Call our Probate team on 0207 483 8644.
Diane is a very experienced solicitor who has been in private practice since being admitted in 1972. She specialises in residential conveyancing matters as well as undertaking Wills and probate work. Her conveyancing expertise covers both leasehold and freehold sales and purchases as well as matters relating to lease extensions and enfranchisement. Diane’s undoubted expertise and vast wealth of experience, allied to a friendly, personal service provide a high quality of service to all her clients.
Lydia Pratt was admitted in 1995, having completed her traineeship at Wood Nash Kimber in Gray’s Inn, following an earlier career in healthcare. Her areas of practice are Civil and Commercial Litigation, Employment, Wills and Probate. She acts on behalf of individuals, corporate and business clients seeking advice on a wide range of issues.
Lydia is a member of APIL. She studied law and modern languages at Surrey University. She is bilingual with previous experience in advising French insurance companies and individuals.
What happens to your property after you die?
If you die without making a valid Will your property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules These are called the rules of intestacy.
What is Probate?
If you die In England and Wales there is a legal process to deal with the property, money and possessions (called the assets)of the person who has died. This is called Probate. Many people want to direct what should happen to their property after they die, and they make a Will which is a legal document in which their wishes as to how their assets should be distributed after their death are expressed. They appoint a person or in some cases a solicitor to act as an Executor who will carry out the instructions contained in the Will. In simple terms the Executor will collect the assets, contact the deceased’s Bank to notify the Bank of the death , distribute the assets as the person who died wished and pay any inheritance or other taxes,
Please contact a member of the Team if you wish to discuss making a Will.
Our solicitors have many years of experience in dealing with Probate matters and offer a supportive and efficient service. They understand this is a difficult time for you and will do what they can to smooth the process.
Each client has different circumstances, and we prefer to speak to you directly to understand your requirements so that we can let you know the costs that you will incur, so please feel free to call us .
If someone dies in England or Wales having made a Will it is necessary to administer the estate and carry out the deceased’s wishes as set out in their Will and to obtain a Grant of Probate by applying to the Probate Registry
The Grant is a legal document which confirms that the Executor has the authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets (property, money and belongings). This is called ‘administering the estate’.
In simple terms to obtain a Grant of Probate it is necessary firstly to find out what property or assets the deceased owned (“the estate”) , e.g., cash in the Bank , shares, premium bonds, etc and what debts need to be cleared (e.g., rent ,service charges , mortgage payments, utility costs (e.g., gas electric water),other fees and miscellaneous items. If the deceased owned a property or properties these may have to be sold or transferred in accordance with what is said in the Will .
We charge separately for dealing with the sale of any property which forms part of the deceased’s estate.
Please see ”Our fees- Conveyancing”
A beneficiary is someone named in the Will whom the deceased has stated should receive a part or all of his/her estate (e.g., a property or a sum of cash or if the deceased set up trusts, they may benefit from the trust).
The estate has to be valued and reported to HMRC who will determine how much Inheritance Tax “IHT” (if any has to be paid). We can help in collecting the estate’s assets, for example money from the sale of the deceased person’s property.
IHT is payable within six months from the date of death. We can advise you what to do if there are insufficient funds available to pay IHT by that date. (e.g., the estate comprises shares /property but no cash in the Bank).
We can also arrange for any debts to be paid and keep a record (“estate accounts”) of how any property, money possessions will be split and pass the estate to the beneficiaries. (“distribute the assets”)
To carry out certain tasks, the executor may need a certificate from the Probate Registry confirming their authorisation, and this is called a Grant of Probate.
We also charge for disbursements (costs payable by us but charged by a third party) such as:
- Probate application fee of £155.00 for the Grant and £1.50 for each copy.
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2.00 for each name searched prior to each distribution).
- Trustee Act advertisements, in the London Gazette and a Local Newspaper – This protects against unexpected claims and unknown creditors.
- Advertisement posted in The London Gazette –£81.00 plus VAT.
- Advertisement posted in a Local Newspaper. These vary according to each newspaper, for example a recent advertisement in our local newspaper cost £120.05.
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
We do not offer fixed fees for probate work. We charge between £325-£425 per hour plus VAT per hour plus disbursements. The price range depends on various factors such as the size of the estate, the number of beneficiaries, where the estate assets are held (e.g., UK or overseas), whether there are complex trusts to consider, whether the Will is contested and whether the matter carries a higher burden of responsibility than a smaller estate).
Letters/emails sent, and telephone calls are charged at 10% per item.
Letters /emails received at 5% per page .
a) A simple estate (e.g., one beneficiary and no property) with no unforeseen problems
The cost may between £2500.00-£5000.00 plus VAT and disbursements.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.
b) A more complicated estate such as-
- There is a valid will.
- There is more than one property.
- There are more than 5 bank or building society accounts.
- There are other intangible assets.
- There are 2-4 beneficiaries.
- There are disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- There is inheritance tax payable, and the executors need to submit a full account to HMRC.
- There are claims made against the estate.
The cost may be between £7500.00-£10,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.
How long will this take?
On average, estates are dealt with within 6-12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate used to take 2 weeks but during the current Covid 19 pandemic take much longer at present. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 3-6 months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the asset, which normally takes 3 months.
We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf. We will also undertake the collecting and distributing of assets.
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter.
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries.
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require.
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application.
- Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms.
Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf.
Collect and distribute all assets in the estate.
Please telephone Diane or Lydia on 0207 483 8644 to discuss your needs with us.
We are here to help you.
We will discuss preferential rates to specific groups for example existing or returning clients.