Probate: Estate Administration

If you have recently lost a loved one and they left a will, then their estate will need to be administered to give effect to their wishes and to settle all outstanding taxation obligations.

Our Private Client team are experts in Estate Administration and can help you with much of the stress and complexity during what is a very difficult time for both family and friends. We can also offer a ‘Grant only’ service, leaving you to administer the estate.

Our Private Client Department has over 65 years’ of collective experience delivering high quality work in all matters relating to Wills, Powers of Attorney and Estate Administration. The team has particular expertise in high value estates.

Each member of the team will work individually on your matter with you to ensure the best possible outcome, identify the Executors or Administrators and the beneficiaries and will obtain all relevant documents required to make the application for a Grant of Probate.

There is overall supervision of the department by Tony Morcowitz.

As part of our service to you we can, depending on your instructions to us:-

  • Arrange an initial meeting with you to discuss the Will, or intestacy, Grant and/or Estate Administration process.
  • Register the death with all organisations relevant to the deceased.
  • Obtain values of assets and debts.
  • Complete Inheritance Tax forms, arrange payment of Inheritance Tax and liaise with HMRC Capital Taxes Office if relevant.
  • Prepare Executors’ Oath or Statement of Truth.
  • Apply for and obtain Grant of Probate – this is an official document needed to administer the Estate and it is issued by a section of the court known as the Probate Registry.
  • Register probate with all organisations including those holding assets.
  • Collect assets and pay all estate debts.
  • Ensure income and capital gains tax compliance is met.
  • Produce final accounts.
  • Distribute legacies to beneficiaries in accordance with the Will and analyse the most tax-efficient way of distribution.
  • We will liaise with the Executors and main beneficiaries throughout the entire process.

Intestacy

If your loved one has left no Will this is known as dying intestate.  The process of administering an intestate estate can be more complicated. Our team has the expertise to advise you and help you with every step of the process.

How long will this take?

Please see further and full details below. On average, estate administration can take between three to eighteen months depending on the value and complexity of the estate, the obtaining of documentation, the responses of various institutions including HMRC, banks and the Probate Registry

However, the law gives Executors or Administrators up to 18 months to complete and finalise the administration of the Estate.  Please note there are instances where the administration can go beyond the 18 month period – this can be where there are foreign assets, missing beneficiaries, a claim against the estate or where there is family dispute.

Contact us for a consultation with one of our friendly team of legal professionals, details can be found below.

Please click here for details of our estimated fees and timescales

Our full service: Applying for the Grant, collecting and distributing the assets.

How long will it take?

On average, estates that fall within the range described below are dealt with within six to eighteen months. Typically, key stages are; ascertaining valuation of estate assets; approximately 4 weeks, preparing documentation to obtain the Grant of Probate; approximately six to sixteen weeks, (this is however dependent on how quickly information is obtained at the start of the matter and on the Court). On receipt of the Grant collecting assets then follows; between approximately four to ten weeks. Once this has been done, any searches conducted, statutory notices have expired and income tax resolved (by instructing accountants) we can distribute the estate assets, which normally takes approximately four to six weeks.

Our fee earner’s hourly rates are £260 per hour plus VAT at the current rate of 20% (correct as at June 2020).

As a general guide, and subject to the potential additional factors listed below, our estimated fees tend to fall within the following brackets: Total costs to administer an average estate as described below are estimated at between £2500 to £4500 plus VAT plus disbursements.

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is only one beneficiary and no property, costs may be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you. Our estimate is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 3 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are 1 to 3 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on 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 a full account to HMRC
  • There are no claims made against the estate

What is included?

As part of our service to you we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor/executive 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 form (IHT205)
  • Draft a legal statement of truth for the executors to sign
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the Grant.
  • Carry out bankruptcy searches on beneficiaries.
  • Realise and distribute all assets in the estate

What is not included?

Our fee estimates are provided on the basis that we are not required to provide the following services which would be charged additionally and for which we would provide a separate estimate to you:

  • Registering the deceased’s death and/or arranging the funeral
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any of the deceased’s property forming part of the estate.
  • Tracking down a missing will or missing executors
  • Assisting with insolvent estates
  • Dealing with any foreign assets
  • Disputes over the validity of the will or any claims against the estate under the Inheritance Act
  • Tax returns of income and gains both before and after the deceased’s death
  • Setting up or closing trusts in the deceased’s will or in which the deceased had an interest
  • Tax planning arrangements in connection with the estate of any predeceased spouse
  • Deeds of variation and other IHT planning for beneficiaries
  • Any other unforeseen or complicating factors

Potential additional costs

If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could vary in range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information from you.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs, fees or expenses 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.

