We offer a mix and match service in that we will do as much or as little of the work involved in winding up an estate as may be agreed at the outset with our clients.
Where the persons who are to wind up the estate are named in a Will they are called Executors: where there is no Will or the Executors are deceased or unable to proceed themselves then the Grant which is obtained is called Letters of Administration but both types of Grant can conveniently be called Grants of Representation.
Such a Grant is not required in every case following a death: if the estate if relatively small and there is no house or land to sell or transfer it may be that a Grant will not be needed. We can discuss this and advise on the way forward for £200.00 plus VAT.
If a Grant is needed then we can handle this on your behalf but the work involved will comprise the following:-
- Identifying the assets and debts and other liabilities of the estate.
- Obtaining the Grant of Representation including preparing the Inland Revenue Return and the Oath for Executors.
It is necessary to obtain details of the values as at the date of death of the deceased’s assets and liabilities as these have to be inserted in the Inland Revenue Return. If the estate is worth over the inheritance tax limit (normally £325,000.00 for a single person or £650,000.00 for a married person whose spouse has predeceased him/her) then completing the Return is a substantial task and often takes in the order of 2½ hours work (quite apart from any correspondence needed to obtain values etc., which are required for the completion of the Inland Revenue forms.
- Having obtained the Grant of Representation the Executor can then collect in the assets and pay the debts.
- The Executor should then pay out any specific legacies and following this prepare final accounts, obtain the approval of the Executors and also the residuary beneficiaries and then distribute the estate amongst the beneficiaries named in the Will or who are entitled at law.
Probate Court fees are currently £155.00 plus £1.00 for each additional copy (we normally obtain five sealed copies making a total of £160.00) but you should be aware that the Government is determined to increase probate fees dramatically from April 2019 (the precise date has not been fixed as yet) and could be as high as £6,000.00 for large estates. At the moment estates worth less than £5,000.00 pay no probate court fees: this limit is being lifted to £50,000.00 but this is not as generous as it sounds since most banks etc., will pay out sums up to £50,000.00 without a formal Grant of Probate and the only real occasion when it is needed is if the deceased was the owner of a property worth less than £50,000.00 – as you will no doubt realise this is comparatively rare.
We will discuss whether a Deed of Variation will be appropriate: these are important documents since in certain circumstances they enable the beneficiaries to re-direct how the estate should be distributed and have the very substantial benefit that if the original beneficiary should die within seven years the amount they would have inherited will not count as part of their estate as being a gift made within seven years of the date of death.
Our charges depend upon the number of items comprised in an estate and equally the number of beneficiaries. We could be talking about an estate comprising a house and one bank account with one beneficiary to anything between an estate comprising in excess of 20 different investments, a house, country cottage and a dozen different beneficiaries.
You will appreciate that the work to be done can vary tremendously and our charges have to reflect the different amount of work involved.
We can therefore only give a typical figure for an average estate where there are perhaps four or five assets to be divided between two or three beneficiaries: in such a case our charge for obtaining the Grant of Representation would be £700.00 plus VAT and the Court fee for obtaining the Grant and for providing a complete service including gathering in the assets, paying the debts and distributing the estate an addition one and a quarter per cent of the value of the estate.
Sales of houses out of an estate are not included in these figures but are charged for at our normal tariff for property sales.
We would point out that the figures quoted are slightly less than half of what a bank executor and trustee department would typically charge for handling a similar estate.