Our Private Client Department has a long history of providing expert legal advice on the Administration of Estates and Probate related matters.
When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements that have to be made. Often at a time of personal distress. You may require help with administrative and financial issues. Our expertise can help simplify the situation and relieve you from any worry and stress at this difficult time.
Our private client team, some of whom are solicitors and or members of STEP, will be happy to assist and guide you at any stage throughout the complex and complicated area of administering an estate and reduce the pressures and worries of being an Executor or Administrator. We can help you to apply for a Grant of Probate, where there is a Will or a Grant of Letters of Administration, where there is not one (otherwise known as intestacy).
We can also advise you in relation to Deeds of Variation or other family arrangements where appropriate.
A member of our team will work with you and ensure that you have a full understanding of the process and ensure you are kept up to date with the progress of the administration of your relative’s estate.
What is the role of an Executor or Administrator?
When a person dies there has to be an Administrator who can deal with their estate. The role of the Executor or Administrator is to collect the assets, pay any liabilities and distribute the balance in accordance with the Will (Executor or Administrator) or where there is no Will, according to the Intestacy Rules.
If the value of the estate is more than £5,000 they may have to apply for a Grant of Representation. There are three main types of Grant and the one that you will need to apply for depends on whether there is a Will or not, or whether the appointed Executors are capable of carrying out their tasks
The Executor, or Administrator, also deals with the tax payable by the estate. They are responsible for making full disclosure to HMRC and there are penalties if returns are made negligently. So it is very important to get the right advice as soon as possible.
It is not very well known but when you die your estate continues to be liable to income and capital gains tax. We will be able to fully advise on how best to deal with the income tax of your relative both before and after their death.
The Executor, or Administrator, must be aware of any potential claims that could be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. This Act enables certain classes of people, usually spouses and children, to make a claim within six months of the Grant of Representation against the estate where they believe that the Will or Intestacy has failed to make reasonable financial provision for them.
If the estate is distributed within this timeframe the Executor or Administrator may be personally liable for not taking account of these claims. We can advise more fully on this depending on the circumstances of the case.
To find out how we can help why not get in touch with our team of professionals who will be happy to discuss any matters relating to Probate or Estate Administration with you.
Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets
We estimate this will take between 20-24 weeks. The time frame may vary, depending on individual circumstances. The process could potentially be much quicker, or considerably longer.
Our fees are usually based on a percentage of the gross estate. Generally, fees are calculated at 1.5% of the gross estate plus VAT (and disbursements). When calculating our fees we will take into account a number of factors which include the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action must be taken, the expertise or specialist knowledge which the matter requires and if appropriate the value of any property or subject matter involved.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there are one beneficiary and no property, costs will 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.
Disbursements included in this fee:
- Probate application fee of £155 plus £0.50 per Office Copy of the Grant of Probate required.
- £69.50 Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
- £103.00 Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.
Disbursements are costs 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. Please note that the above costs may vary.
Potential additional costs
- If there is no will or the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
How long will this take?
On average, a non-taxable estate is usually dealt with within 20-24 weeks.
The initial stage which involves compiling an inventory of all the deceased’s assets and liabilities at the date of death can take between 6-8 weeks.
Once the application has been submitted to the probate registry it usually takes between 2-3 weeks for the Grant of Probate to be issued.
Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 4-6 weeks. Please note this will depend on the type of asset being collected.
Once all the assets have been collected we can distribute the assets, which normally takes between 2-3 weeks.