Administering a Person’s Estate after Death
Our Probate Team has a wealth of experience in obtaining all types of Grants of Representation in relation to a Deceased’s estate. The department members are all specialist Probate lawyers. The Team is headed by Mark Munro who has over 30 years of post-qualification experience and is assisted by Solicitors Mary Morgan, Amy Morris, Sian Maund and Emily Cross. The Team also boasts three Chartered Legal Executives namely Victoria Pugh, Sarah Husbands and Jonathan Edwards and has further support from Julie Bickley, a Senior Probate Executive with more than 25 years’ experience. Our Practice Accountant, Dan Tudor, assists with the preparation of Estate Accounts that we produce for the Personal Representatives and Tax Returns for HMRC.
Members of the Team are also members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly.
More information as to the experience and qualifications of members of our Team please click below
Understanding the Administering a Person’s Estate after Death
We can tailor the service provided to your precise needs by providing a bespoke service and can deal with all matters arising from the administration on your behalf.
We will contact all asset holders and debtors on your behalf to obtain full details of assets and liabilities of the estate. Our legal costs are payable from the Deceased’s estate.
When we have obtained details of all the assets and liabilities, we will prepare the necessary Return for HM Revenue & Customs and claim any appropriate tax reliefs on your behalf.
An Oath or Statement of Truth will also be prepared for the Personal Representatives to submit to the Probate Court. This will enable a Grant of Representation to be obtained and authorise the Personal Representatives to collect the assets in the estate.
We will realise assets; settle liabilities; advise on Statutory Notices and Dependency Claims; and, distribute assets to beneficiaries.
Key Stages in the Matter and Timeframe
The first step is to value the assets and liabilities in the estate. The time scale for obtaining this information depends upon the complexity of the assets within the estate. A typical estate would take from 6-12 weeks to complete this first stage.
When all assets and liabilities have been received, we prepare the HM Revenue & Customs Return and Oath for approval of the Personal Representatives. This will be done within a fortnight of receipt of all the relevant information and we will write to the Representatives explaining the procedure for submitting the documents to the Probate Court and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
When the short form Return to HMRC applies, we expect to receive the formal Grant within 4-6 weeks of submitting it to the Court. If a more detailed return to HMRC is required, this makes the process of obtaining a Grant of Representation longer. Typically an extra 4-8 weeks.
When the Grant has been obtained we would collect and realise the assets; we would settle liabilities, and place Statutory Advertisements for Creditors, if appropriate. The timescale for realising assets and setting liabilities depends upon the type of the assets and liabilities within the estate. In a typical case this would take between 6 and 12 weeks.
The final stage is to prepare Tax Returns for the Administration Period to HMRC and the Final Estate Accounts, which includes calculations of monies due to the beneficiaries. However, due to the potential for claims by dependents under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975), we advise that distribution of assets is deferred until 6 months from the Grant.
We will discuss the potential for dependency claims in detail with the Personal Representatives and can distribute to beneficiaries as assets are realised in appropriate cases.
Explanation of Fees and Expenses
Our fees are calculated on an hourly rate for the time that we spend on the matter plus an enhancement to reflect the complexity and value of the Estate. We will provide you with an estimate of our likely fees at the start (or as soon as we are able to assess the work involved). If, during the matter, there are unforeseen complications we will always inform you immediately and we will explain what these are and what effect these complications have on the likely costs. We will then let you have a revised estimate of costs.
In order to provide with a peace of mind, we guarantee that our fee and expenses will not exceed 3% of the gross estate plus VAT subject to a minimum total cost of £1,750 (plus VAT of £350) and expenses of £171; Total £2271. This guarantee ensures that 97% of the gross value of the estate is available for distribution to the beneficiaries.
On average for a straightforward administration of an estate involving assets in the region of £250,000 our fees would be in the region of £3,000. If the same matter was more complicated the fees could be in the region of £5,000.
No estate is exactly the same to administer, our fees will reflect the particular requirements of the matter. The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. Matters that affect the potential cost of the administration include:
- Whether there is a valid will
- Whether there is more than one property
- The number of bank or building society accounts
- The extent to which there other intangible or unusual assets
- The number of beneficiaries
- Whether there is inheritance tax payable and the executors need to submit a full account to HMRC
Expenses are costs related to the matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of these on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Likely expenses are:
- Probate application fee of £157
- £7 Swearing of the oath (per executor)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
- £180 Notice to Creditors advertised in The London Gazette and a local newspaper. These Notices protect- the Personal Representatives against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
Matters which Are Not Included in the Costs Explanation above
Our estimate of costs and timescales do not include matters which are not formally part of the administration of the estate but may be necessary. Such matters include:
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
- Dealing with and advising upon disputes between beneficiaries as to the distribution of assets
- Any dependency claims against the estate
- Detailed advice on complexities surrounding Inheritance Tax Relief
- Advice on the complexities surrounding Inheritance Relief claims
We shall be happy to discuss with you any such matters as they arise and advise you on the necessary steps together with an estimate of the costs of these.