At Gales Solicitors we recognise that when acting for clients who have been named as Executors of a Will, our clients will have many decisions to make. One of these decisions relates to seeking legal advice to support the Executors during the administration of the Estate. There are a number of options available in the supply of our legal services which we will discuss at our initial meeting.
Our private client team takes client care seriously. We offer a personal and professional bespoke service. We take pride in the fact that many of our instructions are from clients and the families of clients for whom we have acted before or from clients who have been recommended to us by their own friends and family.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has introduced new rules in respect of transparency in price and service; we are required to publish prices for probate work for dealing with the administration of an Estate, from start to finish, in relation to uncontested cases where all the assets are in the UK. This includes both testate cases (where the deceased has left a valid Will) and intestate cases (where there is no valid Will) and estates which are subject to the payment of Inheritance Tax and estates where no Inheritance Tax liability is anticipated. You may not need our help on all these aspects in dealing with the administration of the Estate and that is why all options are discussed at our initial meeting and a fixed fee agreed at that time, depending on the level of work required.
If you decide to instruct us to deal with the whole administration of the Estate, as part of our costs we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate lawyer 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
- Advise on the Inheritance Tax position and available reliefs and exemptions
- Complete the Probate application and the relevant HM Revenue & Customs Return of Information (please see important note below regarding Inheritance Tax)
- Draft a legal oath for you to swear
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtain the Probate and supply sealed copies to you
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
Usually we undertake this work on the basis of a fixed price estimate, depending on the amount of work anticipated in a particular case. The fixed price estimate will be supplied at the outset, on the basis of the information you supply.
Our fixed price costs for work in the administration of an Estate of the type outlined here start at £2,950 plus VAT, to include liaising with financial organisations to obtain the necessary information to complete the paperwork, review of the property title, preparing the Oath leading to the issue of the Grant of Representation, preparing the Inheritance Tax Return of Information and then following the issue of the Grant, to include dealing with the collection in of the assets and distribution.
This estimated figure applies to an Estate where:
- There is a valid Will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than five bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are between one to three beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- No Inheritance Tax is payable and the only Inheritance Tax form required is the Inheritance Tax Return of Information, ie the Executors do not need to submit a full account to HM Revenue & Customs or claim any additional Inheritance Tax reliefs or exemptions
- There are no claims made against the estate.
In all Estates where a Grant of Probate is required, an Inheritance Tax return of some type will be required. Our estimated costs include the preparation of an Inheritance Tax Return of Information only.
Even if no Inheritance Tax is payable, sometimes it is necessary to lodge additional claim forms or submit a full Inheritance Tax return to secure all available Inheritance Tax exemptions and reliefs. Depending on the nature of the claim, additional costs will arise but these will be discussed with you at the outset.
Where Inheritance Tax is payable in an Estate, a full Inheritance Tax Return will be required and tax must be paid. Usually we undertake the work involved in the submission of a full Inheritance Tax and liaising with financial organisations to secure the release of the tax payable (if applicable) on the basis of a fixed price estimate. Again, additional costs will arise but these will be discussed with you at the outset.
For further information about Inheritance Tax, you may find the following links helpful:
Additional expenses (called “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.
The following disbursements are anticipated; these are payable in addition to our fees:
- Probate Court application fee of £155
- If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £0.50 (one sealed copy per asset usually)
- Swearing of the Oath (per Executor) £7
- Official copy of the title to the property (register only) £3
- Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
- Publication of notices in The London Gazette and a local newspaper £208; to provide protection for the Executors against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
Potential additional legal costs
- If there is no Will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could increase significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information.
- If there are any foreign assets in the Estate; again we can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information.
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in this costs estimate.
How long will this take?
On average, this type of estate administration is dealt with within six to twelve months. Within this time scale, there are two key stages; the obtaining of the Grant of Probate, which could take up to four to six months, sometimes much earlier depending on the speed with which the Estate can be valued. The second key stage is the distribution of the Estate, which will take place once the assets have been encashed and the Executors are ready to release the same.
More information about the process of dealing with an Estate is available on www.legalchoices.org.uk, a website provided by legal regulators including The Solicitors Regulation Authority and ILEX Professional Standards.
Our private client team
Based in the heart of Winton, Gales Solicitors have been providing legal services to our clients, both local and further afield since 1948. In 2018 we celebrated both our 70th anniversary and the amalgamation of Gales Solicitors with Robert Wrynne Solicitors of Tuckton. We aim to offer expert advice with a friendly face.
Our Private Client team offers over thirty years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to Wills and the administration of Estates. We aim to provide a single point of contact to deal with the legal issues that matter to you. We take particular care to review Inheritance Tax reliefs and exemptions to ensure that every Estate we deal with benefits from the maximum reliefs and exemptions available.
With the help of our able support team, the following are here to help you:
Kathryn Cole – Lawyer and Private Client and Probate Manager
Kathryn is based at our Winton office and has over twenty five years’ experience in private client work, specialising in Wills and probate. Kathryn is an award-winning Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, having been named as the Graduate of the Year in 2015. Kathryn has helped thousands of families and individuals during her legal career in Bournemouth and as well as advising on the administration of Estates, is also an experienced conveyancer, so where a property is involved, will be able to advise on all aspects of the Estate administration.
Sarah England – Solicitor and Partner of Gales Solicitors
Sarah is based at our Tuckton office. Having gained her law degree at Southampton University in 2001 and a Master’s Degree in Law in 2003, Sarah qualified first as a Barrister in 2004 and as a Solicitor in 2008. In the past, Sarah has specialised in litigation work including Coroner’s Inquests but has recently expanded her area of expertise to include Wills and Probate, having undertaken an intensive training course in this specialist area.
Sue Kilpatrick – Paralegal
Sue is based at our Winton office. Having previously qualified as a solicitor, specialising in Wills and probate work, she left the profession to focus on her family. Sue has now returned to the law as a paralegal and joined Gales Solicitors in July 2016 to assist in the Wills and Probate team.
Matthew Moore – our firm’s Senior Partner and supervising Solicitor
Matthew originally qualified as a Barrister and was called to the Bar for the first time in 1999. Matthew joined Gales Solicitors in March 2000, qualifying as a solicitor two years later. He has been the Chairman of the Trustee Board of Bournemouth and Poole Citizens Advice Bureau, the liaison officer between the Bournemouth & District Law Society and the local Citizens Advice Bureau and is now Chairman of the Winton Traders’ Association.