When dealing with a loved one’s estate during a stressful time, attempting probate on your own can be risky. Isabelle Gulliver, a Paralegal in WSP Solicitors’ Private Client Department specializing...
What does our service include?
When a loved one dies leaving a Will, the responsibility for the administration of their Estate rests with the Executor named in the Will.
The Executor must identify and collect in the deceased person’s assets, pay any liabilities and distribute the deceased’s estate in accordance with the Will. The Executor may need to apply for a Grant of Probate, which is a legal document which confirms that the Executor has the authority to deal with the deceased’s assets (for examples, their house or bank accounts).
We can assist an Executor, who can provide us with the information we need, to apply for a Grant of Probate. This is our Grant of Probate only Service. We also offer a Full Estate Administration Service, where we undertake all of the Administration of the deceased’s estate.
Obtaining only a Grant of Probate
Sometimes an Executor is prepared to undertake a significant amount of estate administration work himself, including:
- obtaining valuations of the deceased person’s assets
- collecting in those assets and finally
- distributing the assets (or their cash equivalent) to the beneficiaries named in the Will
In these circumstances, we are sometimes asked by the Executors to prepare the legal and tax documentation required to obtain a Grant of Probate, based upon information they supply. We will only undertake a Grant of Probate only service if the deceased’s estate is not taxable.
In the Grant Only service we will:
- prepare the Probate Application Form and Inheritance Tax documentation
- lodge the application for a Grant of Probate at the Probate Registry
What are the risks of the Grant Only Service?
Whilst this can be a cost effective option, executors should be warned of the greater risk this carries to them since they are personally liable and accountable to both HM Revenue and Customs and the beneficiaries. Our full Administration of Estate service will provide full indemnity for any loss from errors, therefore limiting the personal liability.
Can we undertake additional work for you?
Yes, we can. We are frequently approached by Executors who wish us to deal with the remainder of an estate administration after a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) has been obtained. This if often because the estate administration can be complex and time-consuming, particularly if an Executor has a full-time job.
This is why we recommend that we meet with you to discuss your options. We can then advise you on how to move forward, in a way that best suits you, and provide an estimate of costs.
Who will act on your behalf?
Your matter will be undertaken by a member of our Wills, Trusts and Probate team. You can view the team’s profile pages by visiting our Meet the Team page. Whilst we welcome a request for a specific member of the Wills, Trusts and Probate team to act on your behalf, please note this may not always be possible, for example we may have another team member who has skills more suited to your matter.
How will your matter be supervised?
How long will it take to obtain the Grant of Probate?
It will typically take us 2 to 3 weeks, from when we receive documentation from the Executor, to prepare the Inheritance Tax documentation and Probate Application Form (to be signed by the Executor). Once the application has been made to the Probate Registry (usually using the Probate Registry’s online portal), a Grant of Probate should be received within 8 weeks (although the Probate Registry is currently experiencing difficulties in processing Grants of Probate following the introduction of a new computer system and has a significant backlog of applications).
How much will we charge?
We will charge £1500.00 plus VAT for the work we complete.
Releasing a Will
We offer a fixed fee appointment lasting approximately one hour to release a will to the executors of an estate (following the death of the Testator/Testatrix) to discuss the Will/intestacy, duties of the executors and estate administration. The charge for this is set at £250 plus VAT and disbursements including costs associated to the Equifax search of £10 plus VAT.
Should the appointment lead to further instructions being provided, such as the cost of obtaining a Grant of Probate or full estate administration, then the initial charge would be incorporated into the overall charges for this work. (Eg. If the executors proceed to instruct us to obtain Grant of Probate with information they have provided we would still only charge £1,500 plus VAT and disbursements and not £1,750 plus VAT and disbursements).
Are there any additional fees?
In addition to our charges above, clients may also be required to pay additional fees for the following services:
ID Search using Thirdfort (where required), Our total fee inc. VAT: £24 Total ex. VAT: £20
ID Administration (Equifax), Our total fee inc. VAT: £12 Total ex. VAT: £10
Will you have to pay third party costs?
In the majority of Administration of Estate matters we expect to pay the below third party expenses on your behalf. It is important you note we do not make any money from these payments and this is not an exhaustive list.
Additional costs from third parties
You will also be required to pay fees for the following:
Probate Registry fees £155 (plus £1.50 for each sealed copy obtained at the same time as the Grant of Probate) VAT free
What happens if your matter becomes abortive?
If you decide to cancel your instructions to us, we will charge an abortive fee. This fee will be based on the amount of work we have undertaken (expressed in the time recorded on your file) and charged at our Private Client team member’s hourly rate.
We will also charge you any payments to third parties we have incurred on your behalf.
I have nothing but praise for all of the people I have dealt with over the years. Nothing has been too much trouble and I would have no hesitation in recommending them.P. Browne
A very thorough and professional company. Always found staff to be very approachable, helpful and very clear in their explanations of all options available to me. Would strongly recommend WSP.D. Maton
WSP is the one-stop superstore for all your legal requirements. It is staffed with friendly, professional and expert people who are a pleasure to deal with. As a long term user of the company I always recommend WSP to all of my friends based on my own happy experience.D. Wilkins