Wills, Probate and Estates

Our Wills, Probate and Estates team offers support and advice on Wills, Estate Planning, Powers of Attorney, Deputyships and Estate Administration.

We have over fifty years collective experience of giving caring, considered advice. We understand that those coming to see us may be elderly, grieving or anxious about planning for an uncertain future and we endeavour to give clear, practical advice that is not unnecessarily complicated.

For us, it is important that we spend time getting to know our clients and their circumstances so that we can offer advice that is appropriate and tailored to each client’s individual needs. We want our clients to feel comfortable with us, to feel that they can contact us and to know that they can trust us to guide them through the complexities of putting their affairs in order.

We can offer appointments at any of our offices or at your home or residential or nursing homes throughout North Lincolnshire if preferred.

We are accredited with the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Scheme which we hope shows that we are committed to high standards of expertise and client service.

Contact the Team


From The Help Centre

For more information please visit our Help Centre.

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Useful External Websites

The Law Society – About WIQS
The Law Society – Find a Solicitor

Meet your Team

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Emma Jane JohnsEmma Jane was very accommodating in making changes to our wills on a tight time frame. Many thanks.

Emma Jane was very accommodating in making changes to our wills on a tight time frame. Many thanks.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Laura is a lovely lady, informative answering questions put forward. Many thanks

Laura is a lovely lady, informative answering questions put forward. Many thanks

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Laura KingLaura King dealt with all matters which are now concluded to my satisfaction.

Laura King dealt with all matters which are now concluded to my satisfaction.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Complete Satisfaction.

Complete Satisfaction.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Nothing was too much trouble. Katie was very helpful and with her help we got exactly what we wanted.

Nothing was too much trouble. Katie was very helpful and with her help we got exactly what we wanted.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

We experienced the usual very friendly but professional service that we have always had when dealing with Mason Baggott & Garton.

We experienced the usual very friendly but professional service that we have always had when dealing with Mason Baggott & Garton.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Seamless 1st class service thank you.

Seamless 1st class service thank you.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Mrs Plaskitt has been very helpful and professional with myself and my dad. She has explained all of the information very clearly - very much appriciated! Thank you.

Mrs Plaskitt has been very helpful and professional with myself and my dad. She has explained all of the information very clearly – very much appriciated! Thank you.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Everything explained in an easy way, warm welcome and friendly. Answered any questions that we had in a way that we could understand.

Everything explained in an easy way, warm welcome and friendly. Answered any questions that we had in a way that we could understand.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

I would recommend your service to other people I am very happy with the service I received. Laura was very helpful in assisting me with regards to my late husband and helping me to write my will.

1st August 2018

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Always had excellent service over the years thank you, keep up the good work.

Always had excellent service over the years thank you, keep up the good work.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Perfect Service, thank you all.

Perfect Service, thank you all.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Exceptional service throughout. Staff very helpful, polite, friendly and knowledgeable. 100% satisfied with the service I received. Would definitely recommend. Thank you so much.

Exceptional service throughout. Staff very helpful, polite, friendly and knowledgeable. 100% satisfied with the service I received. Would definitely recommend. Thank you so much.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

I wish to express my enormous gratitude to Mrs Glenys Plaskitt of Mason Baggott & Garton for her guidance and kindness helping me with my intricate will.

I wish to express my enormous gratitude to Mrs Glenys Plaskitt of Mason Baggott & Garton for her guidance and kindness helping me with my intricate will.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

You did everything we needed, pleasantly.

You did everything we needed, pleasantly.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Excellent professional service, thank you very much

Excellent professional service, thank you very much

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

1st class, no one could have been better. Thank you.

1st class, no one could have been better. Thank you.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Glenys PlaskittExcellent advice and service. Would definitely recommend Mason Baggott and Garton to others. We have used your services for several legal requirements.

Excellent advice and service. Would definitely recommend Mason Baggott and Garton to others. We have used your services for several legal requirements.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

I have always received excellent, professional caring service from all the staff.

I have always received excellent, professional caring service from all the staff.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Everyone from my first phone call to make an appointment were very helpful, friendly and very polite which made a very daunting task for me very easy. Many thanks

Everyone from my first phone call to make an appointment were very helpful, friendly and very polite which made a very daunting task for me very easy. Many thanks

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

We had excellent service and all our requests were met in a very professional manner. Glenys Plaskitt was pleasant and very helpful, she made sure we were well informed.

