If you have recently lost a relative, or have been named executor of a Will, it is important to have an understanding of probate law in order to appreciate, understand and implement your responsibilities lawfully and effectively. We are here to help you through this difficult time and give helpful, friendly advice in this complicated area.
A Grant of Probate provides legal authority for Personal Representatives to administer and distribute the deceased’s estate. Without this document, banks, building societies, insurance companies and other similar organisations will not hand over the deceased’s assets.
The phrase “Grant of Probate” is a general term that is often used to describe obtaining a “Grant of Representation”, of which there are three types:
- Grant of Probate
Probate is a Grant of Representation provided when a Will has been created and an executor has been appointed. It is evidence of the executor’s authority to manage the deceased’s estate with authority stemming from the Will itself.
- Grant of Letters of Administration
Letters of Administration are granted where the deceased died without a Will, and the grant acts as authority for the administrator to act.
- Grant of Letters of Administration with Will
This Grant of Representation is appropriate where the deceased made a Will but either failed to appoint an executor, or all the executors named in the Will have died or are unable to act.
The Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration is the legal authority given by the court to enable the deceased’s estate to be distributed accordingly.
Based upon the information that you provide us, in order to fully administer the estate, we will:
- Check the validity of the Will, or confirm those entitled to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration
- Obtain probate valuations for all assets in the estate
- Confirm all liabilities against the estate
- Advise all beneficiaries of the estate of their entitlements in the estate
- Prepare a schedule of assets and liabilities which summarises the estate in total
- Prepare the Oath
- Prepare the IHT205
- Arrange for you to be sworn to the Oath and to sign the IHT205
- Submit the sworn Oath and signed IHT205 to the Probate Registry
- Liaise with the Probate Registry over any queries they may raise to enable the Grant to issue
- Upon receipt of the Grant, register the same with all asset holders
- Arrange closure and/or transfer of all assets to beneficiaries (not property or stocks and shares)
- Settle all liabilities
- Prepare estate accounts confirming all financial transactions during the period of the administration
- Once estate accounts have been approved by the personal representatives, arrange payment to the beneficiaries, supplying tax certificates as necessary.
|Our fees for a simple estate||Limited to 5 asset holders, payment of up to 2 legacies and up to 4 residuary beneficiaries. Does not include any shareholdings, dealing with enquiries raised by the DWP or any income tax reporting.||£2,500.00 – £3,000.00 & VAT|
|Our fees for a complex estate||All estates which are complex. Will include all estates where there is Inheritance Tax to be paid, or where a full IHT400 is required but there is no Inheritance Tax to be paid due to the application of either business property relief and/or agricultural property relief.||Minimum £6,000.00 & VAT|
|Disbursements||Oath fee (with a Will)||£7.00|
|Oath fee (without a Will)||£5.00|
|Each sealed office copy of the Grant||£0.50p|
|Bankruptcy searches||£2.40 including VAT per name|
|Post in the London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors||Approx. £85.00 & VAT|
|Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims||£150 – £200 & VAT|
|Land Registry Disbursements||Office Copies without Plan||£3.60 including VAT per Title Number|
|Office Copies with Plan||£7.20 including VAT per Title Number|
|Search of the Index Map||£6.00 including VAT|
|Registration/Removal of Restriction||£20.00|
|Transfer fees||Property value up to £100,000||£20.00|
|Property value up to £200,000||£30.00|
|Property value up to £500,000||£40.00|
|Property value up to £1,000,000||£60.00|
|Property value of £1,000,001 & over||£125.00|
Fees quoted do not include the following:
- Complex DWP enquiry – requires additional information and contact with asset holders and has not led to immediate clearance on submission of list of assets and liabilities
- Completion and submission of formal income tax returns
- Advice relating to the reduced rate of Inheritance Tax where at least 10% of the estate is gifted to charity
- Preparation and completion of Deeds of Variation
- Initial advice regarding a possible claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision of Family and Dependants) Act 1975 before referral to our litigation department
- Dealing with foreign assets, which includes assets held in the Isle of Man, the Channel Isles and Scotland
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate, liaison with insurance brokers, utility providers and Council Tax
- If any of the beneficiaries live abroad, the cost of undertaking foreign bankruptcy searches varies depending upon where the beneficiary lives and we would advise further on this if required
We would be happy to assist with any other matters associated with the administration of the estate and can prepare a bespoke quotation for any additional work you would like us to carry out for you. In this respect our fees would be charged on a time basis alone with our fees ranging between £100.00 to £205.00 per hour plus VAT, depending upon the level of the case handler allocated to your matter. Any potential disbursements would be confirmed at the same time. A time estimate would also be provided alongside our costs and disbursement estimate.
With any matter there are key stages, which will vary according to the individual circumstances. These are some of the key stages:
- Applying for the Grant of Probate
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate
- Settling Liabilities
- Collecting Funds
- Payment of legacies
- Producing estate accounts
- Distributing funds
It is difficult to estimate accurately how long the administration of any estate will take, as third parties, such as banks, building societies and insurance companies are involved. The general law allows personal representatives 12 months to complete an administration (the Executors year) though we would hope that the majority of matters that we would handle will be dealt with in between 6 and 9 months. In certain circumstances it would be advisable not to distribute the estate until at least 6 months after the date upon which Probate is granted, this being the time limit to bring certain types of claim against the estate nor would it be sensible to distribute the estate until the expiry of any Trustee Act notice when the executors would be completely satisfied that there are no unknown creditors to which they would have to have regard.