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We are receiving several calls from clients asking how they can make or update their Wills during the Coronavirus lock down. Rest assured we will manage the whole process over the telephone or via video call with you. When it comes to witnessing the Will, there a couple of options available. Find out more about how to do this here.
Find out more about writing a Will below, and download our FREE Will Writing guide.
The death of a loved one – whether a family member or friend – can be a traumatic time. People react in different ways. Some will wish to take some time to grieve; others prefer to do something practical straightaway. However, there are some things that need to be done soon after death. These include registering the death and arranging the funeral. Once those matters have been dealt with the administration of the loved one’s estate can begin but there is generally no need to rush into this if you prefer not to.
Gregg Latchams may store the Will of your loved one. If so, we will need to see the death certificate before we can release the Will to the executor(s). If an executor wishes to call in to collect the Will, we ask they bring some proof of identity. We will also need written confirmation from the other executors that they agree to the first executor collecting the Will. If there is no Will, we can explain what you need to do next.
At such a difficult and traumatic time, we hope it is reassuring to know that we at Gregg Latchams are on hand to help. A specialist solicitor can help you with parts or all of the estate administration process, depending on how much help you would like. Some people find they can manage some of the work involved but ask us to help with the technical parts such as completing tax forms and obtaining the Grant of Probate.
Administering an estate often involves a considerable amount of work which may appear disproportionate to the value of the estate. Unless the estate in the sole name of the deceased person is small (less than £5,000) and does not include freehold or leasehold property or a share in such property, it is likely that a Grant of Probate will be required.
If a Grant of Probate is required, the administration is likely to involve:
If the estate is taxable then Inheritance Tax will have to be paid before the Grant of Probate can be issued. The Grant of Probate once obtained is the Personal Representative’s authority to deal with the estate and allows them among other things to instruct us to close the deceased’s bank accounts, close or transfer investments and sell any property. Once this has been done, an income tax return may be required for the administration period and draft estate accounts will be prepared for approval by the Personal Representatives. Once the accounts are approved, the estate can be distributed in accordance with the terms of the Will or the Intestacy Rules if there is no valid Will.
As the Personal Representatives are personally liable for the deceased person’s debts (limited to the value of the estate), it may be necessary to give notices requiring creditors to submit claims within a set time limit before the estate is distributed. This is particularly relevant if the Personal Representatives are not the beneficiaries.
Various other types of claim may be brought by individuals in respect of Wills or estates particularly if they feel they should have benefited. If such claims are made against the Personal Representatives, they must be made within 6 months of the Grant of Probate being issued. Claims can be made later against the beneficiaries of the estate. Therefore, if you think there is any likelihood that a claim may be made against the estate, please let us know as soon as possible.
Our experience and expertise means we can give a good estimate of not only how long it may take to deal with the administration of an estate, but also the cost involved in doing so.
Initial Advice Meeting – In this first meeting we will explain how the process works, the steps that need to be taken and the ways in which we can help, depending on your individual needs. We will explain the likely costs and what we will need to take the administration forward. All of this information will be provided in a follow up report which will set out our advice. The cost for this is £450 +VAT.
Pay As You Go Assistance – If after the initial meeting you would like us to undertake any additional work on an adhoc basis, this will be charged on an hourly basis at £275 +VAT per hour.
Detailed Support – This includes the Initial Advice Meeting and subsequent drafting of the appropriate inheritance tax return and preparation of the papers leading to the Grant of Probate.
In either case, these standard fees assume all matters are straightforward.
Full administration on your behalf – This involves dealing with all day to day matters as well as all technical aspects of the administration process. We charge on a time spent basis for all work done on the file, so it is difficult to give an exact estimate. As a guide, our costs often work out as 2-3% of the gross value of the estate subject to a minimum charge of £3,250 +VAT. This includes the cost of the Initial Advice Meeting.
In the course of the administration, there are standard expenses which need to be paid in addition to our costs estimates above. These include the Probate Registry fees of £155 plus £0.50 per copy of the Grant of Probate required.
Our team of specialist solicitors and legal advisors have many years’ experience in dealing with estate administration. We offer a friendly and reassurance approach alongside expert technical knowledge. Clients benefit from the wide range of experience our team provide, in particular high value and complex estates involving business interests, property portfolios and international assets. We can also offer detailed knowledge in relation to national heritage assets, substantial lifetime gifting and claims for agricultural and business property relief.