Where a person who has made a Will dies it may be necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate. If the money and property left (this is called the deceased person’s estate) is only worth a few thousand pounds it may not be necessary to obtain probate. If there is a house or flat or significant savings a Grant of Probate is generally required in order to carry out the instructions under the Will.
The procedure is to collect all the information about the person’s financial assets and any debts that they owe including funeral costs. The form for inheritance tax that is required by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs then has to be filled in. Many estates do not pay inheritance tax but the tax form is required in order to show this and probate cannot be obtained without sending in this form. Estates over £325,000.00 may have to pay inheritance tax but there are some other exemptions so that estates of a higher sum may still not have to pay inheritance tax. For example, money or property left to your surviving wife, husband or civil partner does not incur inheritance tax nor does money left to a registered charity. If you leave a property that you lived in to your children or grandchildren, the limit before inheritance tax becomes payable is higher.
Once the tax form is completed the Executor’s Oath is prepared. The Executors are the people named in the Will to carry out the instructions in it. The Oath has to be sworn and the Will signed by the Executors and all these papers including the tax form are then sent to the Probate Registry. There is a fee to apply for probate and it is usually around £155-£160. If all is in order the Probate Registry then issues the Grant of Probate. Once this has been received the Executors can collect in the money from bank accounts etc, pay the debts of the estate and distribute the money in accordance with the Will.
Our company can provide an initial fixed fee interview to explain the probate procedure in detail and then act for the Executors in the above process. The Executors can do some of the work themselves if they wish. The solicitor normally prepares the tax form and the Executor’s Oath.
If there is no Will, the process is generally similar but you apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. It is necessary to draw up a family tree of relatives to establish who should receive the estate under the intestacy rules. Apart from the deceased person’s husband or wife the estate only goes to blood relatives so an unmarried partner or other people related only by marriage would not receive any of the financial assets. Again our company is able to provide full advice on intestacy situations, i.e. where there is no Will or where the Will does not cover all of the assets in the estate.
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A list of our services...
Applying for the Probate Grant, collecting and distributing the assets of the deceased person’s estate
The Probate work to carry out the matters covered by a will is charged at the hourly rate of £175.00 plus VAT. As an example, a reasonably straight forward case would take between 8 and half and 11 and a half hours and the solicitor’s fees are generally between £1,500.00 and £2,000.00. The VAT, the Probate registry fee and any work on Conveyancing for selling a property or transferring it to a Beneficiary would be and addition to this.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one Beneficiary and no property, cost will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, the cost will be at the higher end and the solicitor’s fees may in fact be more than £2,000.00.
We will handle the full process for you. The estimate of £1,500.00 to £2,000.00 plus VAT and disbursements is for estates where:
1. Where there is a valid Will
2. There is no more than one property
3. There are no more than 6 bank or building society accounts
4. There are no other significant assets
5. There are no more than 9 Beneficiaries
6. There are no disputes between Beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise this will normally lead to an increase in costs.
7. There is no inheritance tax payable and the Executors do not need to submit a full account to HM Revenue and Customs for inheritance tax i.e. only the basic inheritance tax form in required.
8. There are no claims made against the estate.
The VAT is charged at 20% as normal. The disbursements in the above type of case of as follows:
A) The probate application fee which is currently about £155.00 to £160.00. Please note that the Probate fees are currently due to increase in April 2019.
B) Land registry fees for office copy entries, £3.60 per property.
C) It is possible that other fees can arise e.g. for obtaining the original will if stored elsewhere. We would notify you of any charges of this type.
These disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties and the main disbursement is usually the Probate Registry fee. We normally handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf in order to ensure a smoother process.
There are potential additional costs as follows;
1. If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional cost that could vary significantly depending on the type of estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information. There are normally additional solicitor’s cost and disbursements when selling shares.
2. Please note that dealing with the sale or transfer of any property is not included in the above Probate estimate but a separate estimate for that work can be obtained from our Conveyancing department on request.
The length of time that a Probate case takes various considerably. The average sort of case that is mentioned above can usually be dealt with within about 6 to 9 months but where there is a sale of a property it can take longer. If you wish us to obtain the Grant of Probate and then to collect in and distribute the assets under the Will yourself the length of time and the cost of the case would then be reduced. Again we can provide an estimate of charges for this work on request.
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