Winchester Lawyers help with Probate & Estate Administration
As Winchester based lawyers, we have contacts with many local professionals to ensure that the Administration of the Estate can be dealt with swiftly and comprehensively.
Alternatively if you wish to minimise the costs, we can provide advice and assistance just with the more complicated aspects of the process.
We can accept instructions from executors and family members and, if we are instructed to act on behalf of executors or administrators, our fees can be paid out of the estate.
If someone dies without a valid Will then the administration and distribution of their estate is governed by statute. Spouses, civil partners or close relatives can be appointed as the administrators of the estate. The order in which people can apply is set down by an Act of Parliament.
When someone has written a Will the Executors appointed are responsible for sorting out the affairs. The executors can carry out the work themselves or can instruct a professional to assist them or complete the work on their behalf.
The executors or administrators are responsible for collecting in the assets, paying the debts and then sharing out the property to those entitled. They are also responsible for calculating and paying any tax due.
Thomas Simpson Solicitors of Winchester can prepare the Inheritance Tax forms in most cases and work closely with local accountants to ensure that more complicated tax issues are resolved quickly. It is necessary to do this before any application for probate can be lodged.
It is possible to vary a Will after death and the statutory order of distribution under intestacy. There are strict time limits if you wish to take advantage of any tax benefits that this may bring. If you are interested in a variation you should seek advice quickly.
Click on this link for A quick guide to probate
We do not believe in charging a proportion of the estate value as some other probate practitioners do. We believe that we should be paid only for the work that is necessary and that we carry out. Therefore we charge our hourly rate of £230 plus VAT for probate work.
We are required to provide pricing information on our probate services. It is very difficult to give a useful example as every case is different and requires different amounts of work. We have set out below an example based on a simple estate administration but we would be very happy to provide you with a more accurate estimate. We offer a free 30 minute interview in order to be able to provide you with some initial advice and a realistic estimate for your particular estate.
In addition to providing a full administration service we are happy to offer fixed fee interviews and ad hoc advice (at our hourly rate) for people who wish to administer an estate themselves. We will provide whatever level of service you require.
A simple estate would be one that meets the following criteria:
- A valid Will
- No inheritance tax is payable & the short form tax form can be completed
- No more than one property
- No overseas assets
- No more than 3 bank or building society accounts
- No more than 3 shareholdings
- No other investments
- No more than 2 pensions (including the state pension)
- No other investments
- No more than 5 beneficiaries
- No disputes arise and no claims are made against the estate
If we are instructed to fully administer a simple estate then we would anticipate that this would take between 6 and 8 hours of work. This would cost £1,610 – £2,070 plus VAT.
In addition to our fees the following costs may be payable:
- Court probate fee of £273 (plus £1.50 for every copy)
- Conveyancing costs
- Financial search fees of approximately £180 – £250
- Bankruptcy search fees usually of between £4 – £8
- Notice in London Gazette costs approximately £78
- Notice in local papers costs approximately £250
This pricing does not cover estates where any inheritance tax is payable. We would be happy to provide you with a more personal estimate of costs after a free 30 minute interview. You can find inheritance tax calculators online so that you can see whether inheritance tax is payable and to estimate any liability.
The time it takes to obtain a grant of representation and finish the administration of the estate varies depending on its complexity. In a simple estate it would usually take between 4 – 8 weeks to apply for a grant of representation and a further 4 – 6 weeks to finalise. Unfortunately there are significant delays in the Probate Registry processing applications and in some cases it is taking them 12 weeks to issue a grant which needs to be added to the timescale.
We also help with writing Wills.
The Society of Estate and Trust Practitioners (STEP) offers advice for families on inheritance and succession planning.