Probate & Estate Planning

We know that it is an upsetting time when someone passes away. Cree Godfrey and Wood provide a sympathetic and supportive service, ensuring that everything is managed with as little additional stress as possible.  Our clients have the comfort of knowing the affairs of their loved ones are dealt with by experienced specialists in this area of law.

We will make sure that the deceased’s affairs are handled sensitively and accurately and that all legal requirements are fulfilled correctly.

When there is no Will it is important that the family takes advice from a specialist Probate Solicitor with regard to how the law relating to this situation affects the estate and the impact of Inheritance Tax. The absence of a Will can cause major problems for the family of the deceased; not only from a financial point of view but also with potential family disputes as to who inherits under the Rules relating to Intestacy.

Being an executor or an administrator, means you are the person legally responsible for ensuring the estate is dealt with properly. Our Probate specialists can protect you by assisting with all, or part, of the procedure.

To give you a sense of the breadth of expertise and experience we can bring to bear, here are some of the issues that need to be considered when administering an estate:

  • Cataloguing paperwork to identify assets and liabilities
  • Obtaining valuations
  • Dealing with creditors
  • Obtaining the Grant of Representation
  • Collecting in assets
  • Placing statutory advertisements and carrying out bankruptcy searches to protect personal representatives
  • Dealing with the H. M Revenue and Customs with regard to
    • Completing income tax returns for the deceased and for the estate,
    • Completing inheritance tax papers and claiming all reliefs to ensure that inheritance tax is not overpaid
  • Mitigating capital gains tax
  • Dealing with beneficiaries
  • Updating deeds, and dealing with issues relating to land

Probate

We can help you through this difficult process by dealing with all the formalities of the administration of the estate, including obtaining the Grant of Representation, on your behalf.

How much does this service cost?

  • Legal fees – these are fixed at 0.85% of the gross value of the estate exclusive of VAT, subject to a minimum fee of £1500.00 exclusive of VAT. We do not charge on an hourly basis;
  • VAT on legal fees – this is currently levied at a rate of 20%;

In addition, there will be disbursements. 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.

 

The likely disbursements are:-

  • Probate court fee of £155.00 (minimum);
  • Bankruptcy searches at £2.00 per search;
  • Money Laundering searches at £7.20 per search;
  • Missing Will search fee of £114.00;
  • Unclaimed Asset Register search fee of £25.00;
  • Statutory Advertisements in The London Gazette and local paper protecting against unexpected claims from unknown creditors of approximately £200.00;

 

As part of our fee we will:-

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter;
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries;
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require;
  • Obtain the relevant information about the assets and liabilities of the estate necessary to make the application;
  • Complete the relevant HMRC forms;
  • Arrange for payment of any Inheritance Tax;
  • Draft a Statement of Truth for you to sign;
  • Make the application to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Representation on your behalf;
  • Obtain the Grant of Representation and send copies to you;
  • Collect and distribute all assets in the estate;
  • Prepare Estate Accounts for your approval;

Potential additional costs

  • Disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If any disputes arise they are likely to lead to an increase in costs;
  • Claims made against the estate.  If any claims arise they are likely to lead to an increase in costs;
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in our fixed fee;

 

How long will this take?

Typically, obtaining the Grant of Representation takes 4-16 weeks. Collecting assets then follows which can take between 4-8 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets which normally takes 2-3 weeks. However, every estate is different. Some may take longer.

 

Please note:-

  • That we will not deal with HMRC in relation to Income and Capital Gains Tax matters;
  • Subject to Parliamentary approval, it is anticipated that the Probate Court fee will move to a sliding scale based on the value of the estate in April 2019. Estates under £50000.00 will not pay a fee. Thereafter the fees will be £250.00, £750.00, £2500.00, £4000.00, £5000.00 with the maximum fee of £6000.00 payable on estates in excess of £2000000.00;