Wills

We understand that many people are hesitant to make Wills and usually it is something that can stay on their “to do” list for a long time. Making a will is an easy thing to put off or overlook. Yet planning your estate is important and is something everyone should do Our goal is to make the preparation of your Will as simple and clear as possible. We help you to find the best solution for documenting your wishes, for example, we can advise you with regard to the use of Trusts in Wills as part of Inheritance Tax Planning, both to minimise tax liabilities and as a way of controlling what happens to wealth and property after death. Whether you wish to leave your estate to your spouse, children, friends or charity, our solicitors can prepare a Will that meets your precise needs. We are aware that many people wish for a copy of their Will to be kept in a safe place – we are able to store your signed Will for you if you wish and give you a full copy to retain.

Probate

When someone close to you dies, it is hard enough to deal with the grief and pain let alone all the legal requirements. We are here to deal with the deceased’s affairs professionally, compassionately and considerately.

We specialise in administering both simple and complex estates. Even fairly simple estates can be challenging to administer without the guidance of an experienced professional.

In estates where complex inheritance tax calculations are required, we strongly advise using a specialist probate solicitor.


What does our probate service provide?

We offer a full estate administration service, guiding you through the process from start to finish.

The service would typically include:

  • Meeting with you to take your instructions.
  • Investigating the assets and liabilities in the estate, including obtaining professional valuations of property, investments and other assets.
  • Preparing a first set of draft Estate Accounts.
  • Preparing the probate papers, including the Oath and necessary HMRC forms.
  • Liaising with HMRC with regard to the Inheritance Tax liability of the estate, and arranging the payment of inheritance tax.
  • Applying for and obtaining the Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry.
  • Collecting in the assets of the estate and/or transferring assets to beneficiaries.
  • Dealing with any income or capital gains tax liabilities of the estate, for the administration period.
  • Preparing final estate accounts.
  • Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries


What is the cost of applying for probate?

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter, including:

  • the size of the estate,
  • the complexity of the deceased’s financial affairs and the estate, including whether the Deceased had a large number of accounts and other investments,
  • whether the estate includes foreign assets, trusts, or business interests,
  • whether the deceased left a Will (and how well it was drafted) or whether the estate passes under the Rules of Intestacy.

Unlike most banks (who on average charge around 4% of the value of an estate to deal with the administration) we charge based on the time we actually spend administering the estate. Our hourly rates are £280 per hour plus VAT. We also offer a fixed fee once the size of the estate can be ascertained.

As a general guide, our fees for the full administration of an estate are usually between £5000 and £10,000 plus VAT and third-party costs. However, we will provide an estimate prior to beginning work.

In addition to our fees, there will also be third party costs (known as “disbursements”). We handle these payments on your behalf to ensure that the administration progresses smoothly and efficiently.

Examples of these fees are as follows:

Probate court fee £160
Advert posted in the London Gazette      £69.50 plus VAT

 

Trust & Estate Disputes

We can help you when difficulties with an estate or trust arise, for example:

  • You have concerns about the validity of a Will.
  • You have concerns about how an estate or trust is being administered.
  • You think that a lawyer has been negligent when preparing (or failing to prepare) a Will.
  • Somebody else is contesting how an estate or trust is to be distributed.

Losing a loved one is an extremely difficult and emotional time. Whatever the issue, it is important that you take expert legal advice quickly to ensure you do not miss any time limits and that you resolve any disputes as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

An LPA is a legal document where you appoint one or more people to make decisions and act on your behalf. The difference between an LPA and an ordinary power of attorney is that if you lose mental capacity the LPA will continue in effect.

It may be difficult to think that you might lose mental capacity one day, but it is reassuring to know that if you do your wishes are being managed by someone you trust.

Many people assume that their spouse, partner or children can make decisions on their behalf if a life-changing medical condition or accident happens. This is not the case, as they do not have the legal authority to do so without an LPA.

There are several different Powers of Attorney and we will advise you on the most appropriate type, depending on your circumstances and need. Lasting Powers of Attorney should be made when a Donor is well and able to carefully consider who he/she would want to make decisions for them if they could not make the decisions themselves due to ill health or old age. There are two types of LPAs:

  • Property and Financial Affairs LPAs
  • Health and Welfare LPAs

We will give you guidance on who to appoint as a good Attorney and we will prepare and complete the appropriate LPA and deal with the notification and registration on your behalf.