Couple By The SeaMaking a Will

Everyone should make a Will. The consequences of not doing so can be serious for those people who depend on you. You should not assume that all your estate will automatically pass to a surviving spouse or civil partner in the event that you die without having made a Will. Couples who are in a relationship without being married / civil partnership, do not have a right of inheritance. It is important further with children under 18 to consider the appointment of a guardian for the child in the event of a spouse/partner dying. If one dies intestate (that is without having made a Will) then rules of law apply to division of the deceased person’s estate. If you allow this to happen then your goods will pass in accordance with Parliament’s ideas and not your own.

Why you need to make a Will NOW

Many people consider that they do not need to make a Will until they are approaching retirement age but this is not so. Most people incur considerable obligation and responsibilities both financial and otherwise when they first set up home. Other people feel that making a Will is a final step but this is not the case. Wills should be kept under constant review to ensure that they not only continue to meet the client’s continued needs and wishes, but also are not adversely affected by some future legislation.

We can advise on long term planning and tax matters both during life and after death which can very often result in considerable savings to the family.

Why you need to get your Will done professionally

Often people think that a standard Will form obtained from a local stationer is adequate when making a Will. However mistakes are  often made when these forms are completed so that the Will is invalid. Unfortunately this is usually only discovered after death. A very substantial proportion of home made Wills contain mistakes of one sort or another. Instructing a Solicitor to assist in the making of a Will is therefore sensible and cost effective.

We can advise on the appointment of Executors and Trustees and all aspects of preparation of Wills and indeed if requested the firm can act as Executors.

Our fees for dealing with Wills are as follows:

Standard single Will £170.00 plus VAT  of £34.00
Standard mirror Wills £240.00 .00 plus VAT of £48.00

For more complex Wills and inheritance tax/estate planning our charges will be calculated by reference to the time spent on the matter. Our hourly charging rate for this type of work is £175.00 plus VAT

Probate – efficient and speedy administration

The service that we provide after death is based on an efficient and speedy administration of the estate of the deceased person. This includes ascertaining and valuing assets at the time of death, preparation of papers to lead to the Grant of Probate, obtaining the Grant, dealing with the assets, gathering the assets in as necessary or transferring them to the beneficiaries, and paying debts and legacies.

Also tax queries may have to be investigated and resolved before the estate can be distributed to the  beneficiaries.

Probate work has a reputation of being a lengthy drawn out procedure but we aim so far as possible to expedite the matter in a fast and efficient way and to keep clients fully and regularly informed of the position as the matter proceeds.

Our fees for dealing with non-contentious probate matters are as follows:

Application limited to obtaining Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration only: £650.00 plus VAT of £130.00

Charging rates for probate matters where the firm acts on all aspects of the administration of the estate including distribution:

The firm applies the recommended Law Society charging rates for probate matters.

Our costs are calculated by reference to the amount of time spent and work carried out.

The firm’s current hourly charging rate is £175.00 plus VAT of £35.00  It is difficult to estimate the number of hours required to deal with the matter but we would estimate in the region of 6 to 20 hours.  The amount of time required to deal with an estate varies considerably depending on a number of factors, including the extent and nature of the assets, the terms of the Will and the number of beneficiaries.

Disbursements include:

Court fee for the Grant of Probate £155.00

Additional copies of the sealed Grant £1.50 each

Trustee Act Notices approximately £85.00 inclusive of VAT.

Our charges will also contain an element based on the value of the estate. This is because the value is the reflection of the importance of the matter and consequently the responsibility on the firm. Therefore, we will charge 1% of the gross value of the estate (excluding any residence in which the deceased resided where the value will be 0.5%).

How long will it take?

In the case of an application for a Grant of Probate only where you deal with the gathering in of all assets and payments of debts the average time to obtain the Grant is 3 to 4 months though currently the Probate Registry is sometimes taking longer to deal with applications.

With regard to a straightforward fully managed estate the time scale to completion is approximately 4 to 12 months.

In more complex matters where inheritance tax is payable or there is a dispute the matter can take from 12 months to 2 years to when the estate is finalised.


                                             Stages of the Process

Fixed Fee Probate

Obtaining your instructions and advising you

Gathering in all information in relation to the assets and debts of the estate

Preparing application for probate to include IHT205 Return of Estate Information form and Statement of Truth (application for probate), obtaining your approval and submitting the same online.

Once the Grant is received passing this onto the client for them to deal with the matter.

Fully Managed Estate

Obtaining your instructions and advising you

Gathering in all information in relation to the assets and debts of the estate and their date of death values

Completing IHT205 Return of Estate Information form where the estate value is below the inheritance threshold of £325,000.  Where applicable, completing the IHT402 to transfer any unused nil rate band from a deceased spouse or civil partner.  When the estate value exceeds the threshold preparing IHT400 Inheritance Tax account and all the schedules to accompany this. Advising you of the tax liability and obtaining your approval of the forms.

Where and IHT400 has been completed submitting this to HMRC and arranging to pay the inheritance tax due.

Preparing the Statement of Truth (application for probate) and submitting this to you together with the tax forms for approval.

Submitting the online application and sending hard copy to the Probate Registry.

On receipt of Grant gathering in all the assets and dealing with payment of debts

Preparing Estate and Distribution Accounts for approval and dealing with distribution