 

12th August 2019

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Excellent service throughout, both in discussing and planning my will.

Excellent service throughout, both in discussing and planning my will.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

We are very comfortable with the service given.

We are very comfortable with the service given.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Everything explained perfectly putting our minds at ease.

Everything explained perfectly putting our minds at ease.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Always helpful, informative, providing a friendly and efficient service. I would defiantly use Mason Baggott and Garton again.

Always helpful, informative, providing a friendly and efficient service. I would defiantly use Mason Baggott and Garton again.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

On the two occasions we had meetings with Laura King we found her very informative and efficient in dealing with our request. Very surprised we had things sorted so quickly. Thank you.

On the two occasions we had meetings with Laura King we found her very informative and efficient in dealing with our request. Very surprised we had things sorted so quickly. Thank you.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

The service was excellent from the initial phone call to actually signing the will. Very friendly professional staff with home visit included for health reasons. Very pleased with everything and would highly recommend.

The service was excellent from the initial phone call to actually signing the will. Very friendly professional staff with home visit included for health reasons. Very pleased with everything and would highly recommend.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Glenys PlaskittMrs Plaskitt has given exceptional help and advice throughout the whole saga. I am most grateful to have received her guidance.

Mrs Plaskitt has given exceptional help and advice throughout the whole saga. I am most grateful to have received her guidance.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Thanking Mrs Emma Jane Johns for a very personal service, it is much appreciated by my husband and myself.

Thanking Mrs Emma Jane Johns for a very personal service, it is much appreciated by my husband and myself.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

As always, relevant and efficient and handled with great attention to the detail.

As always, relevant and efficient and handled with great attention to the detail.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Excellent service from the first minute to the last 10/10!!

Excellent service from the first minute to the last 10/10!!

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Mrs Glenys Plaskitt provided an excellent service. She was very attentive, excellent communication and I am very content with everything that's been done. Would recommend MBG to anyone.

Mrs Glenys Plaskitt provided an excellent service. She was very attentive, excellent communication and I am very content with everything that’s been done. Would recommend MBG to anyone.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Mrs Johns is the epitome of professionalism and courtesy and we would not (and indeed do not) hesitate to recommend her.

Mrs Johns is the epitome of professionalism and courtesy and we would not (and indeed do not) hesitate to recommend her.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Glenys PlaskittStaff very polite. Mrs Plaskitt is very good to deal with and puts you at ease. I have had the pleasure of dealing with Glenys for many years.

Staff very polite. Mrs Plaskitt is very good to deal with and puts you at ease. I have had the pleasure of dealing with Glenys for many years.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Went out of their way to help us.

Went out of their way to help us.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

We were both satisfied with every aspect of our appointment. All the way through we felt very comfortable, every point was explained to us.

We were both satisfied with every aspect of our appointment. All the way through we felt very comfortable, every point was explained to us.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

I would like to thank you Laura for explaining everything to me and you making this a painless experience. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending you to others. The service could not have been better. Thank you.

I would like to thank you Laura for explaining everything to me and you making this a painless experience. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending you to others. The service could not have been better. Thank you.

Testimonials - Wills, Probate and Estates

Glenys PlaskittMade to feel our requirements were in safe hands

Made to feel our requirements were in safe hands

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Contact the Team

From Our Help Centre

Lasting Powers of Attorney – Acting as an Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) is a legal instrument by which someone (“the Donor”) gives someone they trust (“the Attorney”) power to make decisions and carry out transactions on behalf of the Donor even if, in the future, the Donor can no longer make decisions personally. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a powerful tool, which should not be given lightly. Although the (lengthy) forms that are needed to create an LPA can be bought or downloaded from the internet, you may want to take advice before proceeding.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

This Act (which introduced LPAs) enables people to plan ahead for a time when they may lose mental capacity. It also provides a framework to empower and protect people who may not be able to make some decisions for themselves, clarifying who can make decisions and how decisions should be made.

Code of Practice

The Mental Capacity Act is supported by a Code of Practice which gives detailed guidance to people working with and/or caring for others who lack mental capacity.

