PROBATE

Nick Goodheart

Probate

0208 848 9988




Website Transparency Rules

We are accredited with the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) by the Law Society which is the recognised quality mark for legal experts in drafting Wills and administering Estates. We follow best practice procedures and meet the highest standards of technical expertise and client service. All fee earners are required to undertake yearly examinations with a pass-mark of 87%. We are one of 200 law firms nationwide with this accreditation.
We offer a bespoke, tailored and individualised service for estate administration as no one estate is the same as another.
We can deal with the most straightforward estates to the most complex administrations including contentious matters. As a result of our technical expertise we are referred matters from other local solicitors including contentious matters, foreign assets, foreign domicile and technical issues requiring skilled, innovative and pragmatic solutions.
It is usual for this firm’s fees to be deducted from estate monies once in funds, provided the estate has sufficient liquid assets. However, monies will be required to be provided up front for disbursements required before the Grant of Representation is issued.
Where we are instructed to deal with the whole of the administration of a straightforward estate, it is not unusual for the Estate to be finalised within 6 months from the date of instructions.

Qualifications and Experience

Our dedicated Private Client Department (Estate Administration Team) consists of two Solicitors, a Senior Probate Case Handler and a Trainee Probate Case Handler as well as three Support Assistants. Overall we have over 35 years of estate administration experience in contentious and non-contentious matters.
We deal with a wide ranging case load of administrations.
The head of the department and supervising solicitor is also an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), adding additional expertise when required.
Where matters are so complex and additional expertise in other areas of law are required, we are able to call upon the other departments of this firm for guidance and assistance as well as the support of two top tiered Barristers’ Chambers in this area of Law.

Fixed Fee Service

Where clients wish to deal with the administration of the estate and only require our involvement to obtain the Grant of Representation on a straightforward estate, we are able to offer a fixed fee service.
Our fees to obtain a Grant of Representation only are £1,500.00 plus VAT, totalling £1,800.00.
The above fee is based on the straightforward estate assumptions set out below. However, our quote is on the basis you have already obtained and will provide all information necessary for us to complete the application for the Grant of Representation.
As part of the fixed fee we will:-
- Appoint a dedicated fee earner to handle your case
- Have an initial consultation meeting with you face to face or by telephone
- Identify the legally appointed Executor/Administrator of the estate
- Identify issues of concern regarding the administration you will need to be aware of
- Prepare financial statements based on the information you have provided for your approval
- Complete the relevant HMRC forms on your behalf based on the information provided by you
- Prepare the Oath for you to swear
- Submit the application to the Probate Registry
- Forward the Grant of Representation to you

The disbursements which are likely to be payable to third parties for this service are marked with “*” under the section on disbursements.
Upon receipt of all the required information from you it will take approximately two weeks for us to prepare the financial statements for you to approve. Upon receipt of your approval it will take approximately a further two weeks for us to prepare the application for the Grant of Representation. Upon submission of the application it will take the Probate Registry up to five weeks to issue the Grant of Representation which we will subsequently forward to you upon receipt.
This firm’s fees will need to be settled before the Grant of Representation is released to you and monies on account will need to be provided to cover disbursements.

Estate Administration Service

In situations where we are instructed to deal with the administration of a straightforward estate in its entirety we charge an hourly rate currently not exceeding £210.00 plus VAT, depending on the fee earner dealing with your matter.
Our total fees for a straightforward estate administration range between £1,500.00 and £5,000.00 plus VAT. These figures are illustrative only.
We will handle the full estate administration process for you which includes settling the funeral costs from estate monies, contacting the relevant institutions to obtain required information, liaising with the Beneficiaries, realising the estate assets, settling any liabilities, preparing administration accounts for approval by the Residuary Beneficiaries, distributing the estate, calculating the interest received during the administration, and settling any income tax issues during the administration on an informal basis.
Our Estate Administration Service will apply where Estates come within the following:
- The deceased was domiciled in England and Wales and they owned no assets outside the jurisdiction.
- There are no complex background circumstances (such as previous marriages, divorces etc).
- There is a valid Will in which we are not the Executors, nor do you wish for us to act as Administrators, and there are no construction and/or interpretation issues with regard to the Will.
- There is no contention as to the validity of the Will.
- There is no Will and the Rules of Intestacy apply to the estate where the deceased died recently (within the last 3 months) and where the estate is less than £250,000.00 and the deceased is survived by a spouse, or where there is no spouse, the deceased is survived by immediate family who are easily identifiable without the involvement of Statutory Trusts
- The estate is solvent.
- The value of the gross estate is below £325,000.00
- There is only one property which is solely owned by the deceased or co-owned as joint tenants with their spouse and there is no issue regarding the ownership.
- The outgoings on the property, including building insurance inspections, are dealt with or undertaken by the client or others.
- There are no more than five bank and building society accounts.
- There are no Trusts including lump sum death benefits under pensions, life assurance policies and death in service benefits.
- There are no guaranteed purchased life annuities and the deceased made no changes to their pension arrangements within 14 years of death.
- There are no tax issues concerning charges under the Standard Lifetime Allowance.
- There are no intangible assets.
- All chattels/personal effects are dealt with by the client or other party without our involvement.
- There are no lifetime gifts made by the deceased, including potentially exempt transfers (PETs) and/or lifetime chargeable transfers (LCTs).
- There are no outstanding tax issues to be resolved during the deceased’s lifetime and the deceased was not self-employed.
- There are no more than three legacies and three Residuary Beneficiaries of the estate, all of whom are individuals identified, and are located in England and Wales.
- There are sufficient assets/monies to settle the legacies and none of the legacies adeem or lapse.
- You do not require any protections available to you as an Executor/Administrator during the administration and before the estate is distributed.
- There are no business or agricultural assets.
- There are no candidates to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Independents) Act 1975.
- There are no disputes between the Beneficiaries.
- The estate does not need to be registered as a complex estate with HM Revenue & Customs and no Trusts and Estates Tax Return is required to be completed.

