Wills Trusts & Probate
We Have A Dedicated Team Of Experienced Lawyers
Whether you are planning for your own future or wish to help and support a family member, our experienced team will provide a personal and professional service that is tailored to you.
Our team are happy to meet with clients in the office, online, at the client’s home or in residential care, hospital or hospice settings.
We specialise in the following fields:
Powers of Attorney
By creating a Lasting Power of Attorney you can choose someone you trust to help you manage your affairs and let them make decisions for you if you subsequently become unable to make such decisions for yourself.
You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs and/or Health & Welfare. Before Lasting Powers of Attorney can be used they must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. We can assist you with preparing and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney.
If someone has made an Enduring Power of Attorney (before October 2007) and they are now losing or have lost mental capacity, we can help you with the formalities of registering the Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Court of Protection
If someone has lost mental capacity without having previously made an Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney it will be too late for them to do so.
It will be possible for someone, usually a family member or friend, to make an application to the Court of Protection to be formally appointed as a ‘Deputy’. A Deputy can manage the financial affairs of the person who has lost capacity.
Alternatively, if a co-owner of a property has lost capacity, it may be necessary for a separate application to be made to the Court of Protection before the property can be sold.
We can help you with applications to the Court and also help the appointed Deputy with their ongoing role.
Creating a Will allows you to choose who will be responsible for dealing with your affairs after you have died and who will receive your assets. It can allow you to leave your assets in the most tax efficient way possible or let you set up trusts.
A Will can also allow you to appoint someone to take over the care of your children if they are under 18 at the date of your death.
If you do not have a Will then the intestacy rules will set out who deals with your affairs and who inherits your assets.
We can advise on all of the options available to you and make sure that you have a Will that suits your individual circumstances.
We recommend that you review your Will every 3-5 years to ensure that your Will reflects any changes in your personal circumstances and any changes in the law.
Registering your Will with Certainty – The National Will Register
Have you registered your Will? We can register your Will for you with Certainty the National Will Register and if you write your Will with us we will do this for free.
Why should I register my Will?
In a recent survey in the UK, two thirds of children would not know where to locate their parents’ Wills. The passage of time, house moves, and new relationships are all contributing factors to this statistic. If your Will is deemed lost or indeed never written your loved ones and benefactors are exposed to potential financial loss and obviously additional stress.
We hold your Will safely at Mortimers’ offices, but we record its location with The National Will Register so that executors or beneficiaries can always locate it when the time comes.
It is possible to set up a trust whilst you are alive or include a trust in your Will. A trust in your Will only comes into effect when once you have died.
When creating a trust you need to choose ‘Trustees’ who will then manage the assets put into trust on behalf of the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the trust.
Trusts can be used to protect vulnerable beneficiaries (such as children or people with disabilities), preserve wealth for future generations or mitigate potential tax liabilities.
We can assist you with creating trusts, provide advice on existing trusts and help with ongoing trust administration.
When a family member or friend passes away you may find yourself responsible for winding up their affairs. Probate is the term used for the legal process in dealing with the estate of someone who has died.
If there is a Will then the executors named in the Will are responsible for administering the estate. If there is no Will, the rules of intestacy state who will be responsible for dealing with the estate.
The person responsible for administering the estate may need to apply for a grant from the probate registry, collect and realise the assets, discharge any liabilities (unpaid bills, taxes and funeral expenses) and ensure that the balance of the estate is shared out between the beneficiaries correctly.
The person or people administering the estate are personally responsible for the estate and can be sued by beneficiaries or creditors if the estate hasn’t been dealt with correctly.
Our team’s extensive expertise allows them to deal with the most complex of estates and legal issues. We aim to help you to understand and address all of the various issues that can potentially arise during administration.
We offer professional but sensitive guidance; we will save you as much time, money and heartache as we can and endeavour to settle the estate fairly and efficiently.
Our Probate Fees
It can be difficult to provide an accurate estimate for probate work as no two estates are the same. The costs vary depending on the complexity of an estate, whether or not Inheritance Tax is payable and the way that the assets are shared out in a Will.
Advice Only Service
If you would simply like some advice in relation to administering an estate but would prefer to actually administer the estate yourself then we offer a fixed fee appointment of a maximum of one hour for the cost of £120 including VAT.
If you decide that you would like further advice from us after this meeting, then we would be happy to assist and this would be charged for at the hourly rate applicable to the member of our team who is responsible for the work. These hourly rates are detailed below.
Grant Only Service
If you want to deal with administering the estate yourself but want us to help you with the process of obtaining the Grant from the Probate Registry then we can assist you on a fixed fee basis of £750 plus VAT and expenses.
