Wills and Probate - fee transparency

PRIVATE CLIENT DEPARTMENT

Our team of Lawyers have many years of collective experience in delivering high quality work over a comprehensive range of services including Probate and Estate Administration, Will drafting, Trust creation and administration, Deputyship Orders, tax planning and Powers of Attorney.

Making the best provision for your family for now and in the years to come requires careful planning with help from an experienced and professional Firm of Solicitors. Whether you are seeking to arrange how your Estate should be divided or require advice as to how to mitigate the burden of Inheritance Tax or have recently suffered a bereavement, our team is trained to advise and assist you in all matters associated with Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate.

FEES
Further to this fee scale please note more detailed information set out below.


Wills
Our fee for a single standard Will will be £200 plus VAT. Our fee for mirror Wills (i.e. a joint instruction where reciprocal provision is made will be £350 plus VAT.

Our fee will cover taking your instructions, preparing the draft Will, sending the draft Will to you for your approval, drafting any amendments as necessary and attending upon you to explain the terms of the Will and thereafter to deal with its execution.

We will advise you as to the likely inheritance tax consequences of the provisions which you have asked us to include in your Will on the basis of the information which you have given to us. However, we will not advise you as to the most tax efficient method of drafting your Will or give advice on lifetime tax planning as part of our standard Will drafting service. However, if you ask to us do so we will provide such advice for an additional fee which we can discuss with you at the time.

These fees assume that no unusual difficulties will be encountered but if the matter proves to be more complex or time consuming than is normally expected our fee may be more. We will explain and agree this with you before proceeding. Additional work will be chargeable at the hourly rate applicable to the relevant Fee Earner dealing with the matter as listed below. You will always be advised of any additional fees before they are incurred and charged to you.

We would normally expect to send out to you a draft copy of a standard Will within seven working days of you providing us with clear instructions. If the instructions are complex or involve complicated drafting it may take a further seven days. This timescale may be extended further if it is necessary to involve a third party such as a doctor to provide a capacity assessment. Once the Will has been approved and you have informed us you are ready to proceed, we would expect to arrange an appointment to deal with the signing of the engrossed Will within a further ten working days.

Lasting Power of Attorney
You may make a Lasting Power of Attorney for financial decisions and/or a separate Lasting Power of Attorney to cover Health & Care decisions. Our fees for Lasting Powers of Attorney for one person whether for Financial or Health & Care Decisions is £450 plus VAT for one or £650 plus VAT for both type.

If a joint instruction from two people our fees would be £650 plus VAT for one type each or £850 plus VAT for both types each.

For each individual LPA submitted there is a Court fee of £82, although a fee remission is possible depending on your financial circumstances. We can explain this to you and assess whether you may be entitled to seek a remission when we meet with you.

The work involved for the above fees cover advising you on LPAs and your options, taking your instructions, preparing draft documents, sending the drafts to you for approval, making any amendments as necessary, attending upon you to explain the terms and effect and thereafter to deal with execution, including acting as a Certificate provider where requested. Where necessary, to prepare the papers to notify any third party as appropriate; apply for registration of each LPA; lodge application papers with the Office of the Public Guardian; confirm once registration completed and supply a certified copy of each registered LPA.

Any additional work will be chargeable at the hourly rate applicable to the relevant Fee Earner dealing with the matter as listed below.

Our experience shows us that realistically the average timescale to lodge a Lasting Power of Attorney for registration is four to eight weeks from the date on which you provide us with sufficient details to draft an LPA until the finalisation of the signing of the LPA. This timescale may be extended if it is necessary to involve a third party such as a doctor to provide an assessment or to act as certificate provider. For the Office of the Public Guardian to register an LPA and return the registered documentation to us takes around eight to ten weeks. The timescale could be extended if there is any objection to the application to register an LPA or an application for an exemption or remission of the registration fee is claimed.

Probate
Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf. This will include contacting various institutions to obtain Probate valuations and Tax details, drafting the appropriate Inheritance Tax Account, drafting the Oath for Executors and filing the Application for the Grant.

We anticipate our fees could be in the region of £750 to £1,500 plus VAT to obtain the Grant.

There will also be disbursements to pay including:
Court fee of £155 plus 50p per additional sealed copy of the Grant
Oath fee of £7 to £9

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter and which of the Inheritance Tax accounts need to be submitted, which will largely depend on the value of the Estate. If, for example, there is no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are various properties and multiple assets, costs will be at the higher end.

We can also assist with the full administration of the Estate.

