Probate and Trusts

Probate is a ‘grant of representation’ and gives you the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’) after they die. We can arrange for collection of an estate’s assets, pay any debts including Inheritance Tax, and distribute any property, money or possessions to beneficiaries.

A trust is a way of managing assets (money, investments, land or buildings) for people. There are different types of trusts and they are taxed differently. They are set up for a number of reasons, including to control and protect family assets; when someone’s too young to handle their affairs; when someone can’t handle their affairs because they’re incapacitated; to pass on assets while you’re still alive; to pass on assets when you die (a ‘will trust’); and under the rules of inheritance if someone dies without a will (in England and Wales). We can advise upon both probate and trusts.

Our charges for Probate Work

For much of the work we undertake here at Marc White & Co Solicitors, we offer a fixed fee. This is where the work is quantifiable from the outset, such as when we are preparing documentation for you, such as a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney.

For work that is not carried out on a fixed fee, we charge an hourly rate, so the total amount you will pay will depend on who works on your matter and how long it takes. We provide an estimate of total charges from the outset, as well as regular costs updates, so that you always know where you stand.

To receive more information about our charges that is tailored to your individual needs, please get in touch .

Below is an illustration of how we charge for Probate and the Administration of Estates after someone has died.

(1) Cost illustration for Obtaining a Grant of Representation Only:

Our Grant of Probate Only service includes either the preparation of a reduced Inheritance Tax Form (IHT205) for excepted estates, or the full Inheritance Tax form (IHT400 and Schedules) for more complex estates. This also includes preparing and submitting the application to the Probate Registry to obtain the Grant. This service requires you to supply the relevant figures and information and we take care of the forms for you to review and sign. We then submit the application on your behalf.

Once obtained, the Grant will be sent to you, so that you can carry out the administration of the estate.

Fees start from £2,000 plus vat and expenses.

(2) Cost illustration for full Estate Administration service:

Our full Estate Administration service includes either the preparation of a reduced Inheritance Tax Form (IHT205) for excepted estates, or the full Inheritance Tax form (IHT400 and Schedules) for more complex estates.  This includes preparation and submission of the application to the Probate Registry to obtain the Grant.

Unlike with our Grant Only service, we will contact all asset holders and creditors, to establish the value of the estate. We then prepare and submit the Grant application on your behalf. On receipt of the Grant, we will handle the administration of the estate, including closing or transferring accounts and investments, finalising the tax position, producing estate accounts for the beneficiaries and distributing the estate in accordance with the Will or Intestacy Rules.

Each estate is unique in its assets, beneficiaries, and other aspects. However, as a guideline, for a simple estate (e.g. a house worth £200k and two bank accounts with a combined value of £40k, being left in a straightforward Will to two children where there is no conflict), our fixed fee would be £4,300 plus vat and expenses.

Timescales are heavily linked to those of HMRC and the Probate Registry, however, we would expect a straightforward estate to be administered within 12 to 18 months.

This illustration is for estates where:

  • There is a valid and straightforward Will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 3 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are no more than 3 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes or claims

This illustration is not for estates where:

  • The person who has died was domiciled abroad or where there are foreign assets
  • There is more than one property
  • There are business or agricultural properties/assets
  • There are intangible assets
  • Beneficiaries need to be traced
  • There are more than 3 beneficiaries
  • Claiming the residence nil rate band or the application to transfer the nil rate band and/or residence nil rate band
  • Completion of income tax returns or formalities
  • Capital gains tax advice and returns
  • Trusts
  • There are disputes or claims

Where there are a large number of assets to be managed, complexities of international elements, business or unusual assets, or a large number of beneficiaries to be verified, it can take much longer

To handle the full administration of an estate worth in excess of £2M with multiple properties and financial assets, our fixed fee can be up to £35,000 plus vat and expenses.

Timescales are heavily linked to those of HMRC and the Probate Registry and also depend on how long it takes for property to sell, however, complex estates generally take at least 12 to 24 months to be administered.

We offer a free initial meeting in all Probate matters to establish what work needs to be done and to enable us to provide a fixed fee quote based on the circumstances, so that you know what our total costs will be from the outset.

Key Stages for Full Estate Administration are:

  • Will/intestacy verification
  • Full asset and liability enquiries
  • Information gathering and valuations
  • Calculating and paying inheritance tax and preparation of the relevant inheritance tax return
  • Preparing and applying for the Grant of Representation (Probate or Letters of Administration)
  • Collecting in assets and paying debts
  • Finalising the tax position (inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax)
  • Preparation of full estate accounts
  • Finalising and distributing the estate

Expenses (applicable to both (1) and (2)):

There are always charges payable to third parties and the most common expenses are:

  1. Probate application fee – £273 (or £0 where the net value of the estate is below £5,000)
  2. Court sealed copies of the Grant – £1.50 each
  3. Sealed and certified copy of the Grant – if assets are held abroad you may need one of these – £1.50 each
  4. HM Land Registry – Office Copies for each property, if required – £3.00 each
  5. Placing s.27 notices – £300 approx.
  6. Bankruptcy Searches – £2 per executor and beneficiary
  7. National Will Register search – £105 plus vat
  8. Financial Asset Search (strongly recommended in taxable estates) – £195 plus vat

There may also be other expenses, such as those associated with valuing assets such as property and shares.  We will always request your authority before incurring any expenses on your behalf.

VAT- All our charges are subject to vat at 20%.

If you are outside scope of UK VAT though, you may not need to pay this.

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