter where no inheritance tax is payable takes approximately 6-9 months to complete. In a matter where inheritance tax is payable the duration is usually between 9-15 months.
For information regarding Inheritance Tax please see the HMRC website www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax