Probate and wills
– managing the affairs of a person who has died
When a person passes away, all that they owned and possessed is referred to as their estate. The estate is normally passed on to surviving relatives and friends, usually by instruction in accordance with their will. If the person has died without having left a will, the matters of the estate will be managed and shared out according to (legal) “the rules of intestacy”.
Probate is the legal process that is applied when someone applies for the right to manage the affairs of a person who has died. The cost of probate is usually split between the fixed costs (the application fee payable to the Court), and the variable costs (those of the solicitor) you use.
However, it must be noted that only legally married or those in legal civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit from the estate at the time of death under the rules of intestacy. Divorcees and this in ended civil partnerships cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy.
We can help you with any associated service, whether it’s making a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney or the administering of estates and the gifting of property.
If you are the executor of a will or you are the closest blood-relative of someone who may have died, we full appreciate this may be a very challenging time. We can provide the legal and professional help you need to deal with their estate.
Also, for situations where family members may not be in the position to manage their own financial affairs and property, we will help you protect their assets.
Please do get in touch if you want further details of the rules surrounding inherency and the rules of intestacy and for further information relating to surviving children, grandchildren or great grandchildren of the person who has died.
The Law Society has set an initial fee of 0.75% of the value of the property, together with 1.5% of the value of other assets, and other charges on top of that adding a further up-to 2.5%.
However, at RHF we think it is much more fair and equitable to determine the fees according to the complexity of the estate requirements rather than the size and value of the estate.
Do bear in mind that some probate matters can be more complex, and these unexpected complications can increase the cost of the probate charges. An aggressive and argumentative probate case can increase the costs, for example, as a result of having to undertake conciliatory discussions. Also, any debts that the deceased many have had before their death (such as an overdraft, unpaid water bill) will have to be paid out from the estate.
It can sometime be very difficult to know instantly what may be required and precisely how much advice and help is needed, so we may ask you to complete a questionnaire before we start any work so that we can not only give you a more accurate idea of what the process will cost you, but we in turn can get to know in more detail about your matter.
RHF’s maximum hourly rate is set at £350 + VAT. However, our probate practitioners’ hourly charging rates vary between £200 + VAT and £300 + VAT depending on their individual level of experience and that which is required.
The following disbursements (statutory, fixed third-party charges outside those of the practitioners) will also need to be added, and these typically include, but may not be limited to:
Probate Court fee, currently £155
Office copy of the Grand £.050 per copy
Trustee Act Notices in the London and any local Gazette (if required) – these range between £200 and £400 + VAT
ID verification charge £15
Bank Transfer Fee for sending monies £20.00 + VAT
A simple probate service with a straightforward tax return, no property sale, one or two bank accounts and only one or two beneficiaries would typically cost between £1,000 + VAT and £1,500 + VAT.
For a more complex (yet uncontentious) probate involving, for example, an inheritance tax return, multiple current, savings, shares and pension accounts and the sale of property would typically cost between £2,000 + VAT and £4,000 + VAT