Probate and the Administration of Estates

It is our pleasure to offer you a friendly and personal service brought to you by Rachel D’Souza.

We offer compassionate yet practical advice to help and guide you at this most difficult time.  We can do as much or as little to help you as required.

Jargon Buster

Probate comes from the Latin probare, “to test or prove,” and literally means proving that a will is valid. This official document can be shown to anyone who wants proof that you are authorised to act as an Executor.

Where there is no will it is proving that you are the people legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s estate.

However, the word probate is usually used to describe the legal and financial processes of dealing with the assets of a person who has died.

Estate means all the money and property owned by a particular person.

Grant of Probate is a legal document which confirms that the Executor appointed by the Will has the authority to deal with a deceased person’s assets.

Grant of Letters of Administration is a legal document which confirms who has the authority to deal with a deceased person’s assets where they died without leaving a Will.

The Oath is a formal confirmation that you are entitled to probate and that the information you have given is true to the best of your knowledge. It also states how much the estate is worth. We will prepare the document and arrange for you to swear it.

Rules of Intestacy relate to when a person dies without leaving a valid will and their estate must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the Rules of Intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a will is referred to as having died intestate.

What we can do for you

Application for a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration (“Grant”) only:

Fixed fee £490 + VAT

+ probate fee  (see disbursements below)

Typical time scale 2-3 months.

Application for Grant plus administering the estate where there is no property:

Approximately £1,500-£2,000 + VAT (6-8 hours at £225 + VAT per hour)

+ disbursements (see below)

Typical time scale 4-6 months.

Application for Grant plus administering the estate where there is a property:

Approximately £2,500-£3,500 + VAT (11-15 hours at £225 + VAT per hour)

+ disbursements (see below)

Typical time scale 9-12 months (depending on how long property takes to sell).

Application for Grant plus administering the estate where a full inheritance tax return is required:

Approximately £3,000-£10,000 + VAT (13-45 hours at £225 + VAT per hour)

+ disbursements

Typical time scale 12 months (depending on how long property takes to sell).

The costs of the above will be deducted from the estate. Our charges must be fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances.

Additional Information

The hours involved will be higher where there are more assets or more complicated assets involved, where there are trust assets, where inheritance tax is payable or where there are lots of beneficiaries or some of the beneficiaries are missing or unknown.

At your initial appointment the estate will be considered and a more accurate quote given before you decide whether you want to proceed.

We can offer fixed fees so you know the cost up front with no hidden extras. The fixed fee would be agreed following your initial appointment.

When an unforeseen complexity arises or the way in which you ask us to proceed means additional work, we would inform you of this and provide a revised costs estimate.

Disbursements (additional expenses to be paid to third parties on your behalf)

 Probate fee – £155 plus 50p per sealed copy

Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches £2 per beneficiary.

Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors – £105 inc VAT

Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims – £200-250 inc VAT.

Property valuations – depends on the type of property and situation.

There may be other disbursements payable dependant on the circumstances.

The work involved in the Administration of the Estate typically includes the following:-

Grant – application only (where no inheritance tax is due):

  1.  Advising you about the probate process and checking your identification;
  2.  You will provide us with all of the information about the estate (assets and liabilities);
  3.  Completing the Inheritance Tax Form;
  4.  Preparing Oath for signing and swearing;
  5.  Submitting the papers to the Probate Registry;
  6.  Receiving Grant of Representation and Office Copies.

Grant application and administration of estate:

  1.  Advising you about the probate process and checking your identification;
  2.  Finding out the value of all assets and what debts are due;
  3.  Assessing whether inheritance tax is payable;
  4.  Completing the appropriate inheritance tax Form;
  5.  Completing the Oath for signing and swearing;
  6.  Submitting the papers to the Probate Registry;
  7.  Receiving Grant of Representation and Office Copies;
  8.  Registering the Grant and completing the necessary forms to cash in the assets and then pay  liabilities;
  9.  Correspondence with HM Revenue & Customs to finalise the income tax where necessary;
  10.  Advertising both locally and in the London Gazette for creditors where necessary;
  11.  Corresponding with beneficiaries;
  12.  Bankruptcy checks;
  13.               Preparing final Estate and Distribution Accounts for approval and distributing the Estate in   accordance with the terms of the Will or rules of intestacy.

Extras

Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.

If we are appointed as your Executor an uplift can be added.