Types of Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two types of LPA. Both can be made at any time but neither can be used until they have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”). A registration fee is payable. Property and Affairs LPA This type of LPA allows the Attorney to manage the Donors finances and property. It can be used (once registered with the OPG) whilst the Donor has capacity to make decisions for him/her-self but the Donor can put in a restriction for example that it can only be used at some time in the future if they lose their capacity to make decisions for themselves or become incapable of managing their own Property and Affairs. Health and Welfare LPA The Health and Welfare LPA authorises the Attorney to make decisions about the Donors personal welfare (including healthcare treatment). It can only be used when the Donor lacks capacity to make decisions. Obligations and Responsibilities The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Code of Practice provide a detailed framework; making clear who can make decisions, in what situations and how they should go about the decision making process. Together, they provide guidance for Attorneys and others who look after or care for adults who lack mental capacity. Attorneys must
  • Make decisions in the Donors best interests
  • Act in accordance with the principles of the Act
  • Have regard to the guidance set out in the Code of Practice
  • Not exceed the scope of their authority under the LPA.
  • Particular duties and obligations of an Attorney under an LPA include (but are not limited to)
    • A duty of care to the Donor when making decisions on his/her behalf
    • A duty to carry out instructions as required by the LPA
    • A duty of good faith, to act honestly and with integrity
    • A duty of confidentiality (unless the Donor has otherwise agreed)
    • A duty to keep the Donors money and property separate from their own
    • A duty to maintain and keep accurate accounts of all their dealings as Attorney
    • An obligation not to benefit themselves and not to profit from their position as Attorney
    • A requirement not to delegate responsibilities to others (unless the LPA authorises otherwise).
The duties and responsibilities of an Attorney are complex and onerous; agreeing to act as an Attorney is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you are asked to be an Attorney you may want to take advice before proceeding.
Lasting Powers of Attorney – The Donor’s Perspective
A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) is a legal instrument by which someone (“the Donor”) gives someone they trust (“the Attorney”) power to make decisions and carry out transactions on behalf of the Donor even if, in the future, the Donor can no longer make decisions personally. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a powerful tool, which should not be given lightly. Although the (lengthy) forms that are needed to create an LPA can be bought or downloaded from the internet, you may want to take advice before proceeding.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

This Act (which introduced LPAs) enables people to plan ahead for a time when they may lose mental capacity. It also provides a framework to empower and protect people who may not be able to make some decisions for themselves, clarifying who can make decisions and how decisions should be made.

Code of Practice

The Mental Capacity Act is supported by a Code of Practice which gives detailed guidance to people working with and/or caring for others who lack mental capacity.

Types of Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two types of LPA, The Property and Affairs LPA and the Health and Welfare LPA. The forms for both have to be completed carefully and in a specific order. The forms include a Certificate Providers Statement. The Certificate Provider must be satisfied that the Donor understands the power of an LPA. Only certain people can be Certificate Providers. Although both types of LPA can be made at any time, neither can be used until they have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”). A registration fee is payable. Property and Affairs LPA This type of LPA allows the Attorney to manage the Donors finances and property. It can be used (once registered with the OPG) whilst the Donor has capacity to make decisions for him/her-self but the Donor can put in a restriction for example that it can only be used at some time in the future if they lose their capacity to make decisions for themselves or become incapable of managing their own Property and Affairs. Health and Welfare LPA The Health and Welfare LPA authorises the Attorney to make decisions about the Donors personal welfare (including healthcare treatment). It can only be used when the Donor lacks capacity to make decisions.

Deputyship

If someone loses mental capacity before making an LPA but needs help to manage their affairs then it would be for a family member, friend or person in a professional capacity to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. The process of obtaining a Deputyship Order is more complex and more costly than making an LPA.
Lasting Powers of Attorney – How we can Help
A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) is a legal document by which someone (“the Donor”) gives someone they trust (“the Attorney”) power and authority to make decisions and carry out transactions on behalf of the Donor.  Without an LPA, no-one would have legal authority to manage another person’s affairs if they became incapable of managing themselves, whether through old age, illness or injury.  Making an LPA avoids the time consuming and expensive process of an application to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a powerful tool which should not be given lightly.  Although the (lengthy) forms that are needed to create an LPA can be bought or downloaded from the internet, we believe that seeking the assistance of a member of our experienced team can give peace of mind at the time of taking such an important step.