This service is available where there is no Inheritance Tax payable and a full Inheritance Tax return is not required.
The following expenses will be payable in addition to our fees:
Probate Registry Fee £273.00
Copies of Grant £1.50 per copy
We will not be responsible for advising you on what steps you will need to take to conclude the administration of the estate if you are using this Grant only service.
We can advise and assist you with all aspects of estate administration and deal with as much or as little of this as you wish on your behalf and this would be charged for at the hourly rate applicable to the member of our team who is responsible for the work. These hourly rates are detailed below.
Estate administration involves:
- Registering the death
- Organising the funeral
- Rehoming pets
- Reviewing the Will if there is one
- Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Organising payment of the funeral from the deceased’s funds
- Ascertaining full details of the assets and liabilities of the estate
- Preparing the relevant Inheritance Tax return and claiming all appropriate allowances, exemptions and reliefs
- Applying for the Grant from the Probate Registry
- Dealing with any queries HMRC may have following submission of the Inheritance Tax return
- Considering any claims made against the estate
- Establishing who is entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules if there is no Will
- Collecting in the estate assets and settling any bills and other liabilities
- Dealing with any Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax liabilities that arise during the estate administration
- Preparing accounts that detail all of the estate assets as at the date of death, any income received after death, any expenses or debts that have been settled after death and the subsequent distribution to the beneficiaries
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
- Setting up any ongoing trusts created by the Will and registering these with the Trust Registration Service
During our initial meeting we would ask you for information so that we can provide our best estimate of the costs for our services in assisting you with the administration of the estate.
If an estate is small with few assets and few beneficiaries then our fees would be lower than for an estate with many assets and multiple beneficiaries. To try to put this into context we anticipate that our fees would be as follows:
Very Simple Estates
If there are only one or two bank or building society accounts and little no debt with only one or two beneficiaries then the cost of the work is likely to be between £1,020 - £3,060 plus VAT.
More Complicated Estates
If there are more than one or two bank or building society accounts, other investments and or shares, property, little to some debt, Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax to pay, Inheritance Tax allowances to claim and more than one beneficiary then the cost of the work is likely to be between £3,315 - £9,180 plus VAT.
If there are multiple bank or building society accounts, other investments and or shares, property, little to a lot of debt, Inheritance Tax, Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax to pay, unusual gifts or multiple beneficiaries then the cost of the work is likely to be between £9,435 - £21,000 plus VAT.
How long will this take?
On average, very simple estates are usually administered within 6-12 months of death. Some may be administered more quickly and others can take much longer, depending on the circumstances. In more complicated and complex estates this time frame may be extended to 2 to 3 years after the date of death.
Potential Additional Costs and Delays
There may be additional costs and resultant delays in certain circumstances. Situations where additional costs and delays are likely to arise include (but is not limited to):
- The validity of the Will is challenged
- A claim is made against the estate including an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 claim
- Ownership of estate assets are disputed or unclear
- A dispute arises between executors or beneficiaries
- Charities are named as residuary beneficiaries
- There are foreign assets
- Inheritance Tax is payable and there are not enough liquid funds in the estate to pay it
- HMRC refer estate valuations to the District Valuer
- There are issues with a property that may delay its sale (such as its condition, mortgageability or problems with the legal title)
- A Deed of Variation or a Deed of Appointment are required
- The Will or intestacy rules create an ongoing trust which needs to be set up and may need to be registered with the Trust Registration Service
Sale of Land and Property
Any estimate we give would not include our fees for the sale of land or property owned by the deceased as this would be dealt with by our conveyancing department; they would be able to give you their own estimate for this work.
There are other expenses that you may have to pay for as part of the administration process and these are listed below together with an estimate of their cost
Probate Registry Fee £273.00
Copies of Grant £1.50 per copy
Certainty Will Search Fees £45.60 - £238.80
Land Registry Office Copies £3.00 per document
Bankruptcy Search Fees £2.00 per person
Bankruptcy Search Fees for Varies depending on Country but prices usually
Non-UK residents start at £82.80 per person
S27 Trustee Act notices Varies depending on the publication but usually £107 to £205
Land Registry fees on change £20.00 - £125.00 of ownership (registered land)
Land Registry fees on change £40.00 - £910.00 of ownership (unregistered land)
Land Charge Searches £2.00 per name searched
Assets & Liabilities Search £30.00 – 222.00
Our Hourly Rates
Our hourly rates may change from time to time and if this happens you would be notified of such changes and the impact this may have on our charges. At present our hourly rates are as follows:
Hannah Banks and Leane Spencer - £255.00 plus VAT per hour
Zoe Smith - £225.00 plus VAT per hour