Probate & Estate Administrations

Overview

We recognise this is a difficult time for people following the death of a loved one and we always act in a sensitive and respectful manner.

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More Info

We recognise this is a difficult time for people following the death of a loved one and we always act in a sensitive and respectful manner.

We can act on behalf of Executors where there is a Will or on behalf of Administrators where there is no Will.

This type of work (as well as all other work) would be handled exclusively by our solicitor and the sole principal of JML Law, Julian Lee, who has 17 years of Post Qualification Experience in handling various straightforward and complex estates. Julian currently spends about 50% of his work time in dealing with non-contentious estate administration work.

We can handle all aspects of an estate administration including:-

  • Registering the death
  • Preserving and securing the deceased’s assets
  • Valuing the assets and liabilities
  • Considering any claims which might be brought against the estate and acting accordingly
  • Obtaining and registering the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
  • Realising the assets and paying any liabilities
  • Clearing the tax liabilities
  • Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
  • Preparing the estate accounts
  • Registering any Will Trusts for tax

Likely Costs

We can handle the full process for you. We anticipate this will typically take (depending on the individual circumstances of the matter) between 15 and 65 hours of work at £150 plus Vat per hour. Total costs are therefore estimated at between £2,250 and £9,750 plus Vat (Vat is currently charged at a rate of 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 middle to higher end. Also, if there is inheritance tax payable and/or the Executors need to file a full inheritance tax account with HMRC, then this will lead to an increase of costs within the range.

The above cost excludes disbursements, which are additional payments to third parties required to progress the matter, such as court fees. We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

The disbursements which will typically arise are:-

  • application fee for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (currently £155)
  • fee for Court sealed copies of Probate (currently £1.50 per copy)
  • office copy entries for any property owned by the deceased (currently £3 per property)
  • bankruptcy search fees (currently £2 per beneficiary)
  • swearing of the oath (typically £7 per executor)
  • advertisement in the London Gazette (currently £84.60 plus Vat) – protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
  • advertisement in a Local Newspaper (typically £120 plus Vat) – this also protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
  • valuation fees for various assets in the estate, such as property, jewellery, house contents & personal effects and shareholdings (typically between £30 and £600 including Vat depending on the types of assets in the estate)
  • Land registry fees to transfer a property out of the estate to a beneficiary (currently between £40 and £250)
  • Certainty Will search fee (currently £95 plus Vat) – to try and ensure that there is no later Will made by the deceased

There could potentially be additional costs where:-

  • Dealing with the sale of any property in the estate, for which a separate conveyancing solicitor would need to be instructed
  • The deceased did not leave any Will and there is significant correspondence required to determine who is to act in the estate administration and/or searches to be made to trace the beneficiaries of the estate under the rules of intestacy
  • A dispute arises between the beneficiaries of the estate regarding the valuation and/or division of assets
  • A claim is brought against the estate (for example, to challenge the validity of the Will or to seek a greater financial provision than provided under the Will)
  • Dealing with the first registration of title of any property transferred out of the estate, for which a separate conveyancing solicitor would need to be instructed

Where the Executors or Administrators have the time, energy and expertise to deal with the general estate administration themselves, we can still assist them in obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and/or to finalise the inheritance tax position for the estate where they wish us to do this.

The exact cost for this more abbreviated service will once again depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is inheritance tax payable and/or the Executors need to file a full inheritance tax account with HMRC, then this will likely lead to an increase of costs.

We anticipate this abbreviated service will typically take (depending on the individual circumstances of the matter) between 3 and 12 hours of work at £150 plus Vat per hour. Total costs are therefore estimated at between £500 and £1,800 plus Vat for this service.

In addition, the disbursements which will typically arise for this abbreviated service are:-

  • application fee for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (currently £155)
  • fee for Court sealed copies of Probate (currently £1.50 per copy)
  • office copy entries for any property owned by the deceased (currently £3 per property)
  • swearing of the oath (typically £7 per executor)
  • Certainty Will search fee (currently £95 plus Vat) – to try and ensure that there is no later Will made by the deceased

How long will this process take?

On average, the full estate administration process will take between 6 and 12 months (depending on the individual circumstances of the matter) unless there happen to be complicating factors which delay the completion of the process. Such complicating factors might include a delay in the sale of a property in the estate and/or delays with HMRC agreeing the final tax position.

Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration alone takes between 2 and 6 months depending on the complexity of the estate and, in particular, on whether a full inheritance tax account has to be filed with HMRC.

Collecting assets then follows, which can take 2 to 4 weeks. Once this has been done, we can settle any debts and distribute most of the assets, which normally takes a further 2 to 6 weeks. However, collecting and distributing assets can take longer than this where there is a property and/or there are shareholdings in the estate, due to registrar procedures.

An amount of money will then typically be retained on account whilst the tax matters relating to the estate are finalised, which will usually include income tax and may also include capital gains tax and inheritance tax liabilities. Any such tax liabilities will be additional to the estate administration costs mentioned above. This tax finalisation process will usually take 1-2 months, however it may take longer than this due to HMRC deliberations and/or queries.

Once the tax liabilities have been agreed and settled with HMRC, we can then finalise the Estate Accounts for approval by the Executors. This normally takes 2 weeks from all of the above matters being completed. Once these accounts have been approved, we can then make the final distribution to the beneficiaries.

However, in respect of all cost and time ranges given above, more precise estimates will be provided by us once we have reviewed the paperwork and circumstances relating to the particular estate concerned.

In particular, the time estimates given here will likely be longer where:-

  • A dispute arises between the beneficiaries of the estate regarding the valuation and/or division of assets; or
  • A claim is brought against the estate (for example, to challenge the validity of the Will or to seek a greater financial provision than provided under the Will)

For further clarification on the estate administration process and the issues involved, please see Age UK’s Factsheet 14 “Dealing with an estate” at:-
https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/information-advice/guides-and-factsheets

Testimonials

Julian was very friendly and helpful, making the whole experience simple and relaxing.

Client from Billingshurst

Advice and service given in a friendly atmosphere, would recommend.

Client From Pulborough

Julian provided a truly excellent service for me recently with a new Will and Lasting Power of Attorney. He is highly professional, friendly, makes one feel very at ease and is extremely charming. He also makes very good coffee!

Client From Rudgwick

Good value, friendly, patient and helpful service with good clear advice.

Client From Worplesdon

Have a Question?
Please ask away

julianlee@jml-law.co.uk

01798 872100

Sandy Lodge, London Road, Coldwaltham,
Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 1LR

Open Weekdays from 11am-5pm
By appointment only

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Information

Julian M Lee is an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly
JML Law is a regional member of the Certainty National Wills Register
JML Law is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 614498)

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