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney

When people come to see us, we take time to discuss with them their intentions, needs and personal circumstances so that we can tailor our advice and help appropriately.  A broad outline of the work we offer includes:-
  • Ascertaining the Donor’s intentions and the reasons behind them so that we can discuss the various aspects of LPA’s which might be of particular concern or assistance.
  • Explaining the various aspects of LPA’s including: what type of LPA is appropriate; who would be a suitable attorney; how many attorneys are needed; do proposed attorneys need any specific powers or restricted powers?
  • Preparing the forms for LPA and arranging the Donor’s signature to them.
  • Making arrangements for completion of the requisite Certificate(s) by an independent third party.
  • Making arrangements for completion of the forms by the Donors proposed Attorney(s)
  • Serving notice of any application to register the LPA, if applicable.
  • Submitting the application to register the LPA(s) to the Office of the Public Guardian. An LPA cannot be used by an Attorney until it has been registered.
  • Providing a copy of the registered LPA(s) certified by a Solicitor.
 

Changing a Lasting Power of Attorney

Unfortunately, sometimes things do go wrong after an Attorney has been appointed.  The Attorney may fall ill, move abroad, get into financial difficulties or not offer the help that was desired.  As long as the Donor is mentally capable, an LPA can be cancelled and we can also offer assistance on the cancellation process and making a new LPA.
Making a Will
“Making a Will won’t kill you but it will give you peace of mind.”

The Intestacy Rules

If you die without making a Will, the intestacy rules stipulate who will inherit your estate. Depending on your family circumstances, the rules dictate who is entitled to benefit and how much they might receive. You will have no control. The person or people you might want to benefit might not receive as much as you would have liked; someone you hardly know might receive more than they (or you) could have dreamt of.

Making a Will

Making a Will is not frightening and need not be difficult or complicated.  It is essential, though, if you want to ensure that your assets pass to individuals (or charities) that you choose; if you want to be assured that you have made adequate provision for those you care about. Making a Will can also be used
  • To choose the people who will carry out your wishes, your Executors and Trustees
  • To appoint guardians if you have infant children
  • To state your wishes about the disposal of your body and whether you would want it to be used for medical research or transplant purposes
  • To plan for the impact of inheritance tax or other taxes.

Review

Throughout life, circumstances change. Having made a Will, it is important to review it regularly to ensure that it still reflects your wishes. If your family, personal or financial circumstances change, then your Will might need changing too.
Managing Your Affairs
“Who will manage your affairs if you are unable to do so?” Appointing someone to run your affairs either for an anticipated event (such as if you are travelling abroad for prolonged periods or if you are likely to be hospitalised for any length of time) or in case you lose the mental capability to look after yourself can help to avoid difficulties arising.

Deputyship

If you lose your mental capacity and become unable to manage your affairs, the Court of Protection will appoint someone on your behalf. That person, your Deputy, might be a family member or friend, your solicitor or a social worker or even a court official. You will have no say in deciding who that person might be and until the court has made its appointment no-one will be able to keep your affairs in order.

General Power of Attorney

A General Power of Attorney is a legal instrument by which someone (“the Donor”) gives someone they trust (“the Attorney”) power to make decisions and carry out transactions on the Donors behalf. If the Donor loses his/her mental faculties, the General Power of Attorney cannot be used.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal instrument by which someone (“the Donor”) gives someone they trust (“the Attorney”) power to make decisions and carry out transactions on the Donors behalf, in the future, if he/she can no longer make decisions personally. A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian but, provided it has been registered, it can still be used even if the Donor loses his/her mental capacity. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney; the Property and Affairs LPA and the Health and Welfare LPA. The Property and Affairs LPA allows the Attorney to manage the Donors property and finances. The Health and Welfare LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions about the Donors personal welfare, including healthcare, if the Donor loses mental capacity and is unable to make decisions.

