Probate and Estate Administration Service
Our aim is to provide a friendly supportive and professional service for executors and next of kin.
If you have recently lost a loved one we offer a free initial consultation, by appointment. This can take place at our office or at your home. We appreciate you may wish other family members to be with you at this time.
During the consultation we will explore the practical steps that should be taken and help you decide the service you would like. We will let you know what the cost will be.
- ‘An executor’ -Where the person who died left a Will the executor is the person who makes the practical and financial arrangements
- ‘The estate’ means all the savings investments property and other assets belonging to the person who died at date of death.
- ‘IHT’ means inheritance tax. See FAQs for the tax payable by the PRs
- ‘The Intestacy Rules’ (‘The Rules’) are the rules that apply when no Will was left and the Rules determine who deals with the estate and how this is to be divided.
- ‘PR’ (Personal Representative) is the term that describes both the executor named in the Will and the next of kin under the Rules
Summary of Services
Many P Rs express the wish to deal with as much of the administration as possible. Legal advice is only needed in order to obtain the Grant of Representation.
After that the PR can deal with the distribution of the estate personally. For this we offer a Probate only Service
We are happy to offer as much practical help and support to enable you to run the administration smoothly.
However we recommend that the Probate only Service is used by P Rs who are primarily administering the estate for their own use and benefit.
In most cases P Rs would wish us to provide a Complete Probate Service. This would involve
- valuing the estate
- preparing detailed account
- establishing the inheritance tax liability and making arrangements to make the necessary ‘upfront’ IHT payment required
- obtaining the grant
- Where necessary advertising ( in case anyone has a claim against the estate)
- calling in the assets
- discharging the liabilities
- paying legacies
- Agreeing and negotiating with the District Valuer and HMRC on the size of the estate for tax purposes
- Distributing to the beneficiaries, or
- Transferring assets into their names
- Settling all outstanding tax matters
- Where there is dispute negotiating settlement between beneficiaries in dispute or where this fails asking the Court for guidance
- Preparing final accounts and presenting these to residuary beneficiaries
- Considering future tax saving
- Generally winding up the estate
Probate only service – Costs and Terms of Business
This service will include:
- Initial discussion and examination of the size of the estate
- Preparing account (IHT 205) for the PR’s approval and signature. This will usually be done on the basis of ‘latest information’ from the documents you produce which you would need to ensure are up to date
- Preparing Oath for the executor. This is a sworn statement identifying the Will (or describing why the PR is entitled to administer the estate) and promising the Court to administer the estate according to the law.
- Arranging to pay the funeral account out of one of the deceased’s accounts
- (Up to 1 hour) dealing with general enquiries and giving guidance to the executor/PR on day to day decisions that may need to be made.
- Submitting sworn Oath, Will and account to Probate Registry, dealing with any enquiries they have, and obtaining the Grant and copies
- (In a case where the person who died received state benefit) dealing with correspondence from Department of Work and Pensions
After the Grant with copies is obtained we then hand these to the executor who will then conduct the administration personally.
Our fee (which is based on the assumption that there will be no difficulty in valuing the estate or establishing entitlement to a Grant) for the probate only service will be £1500 plus VAT and disbursements. Generally the only disbursements are the oath and probate fees (with copies) totalling £150 to £160. Therefore the all in costs will be about £1950.
Probate only Service – where there is tax to be paid
This would apply for all estates exceeding £325,000 (the tax free band ) where there is no spouse or charity exemption (or estates over £1 million where there is this exemption).
Where the person who died was a widow or widower who inherited all of the estate of their late husband or wife then the tax free band is £650,000. From 6 April 2017, in cases where the main residence is left to children or grandchildren an additional £100,000 can be left free of tax (this tax free amount is scheduled to increase annually).
Where the estate is taxable or a more complex account is required (IHT 400) then our fee would in addition be 0.5% of the estate.
This is to cover the additional work of
- obtaining precise valuations of the estate
- drawing up detailed account with schedules
- calculating and raising inheritance tax needed up front
- dealing with post grant correspondence with HMRC relating to the account
The total fee therefore for dealing with a taxable estate of £550,000 (Probate only) –where it is taxable over £325,000-would be £4250 plus VAT and disbursements.
We appreciate that at the start of the administration PRs often face cash flow difficulties. For this reason – whether the service we offer is the complete service or probate only- we will accept payment after the Grant is obtained. However we will request you to sign an authority to close an account belonging to the deceased and direct the closing sum to McGlennons Solicitors if that will cover the fees. The excess will then be forwarded with a receipted invoice to the PR.
Please note that the Probate only service is really most appropriate where (apart from legacies) the PR/Executor is conducting the administration for his/her own benefit and there is no duty of care owed to other beneficiaries. Otherwise and in view of the high level of personal responsibility of the PR it is recommended that the complete service is used.
Complete Service – Costs and Terms of Business
Fees would be based on the greater of the fee for the probate only service where tax is to be paid or the time spent based on the following scales:
Our hourly rate is £240. Each page of letter out (or email of substance) is charged at 1/10th hourly rate and each page of letter/email in at 1/20th. Routine telephone calls are charged at 1/10th hourly rate although lengthy calls are charged on time basis. No charge is made for emails which just acknowledge receipt.
We are permitted to do so under law society guidance but unlike most firms for this service we do not charge a value element on estate administration.
The intention is that an interim invoice will be rendered after grant of representation and the first assets have been called in or transferred to cover the work up undertaken by us that point.
Our fees are subject to VAT which at present is 20%.
The total fees can vary widely depending on the size and nature of the estate and provisions of the will. We will provide you with a broad estimate of the likely fees once we can see the number and nature of the assets, liabilities and the will.