What is Probate?
Probate involves dealing with the assets of a person who has died.
When someone dies, the persons who are tasked with dealing with the Estate may need to prove they are the appropriate people to deal with the deceased’s affairs and that they are entitled to deal with property, monies and other assets that the deceased may have left behind.
Who can apply for Probate?
If the deceased left a Will it is the responsibility of the Executors to obtain the Grant of Probate.
When there is no Will the Administrators must apply for Letters of Administration, as set out under the ‘Rules of Intestacy’.
The Executors and Administrators are sometimes referred to as the Personal Representatives.
Is Probate required?
Not every Estate will require a Grant of Probate however Probate will be required in the following circumstances:
There is property held in the deceased’s sole name that needs to be transferred or sold.
The property cannot be sold without a Grant of Probate. This includes complete sole ownership of the property, or part sole ownership, which is referred to as Tenants in Common
If there were savings or shares held in the deceased’s sole name and the financial institutions holding those savings ask for a Grant of Probate to release the funds.
What does Probate involve?
There are three core areas of work required in order to successfully administer a deceased person's estate - Legal, Tax and Estate Administration
The work involved to administer the estate includes:
Completing the Probate application forms and, in limited circumstances, attending an interview at the Probate Court
Completing the necessary Inheritance Tax forms for HMRC, regardless of whether there is inheritance tax to be paid or not
Gathering in and valuing all of the Estate assets, including property, monies and personal belongings, and paying any debts held against the estate
Distributing the remainder of the deceased’s Estate in line with the terms of the Will or the Rules of Intestacy to those who are entitled to inherit
What work we will undertake for you?
Unless otherwise instructed, we will undertake the following work for you
Complete a Certainty Will Search, in order to ascertain whether a more recent Will has been made. This is optional, but advisable, and cost in the region of £108.
2. Identify the Executors, or in the event that the Will names Executors who are unwilling, or unable, to act, or there is no Will at all, identify the persons capable administering the Estate.
3. Identify any and all Legatees and Beneficiaries and inform them of their right to inherit under the Estate. If no Will is left, or the Will fails to properly deal with all the assets, we will advise you as to the persons entitled to inherit under the rules of intestacy.
4. Ascertain the identity and value of any and all assets within the deceased persons Estate. We will then write to them in order to obtain the value of the assets at the time of death and deal with either transferring, or selling, the assets identified.
5. Place Statutory Notices in the local paper and London Gazette. This is again optional, but advised, as this negates an Executors liability if a claim is made against the Estate after distribution of the assets.
The notice details that the person has died and if anyone has any accounts, or monies due from the deceased, or any claim on the Estate, then they should contact the Solicitors dealing with the Estate within two months, or the Estate will be distributed
If this notice has not been placed, and a claim is made against the Estate, then it would be the responsibility of the Executors to settle the claim personally.
If this notice has been placed the Executors be held to be personally liable.
If you want this notice to be placed, all the Executors must confirm this to our firm in writing.
The cost of this notice is approximately £400.00.
6. Settle the Funeral Account.
7. Complete all relevant Inheritance Tax forms.
8. Settle any Inheritance Tax due by the Estate.
9. Settle any debts owed by the Estate.
10. Organise payment of any Legacies
11. Prepare Estate Accounts, along with Distribution Accounts
12. Organise payment to the Residuary Beneficiaries
13. Establish any Trust which follow the administration of the Estate.
14. Wind up the administration process
There are a number of variables which make it difficult to provide an accurate estimate as to the time frame for this matter.
We will endeavour to provide regular updates as to the progress of this matter.
The fees charged in respect of the administration of the Estates are fairly standard and are based on The Law Society Guidelines.
The administration fees will fall into two categories
A charge for all work undertaken in relation to this matter. Our hourly rates are.
a) £220.00 per hour, exclusive of VAT
b) £22.00 per letter out, exclusive of VAT
c) £22.00 per telephone call, exclusive of VAT. Any telephone call exceeding 6 minutes will be charged at our standard hourly rate.
d) £11.00 per letter in, exclusive of VAT.
2. A percentage fee in relation to the value of the Estate
a) 0.75%, plus VAT, of the value of any property within the Estate
b) 1.5%, plus VAT, charge on the gross value of the remaining assets.
If this firm acts as the Executors in the Estate the following percentage fees may be charged in substitution of the charges detailed in paragraph 2 above (to be discussed prior to accepting instructions),
a) 2 %, plus VAT, of the gross value of all assets held within the Estate
b) 1%, plus VAT, of the gross value of all the assets held within the Estate, per Executor.
It is not possible to provide an accurate estimate as to costs at this point, but the cost of probate will usually fall within the range of 3% - 5% of the gross value of the Estate. If this estimate turns out to be inaccurate, we will provide you with an update at the point our cost exceed these figures.
Probate fee - £155.00 (no VAT)
Copies of Grant of Probate £1.50 each (no VAT)
Office copy entries
Certainty Will Search - £108 (no VAT)
Gazette Notice - approximately £400.00 (no VAT)
Identification of Executors and Beneficiaries - £10.00, plus VAT
TT Fee - £30.00, plus VAT
Any other disbursements will be discussed with the client prior to being incurred.
Fee earners specialising in this field.
Richard Matthew Davies LLB (Hons) – Partner – 3 years post qualification experience
2. Alan Michael Davies LLB (Hons) – Partner – 8+ years post qualification experience
3. Jonathan David Crosskey LLB (Hons) – Partner – 8+ years post qualification experience
All VAT is currently charged at 20%.