Appointees

In some circumstances, (for example, if you don’t own your own property or have large sums in the bank but do receive benefits) a Deputyship or Power of Attorney may not be needed. Instead, you might appoint someone you trust (“the Appointee”) to look after your benefit payments for you. This is usually arranged directly with the benefit provider (often the Department for Works and Pensions).
Probate and Estate Administration
When someone dies, their “estate” (broadly this means everything he or she owned) has to be dealt with (“administered”) – a process that is often referred to as “Probate”. In fact, a Grant of Probate is an Order of the High Court which validates a person’s Will after he or she has died and confirms the authority of those named as Executors in the Will to deal with the estate. A Grant of Letters of Administration is similar but it is issued by the Court when someone has died without a Will (“Intestate”).  The law sets out who is entitled to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration to be the Administrator and also who is entitled to benefit from the deceased’s estate where there is no Will. Probate or Letters of Administration is not always needed.  When a deceased’s only assets do not exceed more than around £15,000.00 in Bank or Building Society Accounts, Banks and Building Societies will often waive the requirement for the Grant and release money on its own form of Declaration. Care must be taken before signing any Declaration as it is treated as sworn evidence and could be used if a Probate dispute subsequently arises. There are many steps to follow when someone dies, some of which are:-
  • Register the death and arrange the funeral
  • Find out if there is a Will
  • Find out what is in the estate.  It is important to find out not just about the deceased’s assets but also about any liabilities that there may be such as Credit Cards and Loans
  • Apply for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, including submitting a Return to HM Revenue and Customs for Inheritance Tax purposes.
  • Collect in the deceased’s assets and pay any liabilities.  Care must be taken because Executors or Administrators could face personal liability if liabilities remain unpaid or they may face other complications if an estate is insolvent.
  • Prepare Estate Accounts to show what was in the estate, what has been paid out and what is left for the beneficiaries.  The beneficiaries are entitled to approve the Estate Accounts so that they can be satisfied that they have received their due entitlement, either under the deceased’s Will or according to the Intestacy Rules.
  Being an Executor or an Administrator of an estate should not be undertaken lightly.  There is a significant amount of responsibility, administrative and legal.  It is not unusual for the process to take up to a year to complete (even longer if inheritance tax has to be paid) and an Executor or an Administrator can be held personally responsible if any mistakes are made; which is why it can be helpful to appoint a Solicitor to relieve some of the burden and give peace of mind during difficult times.
Probate and Estate Administration – How much does it Cost?
Just as every individual has his or her own distinct personality and character, every individual’s estate is unique.  Whilst the nature of the work that has to be undertaken in any estate is broadly similar, the extent of that work can vary significantly from one estate to another.  The work involved to administer the estate of a widower who dies owning his house and a single bank account, with a Will leaving everything to his only two children is vastly different from the work involved to administer the estate of a single lady who dies owning her house, several bank accounts and a large share portfolio, without a Will and whose only know relative is a distant second cousin. The very diversity of estates inevitably influences the cost of administration, whether the work involved is undertaken personally or by a professional.  As we have built up years of experience dealing with different estates, we have created systems which enable us to undertake the work that is required efficiently  and cost effectively. The price information that follows is given for guidance and should not be taken as a binding quote.  When we work for clients, we always ensure that we give a personalised costs estimate at the outset, based on the actualities presented of each case.

Disbursements

“Disbursements” are payable during Probate and Estate Administration.  Disbursements are costs that are payable to third parties (whether or not we handle the process).  Disbursements are not set by us and include, N.B. Prices below are per item [table id=28 /] When we are acting on a Full Administration (see Probate and Estates Administration – How we can help), we can arrange payment of the disbursements which many people find helpful in smoothing the process.

Our Costs and Rates

We can help to relieve the burden when someone has died by dealing with the Full Administration of an estate (see Probate and Estates Administration – How we can help).  We handle the entire process and our costs are based on the number of hours work involved plus a value element charged as a percentage of the estate (not exceeding 0.5% of personal property and 1% of real estate). We charge a value element to reflect complexity and work that may be done but not charged at an hourly rate.   For example, telephone calls to request an update or attendances to verify identity are not charged at an hourly rate but are reflected in the value element.  Over the years, we have found that this is cost effective for our clients, enabling inquiries to be made without fear of “running up the bill”.  We always strive to ensure that our costs are reasonable and proportionate and the value element may be waived or reduced accordingly. The cost per hour that we charge varies according to the qualification and experience of the member of our team who deals with the case.  We endeavor to assign to any case the member of our team who we feel is appropriate in terms of their qualification and experience. Our hourly rates change periodically and are currently, [table id=29 /] Our exact costs of Full Administration will depend on the individual circumstances of each estate.  An estate which consists of a single Bank Account and Premium Bonds where there is a single, undisputed beneficiary may cost less than £1,000 plus VAT and disbursements and be fully administered within 3 – 4 months. On the other hand, an estate which consists of a house, shares and multiple Bank Accounts with several beneficiaries may cost £4,000 - £6,000 plus VAT and disbursements and the administration process could take 8 – 12 months. Where Value Added Tax (VAT), is applied it is at the prevailing rate, currently 20%. If inheritance tax has to be paid, then the costs of administration may be even more and the administration process could take even longer as HM Revenue and Customs have to give clearance which takes many months.  On average, our Full Administration costs do not exceed 2% of the value of an estate.

