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Probate & Estates 3c

Probate & Estates – Our Fees

Dealing with the personal affairs of someone who has died is often a mixture of difficult emotions and frustration. Sorting out an estate takes time and is often extremely complex.

Whether you need a little assistance and advice, or would like us to take the burden off your shoulders completely, we can help. We work closely with everyone involved to ensure that the process is managed efficiently, effectively and that your personal interests are prioritised.

Our International Private Client team also has considerable expertise in legal matters where offshore assets are involved or where UK assets form part of the estate of a non-resident.

We offer competitive fixed fees for estates that are simple and straightforward, but our team is also highly experienced in handling complicated estates with difficult tax and trust issues.

The following fees apply when all assets are in the UK

Obtaining a UK Grant of Probate excluding full estate administration

Our fee for obtaining a Grant of Representation (Probate/Letters of Administration), to exclude full estate administration will be charged on a fixed fee basis as detailed below, depending on whether or not the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax (IHT) :

Non-taxable estates where there is a Will

Where no Inheritance Tax (IHT) is payable and the deceased left a Will, then our fixed fee will be within the range of £750-£1,250 +VAT depending on the complexity of the estate.   This is on the basis that we are provided with full details of all assets and liabilities in the estate and that our involvement is limited to preparing the necessary papers to lead to the Grant of Probate.

Taxable estates where there is a Will

Where IHT is payable and the deceased left a Will, then our fixed fee will be within the range of £1,000-£1,500 + VAT depending on the complexity of the estate.  Again, this is on the basis that we are provided with full details of all assets and liabilities in the estate and that our involvement is limited to preparing the necessary papers to lead to the Grant of Probate.

Should you require assistance with ongoing communications with HMRC then we will charge our time for communicating with them and advising you of our hourly rates.

Additional Services which you may require

Should you require assistance with estate IHT planning/mitigation, deeds of variation, income/capital gains tax compliance, transfers of land, and any other “ad hoc” estate administration matters, then we will charge on a “time spent” basis in accordance with our published hourly rates.  We will advise you in advance of the likely time and fees.

Full Estate Administration (UK) Fees

Our fees in connection with the administration of your estate will be considered at the relevant time, based on the complexity of your estate for example, taking into consideration whether a full Inheritance Tax Return is required, the number of assets involved and whether there are any complicating factors.

We do not charge a premium for the administration of an estate where LA partners are named as your executor(s).

We do not charge a “value element” in connection with our estate administration services.

Our fees are calculated based on the hourly rates applicable at the relevant time and which currently range from £60- £250 + VAT (Bournemouth) and £60-£325 + VAT (London). Details of our current hourly charge-out rates will be included in our letter of engagement with you, but do ask if you require further detail.

We delegate work so that it is dealt with at the appropriate level.  More junior members of our team deal with routine matters in connection with the administration of your estate and our more experienced fee earners and partners supervise the administration generally, and deal with any technical legal or tax planning aspects.

If there is a continuing trust requiring administration then there will be ongoing fees after the administration of your estate has concluded.

We have a very experienced team of trust administrators who deal with routine aspects of the administration of trusts and are supervised by partners and senior fee earners.  Again, where possible we offer a fixed annual fee in connection with trust administration.

We have a large team of experienced professionals including Solicitors, a Chartered Legal Executive with Probate Practice Rights Trust and Estate Practitioners, Chartered Tax Advisers and Tax Technicians.

Supervisors (Solicitors)

We have 3 partners (members of Lester Aldridge LLP who supervise our UK probate and estate administration services:

Richard Fairbairn – Richard is based in our London office and was admitted as a solicitor on 01/07/1978

Paula Shea – Paula is based in our Bournemouth office and was admitted as a solicitor on 15/09/2004.  Paula is also a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) (a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and is a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly.

Kurt Lee – Kurt is based in our Bournemouth office and was admitted as a solicitor on 01/03/2010.  Kurt also is a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) (a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and is a Chartered Tax Adviser.

