Assisting Clients When Someone Has Died
We can help you apply for a Grant of Probate, and then go on to collect and distribute the assets in accordance with a Will.
What we will do
Administering an estate can be broadly divided into three stages, as follows:
1. Work, up to the issue of the Grant of Probate/Representation
We will: –
• supply copies of the Will to interested parties (and if no Will, assess who is entitled)
• notify beneficiaries and creditors of the death
• obtain full details of assets and liabilities and any lifetime gifts
• complete and arrange for the signature of the Executors’ or Administrators Oath and HM Revenue & Customs Inheritance Tax (IHT) Account
• (where appropriate) arrange with a bank for IHT to be paid
• lodge the HM Revenue & Customs account and Oath at the Probate Registry and receive the Grant
2. Business on receipt of the Grant
We will: –
• register it with all appropriate asset holders
• realise the assets
• (where appropriate) place statutory advertisements for beneficiaries/creditors
• pay debts and legacies (as set out in the Will) and obtain receipts
• make distributions on account to those due to receive the residuary estate
Statutory advertisements – it is usual practice for personal representatives to place notices in the London Gazette and a local newspaper to advertise for creditors. The notices generally cannot be placed until receipt of the grant of probate/representation and creditors are given two months to step forward. Where professionals are acting as personal representatives no distributions will be made until expiry of this period.
Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 – certain categories of persons can claim against a deceased’s estate if they have not been provided for and they believe they should have been. Claimants have six months from the date of issue of the Grant of Representation to bring a claim, however the court may also give permission to extend it in extenuating circumstances. Under the provisions of Administration of Estates Act 1925, the executors may also defer the distribution of the estate until after twelve months from the issue of the Grant, for example to allow for all liabilities to be cleared. Therefore, final distributions might not be made until at least the expiry of six months from the date of issue of the Grant, although in some circumstances interim distributions may be considered.
3. Winding up the Estate
We will: –
• submit corrective accounts for IHT, agree the final liability and obtain a Certificate of Discharge from HM Revenue & Customs
• complete Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax Returns and issuing Certificates of Deduction of Tax
• prepare and circulate Accounts
• make final distributions and obtain receipts
How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6-12 months. We aim to obtain the Grant of Probate within 12 – 16 weeks of being instructed. Collecting assets then follows (12-24 weeks) and once this has been done, we can distribute the assets and wind up the estate (Approx 12 weeks)
In addition, the firm is willing to offer specialist advice to beneficiaries, particularly in the context of estate planning, for which we shall be pleased to provide a separate cost estimate on request.
What will this cost?
We anticipate this will take between 15 and 25 hours work at an hourly rate currently £175 per hour. This means that our fees are estimated at £2,625.00 – £4,375.00 (+VAT).
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be higher and could exceed the timescales set out above. We will discuss this with you at our initial meeting.
Circumstances where costs may be higher than those set out above are for estates where:
• There is no valid will
• There is more than one property
• There are more than 6 bank or building society accounts
• There are disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets.
• There is inheritance tax payable and the executors need to submit a full account to HMRC
• There are claims made against the estate
• The Will appoints this firm or any of its Partners or employees as Executor in which case we will discuss our charges with you.
In certain circumstances it may be preferable for us to charge on an alternative basis. The fee is then based on us charging £750.00 plus 1% of the gross value of the assets in the estate.
Potential additional costs
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Disbursements additional to our fees:
• Probate application fee currently of £155.00
• £7.00 Swearing of the oath (per executor)
• Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2.00 per beneficiary)
• To protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. We may advise that an advert is placed in The London Gazette and a local newspaper – We will advise the cost of these adverts if appropriate.
• If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £0.50 (1 per asset usually).
• Dealing with the sale or transfer (to a beneficiary) of any property in the estate is not included. Further information relating to the costs of sale/transfer of the property can be found by clicking here.
Inheritance Tax Planning
Inheritance tax is charged at 40%. The increases in property values of recent years mean that more and more people are potentially liable for inheritance tax. We can discuss with you how your will can be made tax effective. We can advise on the steps you can take to reduce or eliminate the tax burden.
Advice can be given on tax saving by:
• lifetime gifts
• the creation of trusts
• properly prepared wills
• the use of the nil-rate band
• the use of discretionary trusts
Lewis Francis Blackburn Bray can help to protect your savings for the benefit of the next generation.