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Inheritance, Wills & Probate, Mental Capacity
Lindsey Johnson leads this department and is assisted by a trainee solicitor. She has over 30 years’ experience in family law work and preparation of wills plus 7 years’ experience of inheritance claims, administration of estates and mental capacity work. She is a member of The Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) studying for the STEP diploma.
We administer estates of modest to average value where there is a will or no will; advise on areas of dispute in relation to wills, inheritance or probate; prepare wills with trusts and offer straight forward tax planning advice.
Lindsey Johnson has experience of dealing with family disputes in relation to inheritance and probate. Issues may relate to the validity of a will, inaction by executors, lack of financial provision for close family members or trustees’ breach of duties etc.
We offer the following fixed fees:-
- Straightforward wills £200 +VAT = £240
- Straightforward wills for a couple that mirror each other £320 +VAT = £384
- Severing a joint tenancy and registration in addition to a will £50 +VAT = £60 + Land Registry fee for copy deeds £3.60 and recorded delivery postage fees £2.
- Initial appointment about an inheritance or probate matter £150 +VAT = £180 **
Probate or administration of estates
Administration of estates known as ‘probate’ is charged according to time spent at an hourly rate which is currently £170 +VAT. This is because each estate and family involved is different from another and it is not easy to predict the level of work required in each case at the outset.
Once we are aware of the extent of the estate that you are dealing with we should be able to give you an approximate cost estimate for acting for you. All cases usually consist of applying for the grant, collecting in the assets, preparing accounts and distributing the assets.
We anticipate this will take between 15 and 30 hours work at £170 per hour plus VAT. Total costs estimated at between £2,500 and £5,000 +VAT currently charges at 20%.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is 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.
We can handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where: -
- There is a valid will
- There are 1 or 2 executors who can, ideally, correspond by email so far as possible.
- There is no more than one property and contents
- There are no more than 4 -5 bank or building society accounts, premium bonds, insurance policies
- There are no other assets of value.
- There are 2-4 beneficiaries.
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC.
- There are no claims made against the estate.
Fees that will or may have to be paid to others (known as disbursements) which will be added to our fees:
- Certainty National Will Register search to check so far as possible that the will is the last will £114 inc VAT
- Probate application fee - £155 (increase due during 2019)
- Copies of the grant - £0.50 each
- Swearing of the oath - £7 per executor
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges search - £2 per beneficiary
- Advert in The London Gazette and local newspaper – Protects executors against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. - £300 inc VAT
Potential additional costs
- If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (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 my case take?
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6 -18 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 2 - 4 months. Collecting assets including sale of any assets then follows, which can take between 3-9 months depending on the nature of the assets. There may be an issue as to repayment of state benefits or the sale of a house which can delay matters. Once this has been done, we can prepare the accounts and distribute the assets, which normally takes 1-2 months
Other types of inheritance cases
A fixed fee for an initial appointment and letter of advice in these type of cases is available see ** above WILLS section. After that the case will be charged as described below.
- Intestate estates where there is no will and an administrator has to apply for, and be granted, permission to deal with an estate will be charged in the same way as probate cases and the costs and time estimates above may be similar depending on the circumstances. If detailed tracing of relatives is required or there are any family disagreements this will increase costs.
- Contested probate cases where there is a dispute as to the validity of the will or a delay in administering the estate can be complex, early advice is essential as steps may be necessary to protect your position. Case will be charged by hourly rates.
- Inheritance claims, where you expected provision from someone’s estate but no provision was made or the provision made was not reasonable, may be funded in different ways according to your circumstances. Occasionally legal aid may be available but the criteria are now very limited. You may fund the case yourself paying our hourly rates as above. Another option is for you to fund the case using conditional fees in which case we would refer you to another legal firm offering such services.