Private Client, Wills, Probate & Lasting Powers of Attorney

We offer a wide range of services to assist our clients and their families in dealing with sensitive and personal matters. We provide a friendly and flexible service and are happy to visit clients in their home, in hospital or nursing home, if they cannot make it to one of our offices. This means that we can provide you and your family with personal service, offering practical advice to meet your individual needs. We are able to offer advice and assistance on a wide range of matters, including:-

Making a Will

A properly drafted Will gives you peace of mind and can avoid future stress for your loved ones. We can tailor your Will to suit your own circumstances, ensuring that you achieve the outcome you intend. We can prepare a straightforward Will and offer advice on more complex matters, including the setting up of trusts, for example, to protect ‘different sides of the family’, or Inheritance Tax planning.

Estate Planning

If you have them, we can work closely with your financial advisor and accountant to plan for your future legacies and ensure that you do as much as possible to mitigate or lessen any Inheritance Tax your estate could be liable for. We can look at ways of helping you to gift assets in such a way as to take advantage of the 7 year rule whilst ensuring you keep enough for yourself.

Asset Protection

Some mature couples are worried that they may be forced to sell their home if they have to go into a Residential or Nursing home. There are ways of protecting your assets to ensure that they pass on to your relatives but the action that will need to be taken will depend upon your own individual circumstances. We can offer advice on the best course of action to take.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

As we are all living longer, it is important that you put in place measures now that will assist you and your family should you ever be in a position where you cannot manage your own finances or make decisions about your care .These documents should be part of your estate planning and we believe are as important as a Will.

Court of Protection

Should you be in the difficult position where a relative or friend cannot make their own care decisions or manage their finances due to any mental incapacity, we can help you through the Court process to be appointed as their Deputy.

Probate and Administration of Estates

Following the death of a relative or friend, we can help you through this difficult time with sympathetic and practical advice to ensure everything is sorted as quickly as possible. We offer a fixed fee for assisting you in obtaining the Grant of Representation (commonly known as the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration). Alternatively, we can provide a full administration service, taking you through the whole process, from collecting in details of the assets, repaying creditors and distributing the estate to Beneficiaries. We will always do our best to provide you with a fair estimate of our costs at the outset.

Download the following STEP brochures for more information.

Our Charges for Uncontested Probate Work

Fixed Fees

We charge fixed fees for some probate work as follows:

Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (where there is no Will) only where only 2 or 3 accounts and a property and no claim for any unused IHT allowances : from £950 plus VAT

Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration only where a full Account to HMRC is required and all assets in the UK: from £1500 plus VAT

Where estimates will be provided

Estate Administration fees will depend on the complexity and size of the estate and the level of qualification and experience needed. Our hourly rates range from £100 to £245 per hour.  

We try our best to provide an accurate costs estimate from the outset but sometimes complicating factors come to light during the administration. We always keep you informed if our initial fees estimate needs to be revised as we progress.

As an example therefore, a simple non taxable estate where there is a property to sell and 2 or 3 bank assets/NS&I assets to deal with and no work required to claim any unused allowances and 2/3 beneficiaries would typically cost around £1750 plus Vat.

Our average fees on more complex estate administration would be between 1%  and 3% of the gross estate although any complicating factors (see below) will increase this.  

Our costs can be settled from the estate

Complicating factors will include:

Foreign Assets requiring a foreign Grant

Multiple beneficiaries, including charitable and non-charitable

Different types of assets including individual stocks and shares and investments or trusts

Taxable estates – please refer to HMRC website for further details on what would be taxable see attached link https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax

Estates where Agricultural Property Relief and/or Business Property Reliefs need to be claimed.

Disputes which arise with Executors/Beneficiaries or with the Will itself

Where a Director in the firm is appointed

If any Variation of the Will is required

Arranging property clearances/funerals

Any claims by DWP or other third parties against the estate

What is not included:

Any conveyancing costs in dealing with property in the estate – these costs can be found on our Residential Property page https://www.southernslaw.co.uk/for-you/residential-conveyancing-property/

Any Valuation fees for property or personal possessions

Property Insurance fees

Third party costs e.g foreign lawyers, Accountants, Insurance brokers, Investment Managers

Disbursements:

These are payments that we may need to make on your behalf.

  • Probate application fee – currently £155 plus 50p per copy
  • Oath fee (per executor) £5 plus £2 per additional document
  • Bankruptcy Searches (per beneficiary) £2 plus VAT
  • Land Registry Office Copy fee £3 (per copy) plus VAT  
  • Creditor Notices under s27 of the Trustee Act 1925 of between £200 – £300
Timescale:

If the matter is simply obtaining the Grant of Probate, timescale is 2-3 months.

Estate administration will depend on the complexity and size of the estate but usually takes between 6 – 12 months. However it can take much longer if the estate has one or more complicating factors as described above.

Key Steps we will do for you:
  • Take initial instructions and provide you with appropriate advice
  • Ascertain the correct legal personal representatives
  • Identify the assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Prepare probate papers including HMRC Account and apply for Probate
  • Preparing any necessary Inheritance Tax Accounts and arranging payment
  • Collect in assets of the estate
  • Pay all liabilities
  • Prepare estate accounts for approval
  • Distribute the estate

We will always keep you informed of progress of the estate and will contact you by telephone/letter/email, whichever is most appropriate

Should you require any further information please contact jberry@southernslaw.co.uk

For an Initial Consultation With a Member of Our Team

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