Please be aware the above list is not exhaustive and our indicative fees do not include the transfer, purchase by Beneficiaries, or sale of a deceased’s property.
In addition to this firm’s fees there will be disbursements which are dependent upon the assets which comprise the estate and the protections required by an Executor / Administrator and these are set out under the section “Disbursements”.

Complex Estate Administration

As a result of our technical expertise we deal with the Administration of a large number of complex and contentious Estates.
Estates become complex where they feature any of the issues which do not allow us to offer our Estate Administration Service (See list under “Estate Administration Service”).
Please be aware the list under “Estate Administration Service” is not exhaustive.
In complex Estates we charge an hourly rate currently not exceeding £250.00 plus VAT, dependent on the Fee Earner dealing with your matter.
In addition to the time spent on complex Estates, we may charge a mark-up of 0.5% value of the Gross Estate where we consider this to be fair and reasonable.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide an indication of costs regarding such matters but will provide an indication of cost once we are fully informed of the circumstances of your case.
In addition to this firm’s fees there will be disbursements which are dependent upon the assets which comprise the estate and the protections required by an Executor / Administrator and these are set out under the section “Disbursements”.

Miscellaneous Estates

We are also requested by clients to advise on specific technical issues which can arise during an Administration and where a client does not wish for us to deal with the Administration as a whole.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide an indication of costs regarding such matters but will provide an indication of costs once we are fully informed of the circumstances of your case. In such situations, we are able to work to an agreed set budget tailored to your needs.
When the Partners of this firm are appointed as Executors, or your wish to appoint the Partners of this firm to act as your Attorneys in the Administration of an Estate, we may charge a mark-up of 1% of the gross value of the Estate to recognise the additional responsibilities and liabilities which they will have as Administrators and where it is fair and reasonable.

Disbursements

The likely disbursements to be incurred could be as follows:
- Probate Court fee - £158.00 (inclusive of six Court Sealed copies) *
- Swear fee - £5.00 plus £2.00 per exhibit (per Executor/Administrator) *
- Stockbrokers’ valuation and verification fee for public shareholdings - £20.00 per holding
- Stockbrokers’ disposal/transfer charges – to be confirmed
- Certainty Will Search - £114.00
- Land Registry Office Copy Entries - £3.00 per Title *
- Land Registry Registrations fees – to be confirmed
- Asset Search - £25.00 to £150.00
- Statutory Advertisements - £280.00 to £400.00
- Bankruptcy Searches – up to £9.00 per Beneficiary having three names
- Counsel’s fees – to be confirmed, if required
- Caveat - £20.00
- Probate Search - £10.00
- Standing Search - £20.00
- Birth, Deaths Registry Office Searches – circa £20.00 per certificate
- Accountants’ fees – circa £600.00 for a simple Trust and Estate Tax Return
- Independent Financial Adviser – to be confirmed

The above figures are illustrative only and the actual costs for disbursements may vary.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf and those monies are usually payable from estate monies to ensure a smoother process.

What to do Next

Please telephone or email us to discuss your matter generally and to arrange an appointment to attend upon this office or by way of telephone conference.
At that appointment/conference please bring with you or provide the following:-
- Original Death Certificate
- Original Will (if applicable)
- Your photo identification and two proofs of address (no older than three months)
- All information regarding the estate assets, liabilities, income and outgoings

The cost for this consultation/conference amounts to £150.00 plus VAT totalling £180.00 on the basis it does not exceed 1 hour.

In the event you instruct us then the consultation/conference fee will be wrapped up into the fees for the work to be carried out by us.