The work covered, unless agreed otherwise shall include:
• Advertising Notices pursuant to Section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925.
• Contacting buildings insurance companies and household utility companies to arrange continuation or cancellation of accounts.
• Contacting and liaising with agents as to valuing and marketing any property for sale.
• Assisting with the completion of any pre-death income tax returns including obtaining information from pension companies and other organisations.
• Preparing interim estate accounts as to known value of assets and liabilities as at date of death.
• Contacting institutions in order to collect in/transfer to beneficiaries, monies due to the estate and settling all known outstanding debts.
• Providing such assistance as is necessary with regards to the completion of the sale of any property.
• Advising on and making distributions and interim payments to beneficiaries.
• Assisting with the provision of income tax information for the administration period.
• Drafting IR185EI forms for beneficiaries.
• Preparing final estate accounts setting out financial details of the administration of the estate.
• Dealing with final distributions to residuary beneficiaries of monies held on behalf of the estate.
• Providing advice and sending correspondence in respect of such matters set out above
• Where necessary, instructing an accountant, surveyor or barrister to provide appropriate professional advice.
• Where necessary, instructing an agent or expert to assist in dealing with any foreign assets, estate or other relevant foreign matters.

Please note the work covered does not include the following
• To advise any of the beneficiaries of the estate as to their position and rights in relation to the estate.
• To provide tax advice save as referred to above. Whilst we may choose to explain our understanding of the generic tax position, we have no duty of care as to the accuracy or appropriateness of such information and do not assume any legal responsibility to anyone acting on any information provided.
• Sale or transfer of any property forming part of the Estate.
• Unless specifically agreed, we shall not take any steps to organise the renewal of any Building Insurance policy or to comply with any endorsements or conditions relating to that policy.
• Unless specifically agreed, in relation to motor vehicles, we shall not ensure that any legal requirements relating to insurance, tax, registration or any other matters are complied with.
Our fees for dealing with matters post obtaining the Grant could be in the region of £1,000 to £5,000 plus VAT. We reserve the right depending on complexity to charge for care and conduct at 0.5% of the value of the Estate. We will advise at the outset should this additional charge be applicable.

There may be additional disbursements such as a Statutory Notice fee which is taken out in the London Gazette and local newspaper to protect Personal Representative against unknown debts or claims which may come to light after the Estate is distributed. This Notice is intended for Creditors and other people who may have an interest in the Estates notifying them that any claim must be received by a specific date. The Notice fee is approximately £180. There may also be Land Registry fees, Accountants and Stockbrokers fees which may arise. Bankruptcy Search fees against each Beneficiary should also be undertaken at a cost of £2 per search

Once we have obtained the Grant we will be in a better position to give you a clearer estimate of the likely overall legal fees in dealing with subsequent matters. Our fees will vary considerably depending on the extent of the assets and complexity of matters involved. Our charges will be calculated by the application of the hourly rate applicable to the relevant Fee Earner dealing with the matter.

Nominally executors are given a year to deal with the administration of an estate however, in reality the administration of a standard estate usually takes far less. However, this if of course dependent upon a number of factors including the length of time it takes the institutions contacted to supply us with any information required, to sell any property, to clear the tax position with HMRC as may be necessary and further, assuming that no particular complications or unexpected issues arise. The overall timescale involved is in part dependent upon the length of time taken by you to provide us with instructions and to respond to correspondence and requests for information.

As a rule of thumb the overall cost including disbursements is often in the region of 1 to 3% of the value of the Estate but it really does depend on what is involved as to how much the overall cost will be.

Fees for covering other services, including creation and administration of settlements and Trusts, Living Wills, tax planning and Deputyship applications are available on request by contacting any member of our experienced Departmental Team.

LAWYERS

We have four lawyers who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Andrew Goss, Partner and Head of Probate and Estate Administration.

Andrew Goss – Partner
Andrew is a Partner and Head of the firms long established Private Client Department. He qualified as a Solicitor in 1995 after gaining a Degree in Law from the De Montfort University. He completed his training contract at a Firm in High Wycombe before moving to their Dorset office in 1995 where he became the Managing Partner. Andrew joined Jacobs & Reeves in May 2018.

Andrew also has a wealth of experience in handling Trusts and Estates. Andrew has completed numerous professional development courses in Probate and Estate Administration.

Current Hourly Charging Rate: £245 plus VAT where fixed fees do not apply

Orla Laurenson – Associate Solicitor
Orla qualified as a solicitor in April 2016 having completed her training contract with us.  She attended the University of London obtaining a degree in Philosophy before completing her Graduate Diploma in Law in Leeds and the Legal Practice Course at Bristol.
 
Orla is based at our Wimborne office where she deals with Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney and Deputyship applications alongside residential property matters.

Current Hourly Charging Rate: £215 plus VAT where fixed fees do not apply

Marcus Williams – Solicitor
Marcus has a Business Management Degree from Keele University and has completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course at Bournemouth University. Marcus qualified as a Solicitor in November 2018.

Marcus is currently working in our Probate and Litigation Departments and has particular experience in the preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney as well as an interest in Landlord and Tenant disputes.

Current Hourly Charging Rate: £215 plus VAT where fixed fees do not apply

Claire Channer
Claire is a Paralegal Assistant to Andrew Goss having previously been the Personal Assistant to the Department Head. Claire has been employed at Jacobs & Reeves for over 16 years and has considerable experience in the Private Client Department.

Claire specialises in the preparation of Wills and has prepared a number of complex testamentary provisions to suit the client’s particular needs.

Current Hourly Charging Rate: £140 plus VAT where fixed fees do not apply