Disbursements that are likely to arise may include:

  • Probate application fee of £155.00
  • Sealed copies of the Grant £1.50 each
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2.00 per beneficiary)
  • £285.00 to £395.00 post in The London Gazette and a Local Newspaper (this protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.)
  • Inheritance tax – this depends on the deceased’s circumstances and can be paid in instalments if need be. Please see this link to HMRC Inheritance Tax

Our ‘Grant only’ service (requiring IHT205 only): Applying for the Grant of Probate for you – you will collect and distribute the assets.

How long will it take?

We anticipate that obtaining a Grant only for you will take between 3 months to 6 months. Typically, key stages are; ascertaining valuation of estate assets; approximately 4 weeks, preparing documentation to obtain the Grant of Probate; approximately six to eight weeks, (this is however dependent on how quickly information is obtained at the start of the matter and on the Court).

As a general guide, and subject to the potential additional factors listed below, our fees tend to fall within the following brackets: Costs are estimated as follows:Where a full Inheritance Tax (IHT) account (IHT400) is not required for HMRC, our estimated fees are usually in the region of between £1500 to £2500 plus VAT plus disbursements.

Please note that the exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.

We will handle the obtaining of the Grant of Probate only for you. This estimate is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 3 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC

What is included?

As part of our service to you we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor/executive 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 relevant HMRC forms
  • Make application for the Grant
  • Draft a Statement of Truth for you to sign
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the Grant on your behalf

What is not included?

Our fee estimates are provided on the basis that we are not required to provide the following services which would be charged additionally and for which we would provide a separate estimate:

  • Realising and distributing all assets in the estate
  • Registering the deceased’s death and/or arranging the funeral
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any of the deceased’s property forming part of the estate.
  • Tracking down a missing will or missing executors
  • Assisting with insolvent estates
  • Dealing with any foreign assets
  • Disputes over the validity of the will or any claims against the estate under the Inheritance Act
  • Tax returns of income and gains both before and after the deceased’s death
  • Setting up or closing trusts in the deceased’s will or in which the deceased had an interest
  • Tax planning arrangements in connection with the estate of any predeceased spouse
  • Deeds of variation and other IHT planning for beneficiaries
  • Any other unforeseen or complicating factors

(Please note that should a full Inheritance Tax (IHT) account (IHT400) be required our fees are usually in the region of between £2500 to £4500 plus VAT plus disbursements however, the exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter).

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs, fees or expenses 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.

Disbursements that are likely to arise may include:

  • Probate application fee of £155.00
  • Sealed copies of the Grant £1.50 each

It is important to note that the above estimates and charges are for initial guidance only. It is often not possible to provide an accurate overall price for legal services. Therefore, such costs and charges for our services may be subject to change and review as the matter progresses should your matter prove to be more complicated or time consuming than anticipated, or unexpected matters arise. This will depend on a variety of matters, including individual circumstances and following discussions with you, both at the outset and as the matter proceeds. We can give you a more accurate estimate and agree a budget with you once we have your specific documents and instructions.

We will let you know as soon as we have reason to believe any cost estimate will be exceeded and will not exceed that estimate without prior reference to you.

Wills

Do I really need a will?

Everyone should have a Will in place, no matter their age.

Did you know that:

Marriage

When you marry, any existing will is automatically revoked (cancelled) and becomes no longer valid?

Divorce or annulment

If your marriage is ended by a court order your will is not invalid so that if you have left a legacy to your former spouse this will still take effect as if he or she had died on the date your decree became absolute?

This could mean that the gift falls back into what is known as ‘the residue’of your estate and will pass to the other beneficiaries. So that if you had left everything to him or her, then the effect is as if you had died intestate.

Further, if you had appointed your spouse as an executor or trustee, your will still takes effect as if he or she had died on the date the decree became absolute.

So, a will is very important if you;

  • own a property
  • are single
  • have children and wish to appoint guardians
  • are married, marry or re-marry or enter into a civil partnership
  • divorced or in second relationships
  • you have savings, investments or a business.

Without a Will, your estate may not pass in accordance with your wishes; Potentially,it may even mean in a worst-case scenario, that your estate passes to the Crown.  You spend your life working hard to provide for yourself and your loved ones so it will be important that you are able to ensure that you can plan effectively for your estate.

Making a Will helps ensure your estate passes according to your wishes, and your estate makes best possible use of Inheritance Tax reliefs available.

How long will this take?

On average, a straightforward Will can take up to 21 days and a complex will up to 28 days,  including, but not exclusively, obtaining of information and instructions from you. However, should you require urgent drafting then prompt attention will be given.

Home visits can also be arranged.

Contact us for a consultation with one of our friendly team of legal professionals, details can be found below.

Please click here for details of our fees

Wills

Any reference to Value Added Tax (VAT) means VAT at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%.