An Example Case

Whilst each case presents its own needs the following example is where, [table id=30 /] How much would this case cost ? We would estimate that 7 hours work would be needed and that our costs (excluding VAT and excluding disbursements) would be a maximum of £3,290, representing less than 1.5% of the value of the estate, broken down as follows, [table id=31 /] This would not include dealing with the sale or transfer of the property.

How long does a case take to complete ?

The work involved in and costs of Probate and Estate Administration are spread over many months.  On average, it can take up to 3 months to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (collating the information that is needed to make the application can take 4 – 8 weeks and obtaining the Grant from the Court takes approximately 2 weeks, or longer at busy times). When a Grant has been obtained, the time that the rest of the administration takes can be difficult to predict because so much depends on the nature and spread of assets and liabilities.   If there is a house to sell it is impossible to know how long that will take but where there is no property to sell then it may take a further 3 – 6 months to administer the estate. So, even in a straightforward estate, the process can take 6 – 9 months. Some estates are complex and can take significantly longer and be more costly to administer.  Issues that can increase the cost and lengthen the process might include, [table id=32 /] Our team has encountered many complexities over the years and hundreds of estates that we have handled.  With our many years’ experience we can assist in finding a solution to such issues.

Grant Only

For clients who wish to undertake the administration process themselves, our Grant Only service can be used (see Probate and Estate Administration – How we can help).  We offer this service in cases where there is no inheritance tax to pay and no requirement to file a full inheritance tax account with HM Revenue and Customs at a fixed fee of £650 plus VAT, plus the Oath fee, Court Application fee and fee for Court sealed copies of the Grant (see above for details of disbursements).

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax is payable when an estate exceeds a certain value or threshold (“the nil rate band”, which is £325,000 for an individual).  The tax is charged at the rate of 40% of an estate’s value above the threshold.  This is a complex area and specific advice should be sought. Calculating the value of an estate for inheritance tax purposes can involve the inclusion of lifetime gifts; there may be reliefs or exemptions to apply which reduce the tax payable; married couples or civil partners may have the benefit of a deceased’s spouses or partner’s unused nil rate band.  Any tax due has to be paid within 6 months from the end of the month of death and must be paid before a Grant can be obtained.

When do our costs have to be paid ?

Our costs are payable from the estate and, usually, we defer payment until estate money has been collected in, so there are no upfront costs to pay.
Probate and Estate Administration – How we can Help
When someone has died, we understand that those who are bereaved may feel a sense of loss, confusion and turmoil.  Dealing with the affairs of the deceased can seem overwhelming.  With our experienced team, we will do our very best to offer sensitive, practical, cost effective support and assistance in overcoming the administrative burdens which have to be faced. We are proud that we are long established.  In some cases, we have acted for generations of the same family.  In other cases, we are acting for clients for the first time and we pride ourselves on seeing them, or members of their family, return to us for ongoing legal advice. Increasingly, we are aware that many organisations seek to get involved when someone has died.  Often, those organisations are part of large institutions which operate from national centres, backed by high profile advertising campaigns.  They seek to sell a streamlined service but they may actually charge more than a local Solicitor who can offer an individual, personalised service.  Everyone is free to choose who helps them and we would like you to choose us. We offer two types of service to those who are faced with winding up the affairs of someone who has died: - “Full Administration” and “Grant Only”.  Both types of service can be conducted by all the members of our Wills,  Probate and Estates Team.  Regardless of which team member works with you, they will be supervised by the Head of our Wills, Probate and Estates Department who is a solicitor and partner.  Regardless of which team member works with you, we do our best to provide consistently caring, considered and cost effective advice.

