WILLS, TRUSTS AND PROBATE

DEALING WITH ADMINISTRATION OF AN ESTATE OF SOMEBODY WHO HAS DIED.

Under the Administration of Estates Act, you are entitled to get a solicitors’ help. Cocks Lloyd have a team made up of experienced professional staff who deal solely with this work, every day.

We know what needs to be done next. We can deal with all legal procedures and requirements, accounts and records involved in administering the estate. This can ease the burden, at a difficult time. We can ensure that the estate is dealt with correctly without delay, minimising the worry and stress for you or we can deal with specific tasks for you within the estate, for example, getting probate, property transfers, variations to save Inheritance Tax, or dealing with trusts created by the Will or Intestacy. We can advise you if any claims are made against the estate. If you are an Executor, it is a heavy responsibility, and you are accountable to the estate’s beneficiaries. Executors who act wrongly may have to pay compensation, and once administering an estate has begun, an Executor cannot drop out even if things turn out to be more difficult than expected. Cocks Lloyd can deal with the legal requirements for you. We are regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority and are controlled by strict professional rules and professional standards for all clients’ reassurance and protection.

Our team includes a member of ‘STEP’ – The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – an organisation for practitioners who specialise in these matters.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

In all matters the expenses involved depend upon a variety of factors, including the time we spend (meetings with you and others, preparing and working on papers, documents, Accounts, Inland Revenue Returns, and correspondence, and making and receiving telephone calls, e-mails, Faxes etc.), the complexity or urgency of the particular matter (and, hence, sometimes the need to give that file priority over other client matters or carry out work outside normal Office hours), the skill, expertise and responsibility involved in dealing with the case, the importance of the matter to the client, and the amount or value of the assets or property involved.

The costs involved will depend on the assistance you require. Our help can simply involve an application for a grant of probate (i.e. our clients deal with the administration of the Estate without our continued assistance) or our assistance can extend to the full administration of the Estate.

In these types of matters, it is very difficult to estimate the amount of time required to complete the work involved. This can vary depending on the number of assets, how promptly replies are received, and whether any particular problem arises, the number of beneficiaries, whether there is any Inheritance Tax or other Taxes payable, and whether the Estate is subject to any claim, as well as other variables

OUR HOURLY RATES

In certain cases, the charges may be calculated mainly by reference to the time spent by Mathew Jones, Steven Evans, Martin Kimberley, Alison Coles dealing with the matter. We set out below the categories of staff in the Private Client Department, and their hourly charge out rate, which is subject to VAT:

PositionHourly Rate
Mathew JonesSolicitor/Partner£225
Steven EvansSolicitor/Consultant£225
Martin KimberleySolicitor£195
Alison ColesSolicitor£185
Other Senior Executives£170
GRANT ONLY

In “Grant Only” matters our clients provide all the information required for the submission to the Probate Registry, including valuations, balances on accounts etc. Our instructions are limited to preparing the application forms for a grant of representation and submitting the same to the Probate Registry. If instructed to simply obtain a grant only, our firm do not deal with the Estate administration – this is seen to be the client personally. Ordinarily our fees will be between £650 to £850 + VAT and disbursements. This estimate is based on the following:-

  • There is no requirement for a full Inheritance Tax submission to HMRC;
  • There is no Inheritance Tax payable; and
  • The deceased left a Will and there is unlikely to be a dispute in respect of the same;

The above is not an exhaustive list of issues that may arise during an Estate administration. Other issues may arise that could result in further, unanticipated expenses/fees.

FULL ADMINISTRATION

In “Full Administration” matters our firm obtain Valuations of all of the Estate’s assets, and details of all liabilities, which enable us to prepare a summary of the position, and the Inland Revenue Account papers which have to be lodged with H.M. Revenue & Customs, and the Oath of Executors/Administrators which is needed to be lodged with the Court to apply for the Grant of Representation. If the Estate is subject to Inheritance Tax, then arrangements will need to be made to pay all or part of the Tax liability (depending on the type of assets in the Estate) on submission of the application for Grant of Representation. Once Grant of Representation is issued, we deal with registration of this in connection with the assets, realisation of assets, and settlement of known liabilities, property transfers, and preparation of Estate Accounts for your approval and then distribution of the Estate in accordance with the terms of the Will or Intestacy rules (as appropriate). In Inheritance Tax cases, we apply for a Clearance Certificate from H.M. Revenue & Customs, and deal with any necessary correspondence with H.M. Revenue & Customs.

By way of an example, if our firm were instructed to deal with the full administration of an Estate and;

  • the gross value of the Estate does not exceed £200,000 (gross);
  • there is no need for a full Inheritance Tax submission to HMRC;
  • there is no potential dispute or claim against the Estate; and
  • there are no more than five organisations holding funds on behalf of the deceased

We would anticipate our fees to be in the region of £1,600.00 to £3,200.00 + VAT and disbursements.

MORE COMPLEX ESTATES

In more complex Estates we charge in accordance with the guidance issued by the Law Society.

The benchmark for calculation of the expenses is by reference to the time spent by the staff in the Firm in dealing with the matter. This time is charged at a lower rate of £130 per hour. This is the “expense rate” which essentially covers the cost to us in terms of our own fixed overheads in undertaking the work.

The charges in such cases also contain an element based upon the value of the Estate assets and property with which we have to deal. This is because the value is a reflection of the importance of the matter, and the consequent risk and responsibility falling on the Firm. The relevant percentage is a maximum of 1% of the gross (pre-Tax) value of the Estate, excluding any residence in which the deceased resided, where the rate is 0.5%. (The value of any jointly owned assets which we have to administer is discounted by one-half).

DISBURSEMENTS

In addition to the legal expenses, there will normally also be certain additional payments such as Court fees, Commissioner for Oath fees, charges for official copies of Probate documents, and Land Registry fees. These are known as disbursements. Standard disbursements in an Estate administration are as follows (although the below list is not exhaustive):-

  • Probate Registry Fee – £155.00
  • Probate Registry Fee for further copies of the grant – £0.50p per copy
  • Bankruptcy Search — £2.00 per search
TIMESCALES

It is difficult to provide an estimate as to how long it may take to administer an Estate, as it ultimately depends on the circumstances particular to the matter. Often the time it will take to fully administer an Estate is determined by outside factors, such as the sale of a property etc. That said, we will endeavour to provide an estimate of the time it will take to administer an Estate during our initial consultation.

All work is supervised by a qualified Solicitor.

Specific experience can be seen looking at the individual profiles of “Our People”.

TESTIMONIALS

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