Wills & Probate
Wills & Probate
Making a will allows you to provide for your loved ones after you have gone. It is the only way to make sure that your wishes are carried out. It eases the burden on those left behind who must handle your affairs when you are gone. If you die without making a Will, the law takes over and says how your assets will be divided. Without a will, your personal wishes may not even be considered. For example who will look after your children if they are under 18 or what will happen to your partner that you live with but whom you are not married to? A Will allows you to have peace of mind.
There are also tax issues to be considered. Making a will could reduce the amount of tax to be paid by your estate.
There is no requirement to use a solicitor when making a will. However, disputes that arise over unclear or poorly drafted wills are complicated and costly. Using a solicitor will provide peace of mind. Using a solicitor will protect against any pressure from family members and will ensure that your wishes are made clear. This should reduce the risk of disputes arising between family members later on.
Making a will does not need to cost a lot of money. For example a standard single will could cost as little as £150 plus VAT. We are also happy to offer a reduced rate for couples who wish to have wills that mirror one another. Our standard costs for two ‘mirror wills’ would be £250 plus VAT. We offer home visits to clients living in the County Durham area and these visits are included in our fixed fee costs.
Our fees may be greater for high value estates, or complicated provisions, but we will always provide you with clear information about our fees up front so there are no nasty surprises.
It is important to realise that your circumstances change and so does the law, so always keep your Will reviewed. We would be happy to take a look at your current Will and make sure it is right for you now.
After a loved one dies, their estate will need to be administered. This means that any debts and tax due will need to be paid and the estate will need to be distributed. If there is a will, the will should state who has the legal right to administer the estate as ‘Executor’. If there is no will, the next of kin may apply for this right.
There is a lot to consider at a time when loved ones are grieving. We understand what a difficult time this is and we can navigate through probate to ease some of the stress and pressure. We offer advice to Executors and Administrators of the estate to ensure that they have fulfilled their obligations.
Legal costs incurred by personal representatives in the administration of the estate are payable by the estate. We offer deferred payment where our legal costs are deducted from the estate once the estate is in funds.
Our hourly rate is £180 per hour including vat for work completed by our Solicitors and Chartered Legal Executives. The amount of time spent on a case will be dependent on a number of factors including the complexity and value of the estate. Our average legal fees for an estate with a value up to £250,000 would be between £750 and £1200 plus vat (between 4-8 hours of work on the matter).
In some cases, we are able to offer assistance on an agreed fee basis where the cost is fixed at the outset and we are happy to discuss your case to assess whether this is a suitable option. The agreed fee will be determined upon the amount of work and time we anticipate will be needed on the matter. We will ask you for information about the estate before considering whether to offer an agreed fee.
£750 plus vat (4-6 hours)
£900 plus vat (6 -8 hours)
£1500 plus vat (10-15 hours)
There is an application fee payable to the Probate Registry for an application for probate. The fee is currently £155 (when using a solicitor). The following are additional costs that may be payable depending upon the type of estate:
- Fee to swear the Oath in front of an independent solicitor (£7-£10)
- Land Registry fees (to obtain information about property in the estate)
- Probate Registry fee for copies of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
- Gazette fee (to place a notice in the Gazette to notify potential creditors of the death)
- Conveyancing fees and Estate Agents fees if a property is to be sold
- Accountancy fees if we need to seek assistance with HMRC returns for personal tax liability of the deceased or assistance with complex Inheritance Tax matters