Probate and Estate Administration

penman sedgwick solicitors watford tulips

Coping with the death of a loved one is a stressful and difficult time.

Dealing with the added responsibility of the legal and financial aspects of winding up the estate can be a daunting and worrying task. It often comes as a surprise to those appointed in this role as to how much work is involved, especially if the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax.

Contacting family members whom you have little or nothing to do with can also be distressing.

Penman Sedgwick’s Private Client team can assist in these responsibilities as much or as little as is required, from simply obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf, to dealing with the whole of the administration.

Just because you have been appointed as an Executor or Administrator (those who have a legal right to deal with the administration of an estate) does not mean that you have to do all of the work yourself.

It is quite normal to ask a solicitor for help in this process.

Our probate service - carried out by a qualified solicitor
Our service typically includes all of the following and will be carried out by a qualified solicitor:

  • Writing to all of the companies where the deceased held assets to ascertain values for Probate, for example banks, building societies, pension and insurance companies as well as share registrars
  • Writing to the utility companies and any other organisation to either cancel services or find out if there is an outstanding liability
  • Redirecting mail, clearing the deceased’s property and placing it on the market for sale. Dealing with any other large assets such as cars and boats and sending other items for special valuation including antiques and jewellery
  • Preparing any outstanding tax returns or liaising with the deceased’s accountant for this purpose
  • Preparing an Inheritance Tax account (if appropriate) and raising funds to pay the outstanding amount
  • Preparing the Probate papers and obtaining the Grant of Probate
  • Collecting the assets or transferring them as instructed. Paying any outstanding liabilities
  • Distributing the estate including any specific legacies.
How we can help you

Being a specialist team, we are fully up to date with the latest requirements and procedures. We can also advise you on ways to save existing and future Inheritance Tax on the monies you have inherited.
We have links with an independent financial adviser should you require advice on the future investment of your inheritance.

It is best to contact us before you commit yourself to any course of action. Don’t pay any monies out of your own pocket until you have spoken to us.

We can fully assess the situation and let you know where to begin in each individual case.

Key Services
  • Advice on what to do after a death
  • Obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
  • Complete estate administration
  • Deeds of Variation
  • Advising on the tax implications of a death and arising during the estate
  • Disputes regarding a Will or an estate

Applying for the grant

Our Grant-only service
Our Grant-only service will be carried out by a qualified solicitor and will include the following:

  • An initial interview to confirm the information required from you
  • Drafting the appropriate Inland Revenue Account and Probate/Letters Of Administration Application Form and forwarding copies to you for approval
  • Obtaining funds from you to cover the Inheritance Tax payable on application (if applicable)
  • Paying the Inheritance Tax payable on application and obtaining the appropriate receipt
  • Applying to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Representation
  • Supplying you with an agreed number of sealed copies of the Grant
The Process
We anticipate this will take between 10 and 20 hours work at £273 per hour. Total hourly costs estimated at £2,730-£5,460 (+VAT). In addition a percentage of the value of the estate will be added. This will be 1% of the gross value of the estate excluding the deceased’s residence to which a reduced percentage of 0.5% will apply, so if the property is valued at £300,000 and other assets are valued at £50,000 the percentage element would be £1,500 for the property and £500 for the other assets. This is to reflect the reduced hourly rate that we apply in all probate matters.

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 at the higher end. This quote is based on a gross estate value of £350,000. We will handle the full process for you.

Requirements for a quote
  • There is a valid will

  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 2 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are up to four beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
  • There are no claims made against the estate
  • We are not appointed as Executors
Disbursements included in this fee
  • Probate application fee of £273
  • Office Copies of the Grant £1.50 each
  • £7 Swearing of the oath (per executor) (unless there are Codicils where the fee will be an additional £2 per Codicil)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
  • £200 Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. (The cost varies depending on the length of the advert)
  • £200 Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims. (“The cost varies between newspapers and the length of the advert)

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.

Potential additional costs

If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with.

We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information. There will also be additional costs if inheritance tax is payable or the long form is required.

  • If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £0.50 (1 per asset usually).

  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
Fixed Fee Probate
We also offer a fixed fee probate service for just obtaining the grant of probate. We will not obtain valuations of the estate or administer or distribute the assets, but we will fill out the Inland Revenue Inheritance Tax account for you and prepare the legal oath.

Fixed costs of this service
  • Inland Revenue Account IHT205 – £975 plus VAT

  • Inland Revenue Account IHT400 (this includes paying the initial inheritance tax on your behalf) – £1,850 plus VAT

In addition the disbursements will be:

  • Probate Court fee – £273
  • Office copies of the Grant – £1.50 each
  • Oath Fee per Executor – £7 (unless there are additional Codicils where the charges will be an additional £2 per Codicil)
  • On average fixed fee grant only probates take 4-6 months from receiving the documentation if short form is required and 8-10 months if long form is required.

How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 4-6 months depending on the sale of any property proceeding to completion. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 8-10 weeks.

Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 6-8 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2-4 weeks.

If you need any advice on Probate and Estate Administration then please contact us, and we will respond as soon as possible, or call us on 01923 225212.

Penman Sedgwick's opening hours:

Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.30pm