Full Administration

When our Full Administration Service is used, the work that we would usually undertake is,
  • Meeting to take full details about the deceased, the family circumstances and the nature and extent of assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Ascertaining whether there is a valid Will and its whereabouts
  • Contacting institutions to register the death and obtain valuations and details of assets or liabilities
  • Preparing any inheritance tax accounts that may be required and arranging payment of any inheritance tax due (this has to be paid before the Court will issue the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration)
  • Preparing the paperwork necessary to apply for a Grant from the Court
  • Making arrangements for the papers to be signed, including (where appropriate) arranging for the Executors or Administrators to attend at an independent Solicitors office for the purpose of swearing the Oath
  • Submitting the application for a Grant to the Court and dealing with any enquiries that the Court may raise
  • Preparing form of Authority to Banks, Building Society and others holding money and property and arranging for them to be signed by the Executors or Administrators
  • Registering the Grant with institutions and submitting forms of Authority to them
  • Collecting and paying estate money into our Client Account (where it is subject to the protection of our rules regarding Solicitors’ firms handling of client money)
  • Paying bills and any other liabilities and, once they have been paid, paying cash gifts and legacies under the Will
  • Obtaining confirmation from HM Revenue and Customs that no more tax is due (where relevant)
  • Preparing Estate Accounts showing the assets of the estate and the payment of liabilities and legacies
  • Ascertaining the identity of residuary beneficiaries, obtaining their approval of the Estate Accounts, handing over entitlements and obtaining their receipts
  • Where relevant, helping to set up any Trusts created by the Will or in consequence of the Rules of Intestacy where someone has died without a Will

Grant Only

When our Grant Only Service is used, our clients collate information and deal with the administration, but seek our assistance in helping them to prepare and submit the Court papers.  The work that we would undertake is,
  • Preparing the paperwork necessary to apply for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration from the Court
  • Submit the papers to the Court and checking the Grant when it has been issued
  • Delivering the Grant to the Executor or Administrator so that he, she or they can complete the administration
Our Grant Only Service is offered in cases where there is no inheritance tax to pay and no requirement to file a full inheritance tax account with HM Revenue and Customs. We understand that this can be a difficult time and that support may be needed from us which does not fall distinctly into our two standard types of service.  As our focus is to meet the needs of our clients, we can also, on request, offer flexible and tailored services where we would agree which work we would carry out and which tasks would be undertaken personally so that the wellbeing and budget of our clients can be met.
Revocation of a Will
Provided a testator (the person making the Will) retains testamentary capacity a Will can be revoked (“cancelled”) at any time during the testator’s lifetime. If a Will is revoked and a replacement Will is not made, then the testator will die intestate. If you wish to revoke your Will you should see a Solicitor. Symbolic destruction i.e. just putting a line through a Will and writing “revoked” on it may not be sufficient to validly revoke a Will. Below are examples of acts which can revoke a Will.  The list is not complete or conclusive and is merely given as a guide.

Express Revocation/Implied Revocation

Under the Wills Act 1837 a Will can be revoked in whole or in part by a later Will or Codicil. If a later Will is made which is intended to revoke the whole of an earlier one the new Will should contain a suitable express revocation clause.  A Codicil to a Will can revoke certain parts only of an earlier Will. A codicil must be carefully worded to show clearly which parts of the Will are revoked and which sections are confirmed. Even if a new Will does not contain an express revocation clause, the earlier Will is implicitly revoked by a later one to the extent that a later document contains provisions which are inconsistent with, or repeat, the earlier one.

By Marriage

Unless a Will is made in anticipation of a forthcoming marriage then, for Wills executed after the 31st December 1982 the basic rule is that, if the testator marries after executing a Will, that marriage automatically revokes the Will. This rule was extended to Civil Partnerships from 5th December 2005.

Divorce/Nullity

If after a Will is made the testator is divorced or the marriage is annulled or declared void then the law invokes a partial revocation in that:
  1. The Will takes effect as if any appointment of  the former spouse as an executor and/or trustee of the Will were omitted (although the appointment of any other executors and/or trustees are unaffected); and
  2. Any gift or bequest to the former spouse lapses, unless a contrary intention appears in the Will.
This rule was also extended to cover Civil Partnerships from 5th December 2005.

By Destruction

A Will destroyed accidentally or by mistake is not revoked.  A Will can be revoked by burning, tearing or otherwise destroying it if the destruction is carried out by the testator or by some person in his presence and by his direction with the intention of revoking it.

Accreditations