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Wills and Probate


Sadly, we are all going to die one day. Some may die unexpectedly whilst others may die after a long life. It is very important that we all make a will as death is one of those things that no one can predict. If you die without leaving a valid will, your assets may not go to the persons that you most loved or wanted them to go to. This can only be achieved by a valid will.


There are strict rules relating to making a will. If the formalities are not complied with, the Will is not likely to be valid or is likely to lead to an expensive and often lengthy court case. It is therefore cheaper to pay a Solicitor to prepare a will properly rather than your Executors spending so much more in establishing the validity of a after your death. That will certainly cause a reduction in the net assets of your estate, especially if the costs have to be met out of the estate.


We can discuss all your requirements and advise you how to make provisions for your loved ones. A Will should not be rushed through and there is no such thing as a standard Will. Some companies will make a Will for a small fee but earn a good fee from acting as your Personal Representative. A personal Representative is the person who follows your wishes as per your Will and gives effect to them.


Even if you have made a Will, it can still be challenged if you have not reasonable provisions for members of your family or those who were dependent on you. There are time limits for doing this. We can assist in making a claim for you.


If you die without a valid Will leaving a spouse, he/she will receive the whole of your estate. If you die leaving a spouse and children, your spouse will receive 250,000 of your estate. 50% of the balance will pass on to the children on reaching 18 years and the remaining 50% will pass on to your surviving spouse.


If you are cohabiting and die without a Will, your surviving partner is not treated as your surviving spouse and will not be automatically entitled to your estate. If you die without leaving a Will, your surviving parents and siblings have no automatic right to your estate. Making a Will is therefore particularly important for people living together whether they are of the opposite or the same sex.


If you have no surviving relative, your estate will go to the Government. Even if you do not wish to leave you assets to a member of your family, you may wish to leave them to a charity instead of it going to the Government. You will also need to ensure that as little Inheritance Tax as possible is paid to HMRC after your death.


A Will can be made or changed as many times as you wish. It is the last Will that you make before your death that will be acted on provided that it is a valid Will.


We can assist you in the following:

Making Wills
Amending whole or part of a Will
Challenging or defending the validity of a Will
Making or defending a claim by a family member or a dependent
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney
Administering the estate.

 

Costs


Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets


Probate matters are handled by our Mr Birdy, who has been practising Solicitor, since 1979. He currently charges 230.00 per hour in uncontested matters. Probate for an undisputed Will normally takes between 12-20 hours work at. Total costs estimated at 2,800.00 to 4,600.00.


The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end and may even be more than this. We will inform you, as soon as we become aware of this likelihood.


We will handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where:
There is a valid will
There is no more than one property
There are no more than 2 bank or building society accounts
There are no other intangible assets
There are 1-2 beneficiaries
There are no disputes between beneficiaries on 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


Disbursements included in this fee:
Probate application fee, currently
Approximately 20 Swearing of the oath (per executor)
Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (3 per beneficiary)
Approximately 600 Post in The London Gazette Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
Approximately 400.00 Post in a Local Newspaper This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.


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. They are not part of charges and are always changing. It is for this reason that we have given estimated figures or these. We will give more accurate details of these when we are instructed.


Potential additional costs
If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there will be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information. If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost 3 (1 per asset usually). Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.


How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 4-9 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 10-12 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take anything over weeks, depending very much on how quickly the assets are released to us. There may be additional charges if we have to spend more time in this matter, than is normally the case in an undisputed and normal probate matter. Once the assets have all been collected, and all dues paid under the estate, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes further 3-6 weeks.


Our estimate of costs and times are not intended to influence you in instructing us. They are indication of likely costs in a straight forward uncontested probate matter. We have tried to be as accurate as possible but will increase or review our charges if the matter becomes more expensive and time consuming than anticipated at the outset. If we are instructed, we provide full details of our charges with our terms and conditions.

Please contact our Wills and Probate Team