When someone dies leaving a will their estate will normally go to probate. This is especially the case if the deceased owned property or had substantial savings. Probate is the means of proving that a will is valid and is the responsibility of the executor. When someone dies without leaving a will an administrator must be appointed to administer the estate of the person who has died. The Administrator will apply for “Letters of Administration”.
Probate is literally the process by which a Court proves that a will is valid thereby allowing the executor named in the will to sign any document that the deceased could have signed whilst the deceased was alive. The Order granted by the Court is called a “Grant of Probate”. If someone dies without leaving a will, the next of kin apply for a “Grant of Letters of Administration” which is the equivalent Order where the deceased has not made a will. Again the Grant of Letters of Administration allows the appointed next of kin to sign any documents that the deceased could have signed whilst the deceased was alive.
This is a process by which the executor or administrator collects together the deceased’s paperwork, applies to the Court for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration. Thereafter they collect in the money and property into the deceased’s estate, pay any debts and distribute the estate amongst the relevant beneficiaries. They will also finalise the deceased’s income tax affairs and pay where necessary any inheritance tax due.
The cost of dealing with the administration of an estate varies according to a variety of factors such as:
Is there a valid will?
Did the deceased own any property?
How many different investments did the deceased have?
Are there any assets abroad?
Are there any shareholdings?
How many beneficiaries are there?
Are there many liabilities to settle?
Is inheritance tax payable?
We charge by the hour for dealing with probate matters. The current hourly rate is £300 including VAT at 20%. An estimate of the likely cost is given when we know the details of the deceased's assets and liabilities and the number of beneficiaries involved. The average cost of dealing with the administration of an estate is between £1,750.00 plus VAT at 20% and £3,000.00 plus VAT at 20% dependant on the complexity of the matter and the above mentioned factors. A more accurate estimate can be given when we have more information about the will, if any, the assets and beneficiaries. The court fee on 1st April 2019 is £155.00 plus £1.50 for each copy of the grant that is required. It is normal to obtain several copies of the grant so that one can be sent to each of the financial institutions in which the deceased held investments.
Our service will be carried out by Nicholas Hart a solicitor who has more than 30 years’ experience in dealing with probate matters and is a member of the Law Society Private Client Section.
Our service includes writing to all banks, insurance and investment companies and institutions, including utility companies, to whom the deceased owed money, advising on important steps to be taken by the executors or administrators, drafting the HMRC account, drafting the court papers, ascertaining the contact details of the beneficiaries, preparing where necessary a family tree, writing to the beneficiaries about their inheritance, corresponding with and advising the executors or administrators, preparing a report to you on the papers drafted by us, submitting an application for probate, paying any inheritance tax, receiving the grant, advertising for creditors when appropriate, collecting in the assets of the estate, paying any debts, paying any specific beneficiaries their entitlement, preparing an administration account, finalising where necessary the deceased’s income tax affairs, reporting to HMRC any taxable income or capital gains during the administration, issuing accounts for approval, receiving approval to the accounts from the executors and/or the beneficiaries, searching against beneficiaries at the Land Charges Registry and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries including settling any tax or other liabilities.
The matter normally takes between 6 and 18 months to complete.
Our service does not include drafting a deed of variation, engaging in any litigation or other contentious probate work or selling the deceased’s leasehold or freehold property. Such work will charged separately and an estimate of the cost will be given at the time.
We are able to offer a fixed fee service for obtaining a grant of probate on the basis that our service is limited to meeting with you, drafting the HMRC account, preparing the court papers, sending you a report on the documents prepared and applying to the court for the grant of probate and nothing else. We will not deal with the administration of the estate or any tax matters when offering this service. This service is conditional on:
1 The estate does not exceed £1,000,000 where the spouse or charity exemption applies, and
2 The estate does not exceed the nil rate band (currently £325,000.00) except where the spouse/civil partner or charity exemption applies or transfer of unused nil rate band applies.
Hudgell & Partners fixed fee price for just obtaining the grant of probate is £900.00 including VAT at 20% plus the court fee for issuing the grant. The court fee on 1st April 2019 is £155.00 plus £1.50 for each copy of the grant that is required. It is normal to obtain several copies of the grant so that one can be sent to each of the financial institutions in which the deceased held investments.