At Paper Temple, we are here to guide clients through the steps needed following a death, and to provide much-needed support. This can be a very trying and confusing time for those trying to disentangle someone’s affairs and attend to the paperwork required by HMRC, the Probate Court and the various institutions.
Our Probate Service is carried out by our Rachel Teasdale, one of the partners at the firm, with over 12 years post qualification experience working in this field. Rachel has been working in this area since she qualified and has helped hundreds of families and individuals.
Rachel qualified as a solicitor in 2008 after completing a post-graduate diploma in law at Northumbria University. She completed her training contract at Thomas Magnay & Co and worked in this area prior to opening this firm with Claire Newburn in 2012.
Rachel has also completed several professional development courses in probate and estate administration.
The administration of an estate (also known as Probate) can be a complex process. Fees and time scale vary from case to case. Below is an outline of possible costs and time frames.
Our Legal Costs
We do not carry out probate work on a fixed fee.
On a probate matter, our charges consist of two elements:
1. Hourly rate
We work on an hourly rate of £200 on a time recorded basis and provide our clients with an estimate of how many hours we think the specific estate should require.
An average* estate takes us approximately 6-12 hours of work. As matters develop should it become apparent to us that this estimate will be exceeded we would, of course, contact you to obtain your consent before continuing.
2. Value element
We charge a percentage of the value of the estate, which is calculated by splitting the estate into two parts: residence and remaining assets.
A percentage of each part is then charged as follows:
0.5% of the value of the deceased's residence (if any); and
1.0% of the value of rest of the estate.
Please note VAT (@ 20%) will be charged on both the hourly rate and value element of our charges.
Other likely costs we may have to pay on your behalf to third parties are known as Disbursements.
For a Probate matter, there are usually the following Disbursements such as:
Barclays bank fee of £15 per transaction to send gifts to beneficiaries;
Probate Court fee of £158 to obtain the Grant of Probate;
Gazette Notice fee, if required, to protect the client from claims from unknown creditors ;
Fee for Notice in the local paper, again to protect the client from unknown creditors, this may be approximately £50.00 plus vat. (at 20%)
*Our fees above are based on an average estate. We consider this to be an estate where:
There is a valid will
There is no more than one property
There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
There are no other intangible assets
There are 4 beneficiaries
There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
There is no inheritance tax payable, and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
There are no claims made against the estate
How long will it take to complete?
We know that clients want matters of this nature addressed quickly and put behind them, but please be aware that average* estates are dealt with usually within 6 to 12 months.
What do we do to administer an estate?
In administering an estate for a client, we will usually need to attend to the following matters:
Obtain an original will (if one was left), perhaps undertaking will searches if it is not to hand;
Review the will with clients explaining the terms and effects of the same;
Collate all information on assets and debts of the deceased’s estate;
Appraise those assets and debts;
Complete the relevant paperwork to comply with HMRC requirements;
Prepare an appropriate application to the Probate Court;
Once Grant of Probate obtained (or Letter of Administration in an estate where no will was left) begin bringing the estate;
Sell property in the estate (if required);
Distribute the estate to beneficiaries;
Complete estate accounts
If the estate is so large that it breaches the Inheritance tax threshold, then inheritance may be payable to HMRC. As such a full set of estate accounts must be prepared for HMRC. The tax also needs to be paid in accordance with HMRC deadlines. That is why a larger estate is not considered average from a charging point of view.
For further information on Inheritance tax
We appreciate that dealing with the aftermath of a death can be a difficult and sensitive time, whether you are the Executor of a Will or an administrator of affairs, especially when no Will has been left, or there is uncertainty about where the last Will can be found.
Obtaining a grant of representation and dealing with the administration of an estate can be complicated; it can take several months to make sure everything is done correctly. At Paper Temple, we offer a complete estate administration service to deal with everything on your behalf, so that you don't have to worry about it.