Solicitor fee earners

In addition to our 3 partners we have 2 solicitors in our Private Client Team dealing with UK estate administration:

Karmen Ko – is based in our London office and was admitted as a solicitor on 15/02/2012

Harriet Mitchell – is based in our Bournemouth office and was admitted as a solicitor on 16/09/13.  Harriet is also a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) (a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners).

Non Solicitor fee earners:

Melanie Wilkins – is based in our Bournemouth office and is a Chartered Legal Executive – CILEx Probate Practitioner.  Melanie is also a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) (a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners)

Richard Light – is a Director within Lester Aldridge based in our Bournemouth office and is a Chartered Tax Adviser with over 20 years experience.

Mark Chant – is a Trust & Tax Advisor based in our Bournemouth office and is qualified as  a Tax Technician (ATT).  Mark is also an Affiliate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and has over 20 years experience.

Mark Barnaby – is a Trust & tax Advisor based in our Bournemouth office and is a qualified Tax Technician (ATT).  Mark is also an Affiliate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners with over 20 years experience.

Victoria Chant – is a Trust  Administration Manager based in our Bournemouth office and is an Associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners with nearly 20 years experience.

Description and cost of likely disbursements

Throughout the administration of an estate, a number of expenses are likely to be incurred including:-

Description of expense When likely to be payable Cost
S27 notices During the course of administration Approximately £150
Swear fees When swearing the Oath £7 per executor (x1 Will).  Additional exhibits £2 each
Probate court fees When applying for the grant of representation (Probate or Letters of Administration) £155 plus £0.50 for each office copy (these fees are due to increase in 2019)

We will do our best to arrange for these expenses to be met from the assets of the estate but, where this is not possible (for example where no funds are available before a grant of representation is obtained), we may have to ask either you or a residuary beneficiary to put us in funds.  Funding inheritance tax can be a particular problem in some estates, and we shall discuss this with you if this is relevant.

VAT is payable in addition to our charges and certain expenses.

Key Stages – Estate Administration

The administration of an estate typically falls into 3 stages:

  1. Information gathering / pre Grant of Representation

Estate Administration tends to be “front loaded” and depending on the level of support you require, and whether LA members are named as executors, can include the following:

  • registration of the death;
  • securing any property and arranging insurance;
  • liaising with family members/beneficiaries in connection with urgent matters;
  • overseeing the organisation of the funeral;
  • ascertaining full details of:
    • the assets and liabilities of the estate;
    • jointly owned properties;
    • relevant lifetime gifts; and
    • interests in any trust.
  1. Applying for the Grant of Representation (Probate or Letters of Administration)

Preparing the IHT Account and appropriate oath to lead to the Grant of Representation.

  1. Dealing with post Grant of Representation matters
  • Dealing with any inheritance tax payable and consideration where appropriate of the possibilities of a deed of variation to change the distribution of the estate or to save tax (please note, additional fees will apply for this service and we will notify you before undertaking this work);
  • Dealing with any legacies;
  • Considering income and capital gains tax positions before and after death;
  • Collecting in the assets of the estate, discharging the liabilities and transferring the net estate, with accounts and tax certificates.

Timescale – Estate Administration

It always difficult to predict how long it will take to complete the administration of an estate.

Our usual experience is that even the simplest estates will usually take three months.  Where the estate is liable to inheritance tax the administration commonly takes between six and twelve months.

If there are difficulties, for example, assets which cannot be realised quickly, or where the valuation is uncertain and figures have to be agreed with HMRC, the administration can take longer than twelve months.

While we endeavour to progress the administration of the estate as quickly as we can, we are dependent on responses from HMRC, from those valuing assets, and from those providing us with information which we need to ask for.

Services not included – Estate Administration

Our Estate Administration fees do not include fees for dealing with any land or buildings, whether by sale or transfer.  (On request our property team will send a separate estimate of our fees for this work.)

Meet our probate specialists

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