Probate


At Lever & Co we pride ourselves on the quality of our probate and estate administration work. When a loved one has just died, dealing with the legal issues is often too much to bear. We can support and guide you when it is most needed. Our services are geared to your individual needs and a meeting can be arranged at short notice.

We have over 35 years of expertise in administering estates where the person has left a valid Will and also where they have died without leaving a Will. We are experienced in helping families and executors in dealing with the full range of matters relating to the administration of an estate at what can be, for many, a difficult time. We help clients to consider ways of organising an estate to provide for beneficiaries in the most tax efficient way.

There are many and varied issues to be considered when administering an estate and below are just a few examples:

  • Clearance and sale of property
  • Arranging valuations
  • Tracing beneficiaries

Why do I need a solicitor to help with Probate?

Below is a list of some of the problems that can arise whether there is a valid Will or not:

  • The value of the estate is over the inheritance tax threshold.
  • The deceased died without a will, and it’s a complicated estate to administer.
  • There are doubts about the validity of the will.
  • The deceased had dependents who were deliberately left out of the will, but who might want to make a claim on the estate.
  • The estate has complex arrangements, such as assets held in a trust.
  • Where there is uncertainty as to whether the estate is insolvent.
  • The estate includes foreign property or foreign assets.
  • The deceased resided outside the UK for tax purposes.

Our fees for dealing with the administration of an estate are based on our hourly rates Please click here for a note of our hourly rates. For each estate, there are essentially three stages that must be dealt with:-

1. Locate the Will and assess he value of the estate by collecting information with regard to the assets and liabilities of the estate.

2. Prepare Inheritance Tax Return to apply for the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration where there is not a valid Will), including the submission of the appropriate Inheritance Tax forms and payment of the Inheritance Tax.

3. Paying the liabilities of the estate, producing accounts and making distributions to the beneficiaries.

At the outset of your matter, you will be provided with an indication of the fees that will be incurred for each stage as this will differ from estate to estate depending on various factors such as the size of the estate, whether the deceased left a valid Will or not, the type of assets within the estate etc. The estimate will be based on the number of hours we expect to spend on each stage of the administration.

There will also be additional third party expenses incurred during the administration (‘disbursements’) which may include the following:-

  • Probate application fee: currently £155 plus VAT. Additional copies of the Grant cost £1.50p each. As a general rule, one copy per asset will be required.
  • Land Registry fees: £3 per copy document; £20 for the entry of a restriction against a property’s title.
  • Unclaimed Assets register search (if required): £25.
  • Bankruptcy search: £2 per name for each beneficiary.
  • Statutory Advertisement in The London Gazette (to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors): £70 plus VAT.

How long will it take?

Matters within our control

The average period to administer estate where there is no liability to Inheritance Tax is between 3 to 6 months. However, as mentioned above, there are various factors that affect the amount of work required for each estate and these can also affect the amount of time to bring matters to a conclusion.

Matters outside of our control

There will be other bodies, such as HM Revenue and Customs and the Probate Registry, that will also be involved in the process and will have their own timescales for dealing with matters. We usually allow for 10 working days to receive a reply from HMRC and 2-3 weeks to receive a Grant of Probate from the Probate Registry once the application has been submitted. However, timescales can change from time to time depending on their workload.

Completing the administration of an estate can also involve the sale of assets (e.g. a property) in order to satisfy obligations to pay debts of an estate or to pay beneficiaries their inheritance. As such, timing can also depend on the property market and the time it takes to complete the conveyancing procedure.

We will, as a matter of course, keep you updated throughout the administration and let you know of any delays that we might foresee, or any that arise along the way.

If you wish to know more or discuss your particular circumstances please contact us on 01279 758760 or by email .

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