WILLS & PROBATE
Yes you can “do it yourself” but we have had to “pick up the pieces” too often to recommend this.
We will arrange for the Will to be proved and for administration of the Estate quickly, efficiently and sympathetically in accordance with legal requirements.
We are particularly skilled and experienced in the unusual problems which arise where, unfortunately, there is no Will and letters of administration have to be obtained or where there is a “home made” Will.
We can sometimes arrange for a “Post Mortem Variation” of the Will to save tax.
Probate Pricing Information
Probate and Estate Administration
It goes without saying that the period following the death of a loved one is difficult, both emotionally and also in terms of the level of administration of their personal affairs that follows, and it is our aim to assist you in an empathetic and understanding way.
Our team can advise in regard to the following matters:-
The terms of any Will including the role and duties of the appointed Executors;
In the event that there is no Will the rules relating to intestacy;
Ensuring that the Executors are safeguarded from any personal risk and liability;
Obtaining details of all the assets and liabilities of the deceased, including assets that may be held abroad;
Preparing any inheritance tax forms for HMRC and ensuring that any reliefs available to the estate are claimed;
Making any relevant application to the Probate Registry in order to obtain a Grant of Probate or in the case of intestacy, Letters of Administration;
Distributing the estate in accordance with the terms of any Will or under the intestacy rules;
Consideration being given to any variation to the terms of the Will or to the intestacy provisions;
Any income or capital gains tax issues that may arise during the course of the administration of any estate.
It is difficult to be able to give an accurate estimate of costs until we have met with you and discussed in full the nature and extent of the deceased’s full estate.
We will discuss potential costs with you at the outset and contact you as soon as possible in the event that we believe that we are going to exceed any estimate in order to ensure transparency between us.
Whilst we make every effort to keep costs to a minimum, it should be said that not every estate is the same and there can be a myriad of factors that generate extra cost to the estate. It is important to remember that it is the estate that is liable for the cost of the administration. We do not charge on a percentage basis, as some firms used to do, but on an hourly rate.
There are various ways in which we might be able to assist you. For example: it might be that you are dealing with a simple estate in which you have already undertaken the role of contacting the financial institutions for details of the value of the deceased’s assets at the date of their death, have been able to determine their liabilities and want us to help you to complete the paperwork in order to obtain a Grant of Representation. On the other hand you might wish for us to gather all the information required in terms of the assets and liabilities of the deceased and to complete the paperwork and obtain the Grant of Representation on your behalf and, once obtained, you might then wish to complete the work on the estate in respect to calling in the assets, paying off any liabilities and dealing with the signing off of the estate with HMRC and then paying any legacies. Then again you may wish for the firm to undertake all the work in relation to the estate from start to finish. In short and, while it may be obvious to say it, the more time we spend on the estate the more the cost will be.
In the event that you wish to discuss a fixed fee as a result of only requiring limited work to be undertaken by us, then we are happy to discuss this directly with you.
When undertaking full estate administration for our clients, we would take the responsibility for notifying all financial institutions of the death in order to obtain date of death balances, deal with share registrars and investment managers where relevant; ascertain and settle any liabilities of the deceased which might include dealing with any funeral costs. It might also include the sale or transfer of a property and dealing with any income tax and capital gains tax issues that may arise during the course of the administration.
The costs of dealing with an estate tend to break down in the following ways (subject of course to any unexpected complications):-
£750.00 to £2,500.00 – when the estate is fairly simple, for example there is a valid Will, a minimal asset value and number of different assets and easily identifiable beneficiaries.
£2,500.00 to £3,500.00 – there may be a larger number of assets and liabilities to be realised and settled, potentially a larger number of beneficiaries and some questions relating to tax.
£3,500.00 to £4,500.00 – a more complicated estate with a larger number of assets, beneficiaries based overseas and the prospect of an inheritance tax liability.
£4,500.00 to £7,000.00 – a large number of high worth assets and an inheritance tax liability.
Our current hourly rates are £235.00 per hour. These hourly rates are reviewed annually and all fees are subject to VAT at 20%.
Dealing with any estate takes time. For a full administration service on a non-taxable estate where the deceased may have held a number of bank accounts, a property and having a number of beneficiaries, a realistic time estimate is between 6 to 9 months to conclusion. If an estate is taxable and there are other complicating factors then a realistic timescale would be up to 12 months to completion but this would be dependent upon HMRC’s prompt input.
Other incidental costs:-
Probate Court Fee (this is always subject to change) – £155.00 with additional copies of the Grant being charged at £1.50 each.
Statutory Advertisements (if it is believed that there may be unidentified creditors of the estate) – these can vary but should be no more than approximately £250.00
Bankruptcy charges (to ensure that the Executors can safely pay beneficiaries) – £2.00 each.
Administration of Estates
Sadly when someone passes away, family and friends not only have to deal with the emotional side but also the financial and other practical matters which arise, such as arranging the funeral, notifying banks and other financial institutions, clearing the property and dealing with utility companies.
On occasions, individuals are able to deal with estates themselves very easily and just need some guidance as to where to go and what to do. On other occasions the estate is complex and the matters to be dealt with are never-ending and our professional help is required.
We offer a local and friendly service, and have many years of experience, to be able to help our clients in a sensitive and considered manner at one of the most difficult times in their life.
The person who takes your initial instructions will be the person that deals with your matter to the end; unless the expertise of another member of Ranson Houghton is required.
We offer a range of services from simply obtaining a Grant with information that you supply to us, to undertaking the complete administration in every detail, including dealing with all the assets, discharging all the liabilities and distributing the estate.
We also give advice on ways to minimise liability to inheritance tax and other taxes; maybe by redirecting the estate under a Deed of Variation.
Lasting Powers of Attorney and
Court of Protection
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document whereby a person (the Donor) appoints one or more people (the Attorney(s)) to deal with their affairs.
As we get older there are times when, either through choice or incapacity, we need someone to deal with our affairs. This could be because of a physical or mental disability or simply due to our age.
Since October 2007 it has not been possible to make new Enduring Powers of Attorney however existing Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) remain valid. To enable someone to deal with your affairs it is now necessary to create a Lasting Power of Attorney. There are two types –
Property and Financial Affairs which would allow your Attorney to deal with bank accounts and sell your house and
Health and Welfare which would allow your Attorneys, when you are not able, to make decisions about the care home you live in, who visits you, what you eat and most importantly, life sustaining treatment if you have given them that power.
The procedure is more complicated and time consuming. Also it is now necessary for the Lasting Power of Attorney to be registered with the Court before it can be used by the Attorneys.
It is therefore essential that the POA is prepared in accordance with the prescribed procedure. When we prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney for you we will discuss the registration of the document with you.
If you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney in place and your affairs need to be dealt with, it will be necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection. Just so you are aware this is an expensive and lengthy procedure.