When a loved one dies it is never easy to cope. Even though you may not feel up to dealing with their affairs, it is something which has to be done.
At Cyril Jones & Co., we have an experienced team to help lift that burden, providing you with support at a difficult time.
Probably the most important document (and one of the cheapest) you will sign in your lifetime is going to be your Will.
If you are concerned about what happens to your money and assets after you die then you must make a Will. If you do not, then the State will dictate who will inherit your wealth which may not be the people you want to get it and may even be the State itself.
In this modern world it is even more important to make a Will particularly if you are in a long term unmarried or same sex relationship.
A Will can stop people making a claim against your estate.
You may need to think about guardians to any children, and who you want to be your executors. If you do not make a Will you could even be cremated when you wanted to be buried alongside dearly loved deceased relatives.
It does not have to be complicated; you do not have to have much money.
Please ask us how much it will costs, we think you will be surprised just how little it is.
PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION
The area of practice referred to as Probate deals with the administration of a deceased’s estate; gathering details of all assets and liabilities and eventually distributing the remaining monies / property according to the wishes set out in the deceased’s Will.
The following members of the practice currently deal with Probate matters: -
Sali Williams - Partner (£240.00)
Glen Murphy - Partner (£240.00)
Michael Cunnah- Partner (£240.00)
Brett Butt - Solicitor (£175.20)
The basic hourly rates of these practitioners are in brackets and are inclusive of VAT.
The basis on which we calculate costs on administration of estate is set out in the schedule of all our costs and charges that you can see on our website under the Transparency heading.
Common Terms in Probate Matters
Grant of Probate - the document issued by the Probate Registry that gives the named executors in the deceased’s Will the authority to collect in the assets and deal with the estate in accordance with the Will.
Grant of Administration - this is the same as above except that the deceased has not left a Will. The person named in the Grant will be the person(s) next entitled to apply in accordance with the Intestacy Rules – usually the nearest relative. Your Solicitor will advise you about this.
Renunciation - where a named executor decides he or she is unwilling or unable to carry out their role as executor.
Small Estates - generally where the amount of money involved is relatively small and a Grant of Probate / Administration is not required.
Beneficiaries - persons names in a Will who will receive a legacy or other gift from the deceased.
S.27 Notice - a legal notice put in the local paper and/or the London Gazette giving notice to potential unknown creditors that the estate will be distributed by a certain date if they do not come forward. This is a measure of protection by any claims against the executors.
Disbursements - these are monies we have to pay on behalf of the estate to third parties e.g. Probate court fees. It may be necessary to request the executor to provide these funds if there are insufficient monies in the estate. Funeral expenses and Inheritance Tax can be requested to be paid direct from the deceased’s bank or savings account(s). Disbursements may also include Land Registry fees; legal notices; and bankruptcy search fees.
Inland Revenue Return - also referred to as form IHT205 and IHT400. These documents are required to be sent to the Probate Registry and/or HMRC setting out the value of all the deceased’s assets to determine whether or not under the tax rules any inheritance tax is payable. This can sometimes be a lengthy and complicated process and will usually involve the assistance of a professional person such as a Solicitor and/or Accountant if there are complicated tax matters to deal with.
The majority of estates are generally reasonably straight forward and involve assets such as: - property; savings; pensions; insurance policies; stocks and shares; premium bonds; bank accounts; motor vehicles.
Administration of Estates can become complicated, more time consuming and therefore more costly when various factors are involved, such as:
- Complicated Wills setting up Trust Funds in favour of children and other beneficiaries
- Where a Will (or the Intestacy Rules) are contested by beneficiaries or relatives or persons because they have been left out of a Will or have not sufficiently been provided for.
- Where someone maintains the deceased’s Will was made under pressure or that they did not have the mental capacity when the Will was made.
- Where there is an allegation of fraud
- Where the Will involves a lot of charities. Special rules apply to charities which may call for more detailed investigation.
- Estates involving business partnership assets or agricultural assets.
- Estates involving any monies or property owned by the deceased outside of the UK.
- Estates where the whereabouts of beneficiaries are unknown and may require specialist tracing agents.
- Estates with complex investment portfolios.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
This is very difficult to predict as it depends in third parties and factors beyond the Solicitor’s control.
Generally, for a straightforward, uncomplicated matter with no unforeseen problems you can expect an estate to be completed within 6-8 months; sometimes much sooner than that.
More complicated estates or estates which involve those issues listed above can take up to 3-5 years to eventually finalise.
We are required to obtain evidence as to the identity and address of the people we are receiving instructions from. This will generally be the executors or the administrators. In some cases where we are sending monies to a named beneficiary, we will require proof of identity and address before sending more monies to reduce the risk of fraud.
CALCULATION OF FEES
As referred to above, our fees are based on an hourly rate depending on the Solicitor dealing with the matter.
Where our instructions are limited only to applying for a Grant; where no Inheritance Tax is involved our fees would be £850.00 plus VAT of £170.00 and probate court fee of £155.00.
Where we are required to apply for a Grant and Inheritance Tax forms are required to be completed and submitted we would estimate fees of £1500.00 plus Vat at £300.00 and probate court fees.
In all other cases where we are instructed to apply for a Grant and deal with the administration of the Estate as a general rule we calculate our fees based in 1% of the cash assets; 0-5% of property value to be dealt with and work in progress (WIP). WIP is the actual time spent on the file preparing documents and attending the client including correspondence and telephone calls and attendance.