Wills, trusts, & probate

Making a will is a simple process and is essential both to ensure that your property and possessions are dealt with in accordance with your wishes and to minimise any inheritance tax liability.

At Bates Wells & Braithwaite we can advise on all matters which need to be considered when preparing a will or discretionary trust, including clear and concise advice on all tax planning issues, care of the elderly, making gifts, appointment of guardians for your children and executors to carry out your wishes.

Dealing with the estate of a friend or relative who has died can be emotional, stressful and time consuming. We can take care of all the administration of estates from start to finish, from notifying everyone necessary to obtaining the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration if there was no will), through to distribution of the assets of the estate.

More families now find that, with steadily-increasing house prices and higher family incomes, Inheritance Tax has to be paid when you die. We can advise on ways to minimise any tax liability on death by way of trusts and other appropriate schemes.

Download our useful guide to making a will

Probate

Applying for the grant and distributing the assets

If you require assistance with obtaining a Grant only, we anticipate this will take between 3 and 6 hours work at £250 per hour plus VAT (currently 20%). Total costs are estimated at £750 to £1500 plus VAT (currently 20%) depending on how much preliminary work you need us to do on your behalf.

If you require assistance with applying for the Grant followed by collecting and distributing the assets, we anticipate this will take between 6 hours (for a straightforward administration) and up to 50 hours for a more complicated estate (e.g. which might involve stocks and shares, trust arrangements, property issues, tax issues, multiple bank accounts etc.). The likely range of costs at £250 per hour is therefore between £1500 and £12500 plus VAT (charged at 20%). On average our costs in relation to applying for the Grant followed by collecting and distributing the assets, are around £4,000 to £5000 plus VAT 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, or no will, then costs will likely be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you.

The lower quote would apply where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are 2 – 5 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

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

  • Probate application fee of £155 (no VAT). Please note that this is expected to rise to £273. See news post July 2021 here.
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary, no VAT)
  • Approximately £310 plus VAT at 20% to post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
  • There may be an additional fee for posting in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims. Typically £75 plus VAT at 20%
  • If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50 pence (no VAT)

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are likely to be concluded within 6 – 12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 2 to 3 months. Collecting assets then follows, which may take a further 3 to 8 months. Once this has been done, we can provide accounts and distribute the assets, which normally takes approximately 1 month.

We do not operate on either a Fixed Fee or percentage basis for probate matters.

As part of our service, we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate fee earner to work on your matter
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Draft a Statement of Truth for you to sign
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the Probate and send a copy to you
  • Collect and distribute all the assets in the estate

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