We at V. E. White & Co. believe that a properly drafted will, to ensure your estate is dealt with in a tax-efficient manner, is essential in our day and age. Our Wills & Probate team have the specialist knowledge and skills required in the areas of wills, tax planning and probate to help our client’s through a difficult time for their family and loved ones.
We at V. E. White & Co. are will specialists, with many wills being prepared over a standard working week. Our will process allows our clients to explain their wishes in full and have their will tailored to their individual needs accordingly, with the offer of holding their original will at the firm, for no extra charge.
When someone close to you passes away, you will require someone to deal with their ‘estate’. An individual’s estate is defined as all of their money, property and any other possessions they have at the date of their death. Before distributing this estate as per the individual’s will, the estate must go through Probate. This process will pool all of the assets together, settle any outstanding debts and finally distribute the estate to the respective beneficiaries.
All of the individual’s assets remain frozen whilst the Probate process is continuing. Upon completion of this process, a Grant of Representation will be presented to the Executor’s, thus giving them the power to distribute the individual’s estate as per the will.
If there is no will, it is the responsibility of the appropriate member of the family to act on behalf of the estate and obtain Probate.
Whether you are the Executor or the next of kin, We at V. E. White & Co. can provide practical guidance to deal with the Probate process until its completion. Our team are expertly trained in being able to complete the Probate in an efficient manner, whilst also aiding with any Inheritance Tax issues which may arise.
Our team can complete the Probate process from beginning to end so that you do not have the extra stress of this situation, which includes paying all outstanding funeral expenses and debts. Our team will process all the correct forms and will even distribute the estate, as per the will, on the completion of the Probate process.
We are able to arrange the transfer or sale of any shares or residential property which belonged to the estate. We at V. E. White & Co. will ensure that the Probate process is completed professionally and with the highest level of care, allowing you the time you need to grieve for lost family members.
NON CONTENTIOUS PROBATE MATTERS
When a loved one dies there are certain legalities which have to be dealt with which we understand can seem daunting and confusing for those left behind. If you instruct us to deal with the administration of an estate on your behalf we aim to take the worry and accompanying stress off your shoulders. Our Probate executive has 24 years experience in these matters and knows that no two estates are the same. In this regard it is therefore almost impossible, at the outset, to give an accurate estimate of what our professional fees will ultimately be. A person’s estate consists of assets they had on the day they died in their sole name. These assets include cash assets being bank, building society accounts, shares, personal chattels etc. and any real estate (a house). It is these assets to which a Will, or if there is no Will the laws of intestacy, apply. However these are not the only assets which have to be included for Inheritance Tax purposes. Jointly held assets and gifts given in the 7 years prior to the death are just two other types of asset which also have to be included. Many clients say to us “it’s only a small estate” when in reality, although the value may not be high, the information needed to prepare the papers on your behalf is the same. To offset IHT there are certain exemptions which can be claimed. Some of these exemptions involve a lot more work than others. A person may have many small accounts which takes more work to deal with than someone who has a large amount of money in just one account. Shares also take a lot of forms and correspondence to deal with. We hope this shows how greatly one estate can differ from another and why it is difficult to give an estimate at the outset. Our basic charging strategy is as follows:
In accordance with the Solicitors Code of Conduct the basis of costing Probate work is as follows:
This is based on an hourly rate of £195.00 which is broken down into 10 units of 6 minutes with each unit being charged at £19.50. Letters sent are charged at 1 unit each. Letters received are charged at half rate as are short emails. Telephone calls are charged at 1 unit per 6 minutes as are personal attendances. The time taken to prepare documents is charged in increments of 6 minutes as is general time spent on the file.
A percentage uplift is allowable for appropriate care and conduct of the matter dependent on its complexity. This is usually around 25% rising to 50% for more complicated estates.
In addition to the time spent on a matter we are permitted to add a value element. This will be a maximum of 1% of the gross value of cash assets only. We do not charge a percentage on the value of real estate.
VAT is added to our costs at the current rate of 20%.
Please note we charge a minimum fee of £1,500 plus VAT and disbursements.
There is also the Probate fee which at present is £155 payable out of the estate. Copies of the Grant of Probate are 50p. Copy of the Land Register is £3. These are the usual disbursements in Probate matters but of course an estate always has other debts to pay be it utilities relating to a property or repaying DWP for state benefits paid to a deceased after death. These can be many and varied and differ according to the particular circumstances of a deceased.
We trust the above assists you in understanding the costs involved in applying for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration in an estate.
Of course some estates do not require a Grant of Probate to be applied for at all. These are usually where a married couple own all their assets as joint tenants and the law of survivorship applies, but you may not necessarily know if this is the case. In these matters we can offer a 30 minute fix fee interview for £180 inclusive of VAT to go through the specifics and advise you accordingly.