Single will £275 plus VAT
Mirror wills £395 plus VAT
Standard Codicils £180 plus VAT
Will involving Tax planning £400 to £800 plus VAT
Home visits by arrangement

DISBURSEMENTS:

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. This list is not exhaustive and other disbursements may arise. We will of course update you on any fees or expenditure that may need to be incurred on your behalf. Disbursements listed below are accurate as at 19th March 2020 and may be subject to change.

Veriphy (AML) fee of £3.50 plus VAT per person.

Please note that any estimate provided to you will be given based on information already known about your matter at the time and will be based on your instructions to us. It may be subject to alteration and review as the matter progresses should your matter prove to be more complicated or time consuming than anticipated.

We will let you know as soon as we have reason to believe any cost estimate will be exceeded and will not exceed that estimate without prior reference to you.

It is important to note the above costs and charges are for guidance only.  It is often not possible to provide an accurate overall price for legal services. Therefore, such costs and charges for our services may be subject to change depending on a variety of matters, including individual circumstances and following discussions with you, both at the outset and as the matter proceeds. We can give you a more accurate estimate and agree a budget with you once we have discussed your matter with you.

LPA/EPA–(Enduring and) Lasting Powers of Attorney

Few of us like to think of a time where we become unable to deal with our affairs, such as managing bank accounts or selling or buying a home or making a decision about long time care.  The reality, however, is that whilst you are still physically and mentally capable, you should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney now, entrusting someone with the authority to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapable of making those decisions in the future.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that can be made and registered now, but need not come into use until, and if, it is actually needed.

The consequence of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place if someone loses mental capacity and can no longer manage their affairs, is that family and loved ones would have no alternative but to make an expensive application to the Court of Protection. This can often take some time to secure.

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Although these were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney, you can still use and register an Enduring Power if it was made before October 2007. We can assist you with this process.

Court of Protection

If you need to be able to assist someone who unfortunately lacks the capacity to manage their affairs, an application to the Court of Protection is necessary.  The Court will appoint Deputies to be responsible for decisions about the vulnerable person’s welfare and finances. Our team at Engleharts can assist with this complex process and talk you through your duties if appointed as Deputy.

How long will this take?

LPA: Up to 3 months including, but not exclusively, obtaining of documentation from third parties including your Attorneys and/or medical professionals and/or the Office of the Public Guardian (who will take 3 to 6 weeks to handle your matter).

Court of Protection: Between 6 to 12 months including, but not exclusively, Court or agreed stays, obtaining of documentation from relevant parties. This time estimate will be, in part, dependent upon the speed with which the Court handles the matter.

Please click here for details of our fees

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

Any reference to Value Added Tax (VAT) means VAT at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%.

Single LPA £350 plus VAT
Two LPAs £650 plus VAT
Four LPAs £1,000 plus VAT
Solicitor’s Certified Copy LPA £20 each

Fees for LPAs include the provision of a certificate within the LPA, application to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to register an LPA and provision of one certified copy LPA to client following registration.

Court of Protection:

Will be charged at an hourly rate of £260.00 plus VAT
Trainee solicitors will be charged at an hourly rate of £165.00 plus VAT

DISBURSEMENTS:

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. This list is not exhaustive and other disbursements may arise. We will of course update you on any fees or expenditure that may need to be incurred on your behalf. Disbursements listed below are accurate as at 19th March 2020 and may be subject to change.

Court of Protection: Doctors Fees for providing Medical Report: Doctors fees commonly range from £600 to £1,000 (possibly more, these are variable).
Veriphy (AML) £3.50 plus VAT per person

Potential additional costs

  • If there is no will or the estate consists of any shareholdings, (stocks and bonds) there may be additional costs that could vary in range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate costs estimate once we have more information from you.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. This is a conveyancing matter and our Conveyancing Team will be happy to assist with a quotation.

Please note that any estimate provided to you will be given based on information already known about your matter at the time and will be based on your instructions to us. It may be subject to alteration and review as the matter progresses should your matter prove to be more complicated or time consuming than anticipated.

We will let you know as soon as we have reason to believe any cost estimate will be exceeded and will not exceed that estimate without prior reference to you.

It is important to note the above costs and charges are for guidance only.  It is often not possible to provide an accurate overall price for legal services. Therefore, such costs and charges for our services may be subject to change depending on a variety of matters, including individual circumstances and following discussions with you, both at the outset and as the matter proceeds. We can give you a more accurate estimate and agree a budget with you once we have discussed your matter with you.

CONTACTS:

Please contact us on 01273 204 411:

Tony Morcowitz (Head of Private Client Department) tony@engleharts.co.uk Extn 233 or,

Joanna Dixon (Probate Practitioner) joanna@engleharts.co.uk Extn 266 or,

Christine Baker (Legal Secretary) christine@engleharts.co.uk Extn 226.

Or at:  info@engleharts.co.uk

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