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Upon death, the deceased’s Estate needs to be dealt with. Ideally the deceased will have a Will in place which states quite clearly what should happen to his/her property after death. The process of dealing with someone’s money, possessions or property is known as Probate.
If the deceased died intestate then you can apply to be an ‘administrator’ of the estate. In this case you will receive ‘letters of administration’ to prove you have the legal right to deal with the estate.
We can advise you in respect of both procedures. If there is a Will then the Executors will have been elected. We often advise Executors with carrying out the deceased’s wishes.
If the deceased died without making a will then we can advise if
– you’re the person’s next of kin, for example their spouse, civil partner or child.
– if you were still married or in a civil partnership with the person when they died, even if you were separated from them.
You cannot apply if you’re the partner of the person but were not their spouse or civil partner when they died. You’re not automatically entitled to any of your partner’s estate.
Applying for probate
If you’re an executor you can apply for probate yourself or use us. If there’s no Will you can apply for letters of administration. Again we will be only too happy to assist with this.
Unlike most firms we do not charge a percentage of the value of the Estate. This in our view is unfair to the Estate and an unnecessary expense.
The exact costs of dealing with the above will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter, and the time spent by the lawyer(s) dealing with the matter, contracted at these hourly rates:
Mark Saunders: Senior Partner £250 plus VAT
Colleen Saunders: Consultant £250 plus VAT
Paralegal/Paralegal work: £97 plus VAT
We would estimate that it would take somewhere between 10 hours and 15 hours of work at £250 per hour (total costs of £2500-£3750 (plus VAT) to handle a simple estate. This assumes:
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one residential property
- There is no more than 4 bank or building society accounts
- There are no claims made against the estate
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries.
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
Under the following circumstances it is likely that the administration of the estate would include but not limited to:-
- No will
- Inheritance tax is payable
- There are numerous shareholding (stocks and bonds)
- One of more of the beneficiaries cannot be found
- Where a caveat has been placed against the estate
- Where there are issues of distribution over the estate.
- Where it falls to us to undertake an investigative approach to ascertain what the assets are
We are able to give more of an accurate summary of costs once information is to hand and in such circumstances we will look to reduce the hourly rate to assist.
The Following additional fees will be payable:-
- Probate application fee of £155 (current fee)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary per distribution)
- Approximately £100 for a notice in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
- Between £250 and £450 plus VAT for a property valuation by a RICS qualified surveyor.
If the Estate is small and uncomplicated we may be able to undertake this work on a fixed fee basis for £1500 plus vat and disbursements.
If the main residence needs to be sold then we can undertake this work at the following cost
Value of the home Cost of Sale
£0.00 – 150,000 625.00 plus vat 125.00
£150,001 – 200,000 660.00 plus vat 132.00
£200,001 – 300,000 705.00 plus vat 141.00
£300,001 – 500,000 760.00 plus vat 152.00
£500,001 – 750,000 810.00 plus vat 162.00
£750,001 + 1,035.00 plus vat 207.00
Additional Leasehold Fee (if appropriate) 125.00 plus vat 25.00
Bank Transfer fee 40.00 plus 8.00
Office Copy Entries + Filed Plan 6.00 (freehold)
Land Registry docs/lease (if required) 3.00 each