Probate, Trusts, Wills & Tax Planning
Probate, Trusts, Wills & Tax Planning
Probate is the general term used to describe the area of law that deals with winding up the affairs of someone who has died. It includes paying any debts or tax due, selling houses, etc, and then distributing that person’s estate in accordance with the terms of their Will, if one exists, or determining the beneficiaries under the intestacy rules if a Will does not exist.
Writing a Will is a very important area of work that should be undertaken by an experienced practitioner. To prepare a will correctly involves not just knowledge of the law relating to Wills, but also an in-depth knowledge of related areas of law such as property and company law, tax and trusts. Having a Will in place ensures that your property passes to those who you want to benefit – if you do not leave a Will, then the law states that your property will pass to certain blood relatives in a specified order – however wealthy or otherwise they may be and whether you like them or not!
Everyone should make a Will to ensure their wishes are adhered to as the statutory provisions can lead to unexpected and totally unwanted consequences on the death of a partner, relative or loved one. A competently prepared Will will also ensure that a legal dispute does not arise after death, incurring legal costs which usually have to be paid out of the assets in the estate. Trusts arise when a person looks after money or assets for another person – they are frequently used in Wills, and can also be used in a variety of other situations such as Trusts for disabled people, or children.
Our Probate, Wills and Trusts team can assist with the creation and administration of trusts. We have Solicitors who are members of the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners and who specialise in this area.
We offer a bespoke, professional service at a competitive price.
We recognise that there are some relatively straightforward matters where we can immediately give you a fixed quote, whereas other more complex matters will require an estimate. We are transparent at all times.
Our charges for a straightforward Will are £150 plus VAT for an individual and £225 plus VAT for a couple. By straightforward, we mean that you do not wish to include a large number of legacies in the Will or require any complex tax advice, the creation of a trust or a considerable degree of investigation to ascertain the extent of your assets.
Probate and the Administration of Estates
We know how difficult it can be following the death of a loved one, to deal with all the formalities and the work necessary to administer their estate. In all our offices, we have experienced and qualified professionals on hand to guide you through this process.
Our fees are fair and reasonable in all cases and compare favourably with other firms in the area.
We will gladly meet with you to discuss what needs to be done to administer an estate and, if you decide to use our services, we will provide you with a written estimate of our likely charges and timescale, which will be based upon a number of considerations including:
- whether the deceased left a valid Will. Sometimes Wills do not entirely dispose of the deceased’s assets. In those cases, the law sets out who should benefit, and identifying those individuals can sometimes be complex and time consuming.
- whether there are many beneficiaries. It is important that each beneficiary receives what is properly due to them or else they could make a claim against those administering the estate.
- the extent of the deceased’s assets, and the types of assets there are;
- whether there is any tax to be paid. It is crucially important that the right amount of inheritance tax has been paid and indeed that all other tax related matters such as income tax and capital gains tax are concluded correctly. Failure to do this can lead to severe penalties from HM Revenue & Customs. However, professional advice can reduce the amount of tax that an estate has to pay by claiming any appropriate reliefs and/or exemptions.
- whether there is an international element to the estate, i.e. foreign assets or beneficiaries living abroad;
- whether the deceased’s estate is subject to any dispute.
Most estates can be administered within 6 to 12 months – although large or more complex estates where inheritance tax is payable can take longer than 12 months.
Our charges are based on:
- The time we spend administering the estate. This includes meetings, telephone calls, correspondence and working on the file. For this we charge an hourly rate of £150 plus VAT.
- The value of the estate. This will be based on Law Society guidance, for example, where we are not acting as Executors, this will be 1% of the gross estate (but reduced to 0.5% on the value of any property). We will not charge this on any jointly owned assets.
Our final bill is always assessed as to whether it is fair and reasonable. This often results in our charges being reduced.
Usually, we will also have to pay others for their services which typically include:
- Probate Registry fee – £155 plus 50p per sealed Grant required
- Valuation fees of any property, personal possessions or shares. Such fees are usually somewhere between £75 and £300 plus VAT per valuation.
For example, a typical straightforward estate might take between 10 – 20 hours to conclude at £150 per hour plus VAT with the total costs estimated at £1,500 – £3,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
Where we are instructed only to obtain a Grant of Probate and not deal with any other matters in the estate, our charges are likely to be within the range of £500 to £750 plus VAT and disbursements.
The above information is intended to be a guide only. Each estate is different, and our experienced professionals will be able to provide you with a tailored estimate of our likely charges.
For more information on the administration process, please see our Guide to Estate Administration
Contact a member of our Probate, Wills and Trusts team to find out how we can help. We have highly experienced practitioners in all three of our offices.
Wills • Probate & the Administration of Estates • Powers of Attorney • Residential & Commercial Conveyancing • Notary Services
Wills • Probate & the Administration of Estates • Trust Matters • Deputyship & Court of Protection Matters • Powers of Attorney
Wills • Probate & the Administration of Estates • Tax Planning • Trusts • Court of Protection Matters • Powers of Attorney (including Powers of Attorney for business owners)