Wills & Estates
The death of a partner, parent or other loved one is always distressing. If a will is challenged and claims are made by others to share the estate this can put a great deal of pressure on those left behind.
Kidd Spoor Taylor’s areas of wills and estates service include: Wills Life Interest Trust Wills, Estate Planning and Court of Protection. We also provide advice regarding Inheritance act claims, Will disputes, Claims involving property, Disputes with executors, Claims regarding lack of mental capacity, Contested Court of Protection and Burial disputes.
Why is it important to make a Will?
If you want to make sure that your estate goes to the people you want it to on your death it is essential you consider making a Will. A Will allows you to do a number of things including the following:
– You can name those who you trust to handle the administration of your estate include dealing with property, finances and possessions
– If you have children, you can say in your Will who you would like to be appointed to look after them if you died (known as “Guardians”)
– You can control at what age young adults can receive sums due to them from your estate
What if I died without having a Will?
When a person dies without a Will, the Rules of Intestacy determine who is automatically entitled to inherit your property and possessions. The rules also determine who is entitled to deal with the administration of your estate.
The Rules of Intestacy do aim to take care of spouses, civil partners and biological children.
However, provisions are not made for unmarried partners, stepchildren, friends, pets and charities. The intestacy rules in relation to entitlement to inheritance is presently as follows:
The Rules of Intestacy may result in your property and possessions being inherited by those that you would not wish to benefit.
Why it is important to have your Will professionally written
Wills are important legal documents and the slightest error in executing the Will properly or an incorrectly worded Will can cause significant difficulties in dealing with your estate. It is therefore always important to seek professional advice when making a Will.
Do I have to update my Will regularly?
You may have already written a Will; perhaps when you bought your first house or when your children were young. However, if you have had a change of circumstances i.e. marriage, had children, bought a property or acquired more assets it is important to check your Will still reflects your wishes and/or it is still valid.
Life events such as marriage or divorce mean that parts of your existing Will (or even all of it) will automatically become invalid making it necessary to rewrite it.
Steps Forward with Kidd Spoor Taylor
At your first appointment with us, we will discuss with you the structure of your Will and provide you with the necessary advice and information which you may not have considered and may require your thought and consideration. We don’t seek to make your Will too complicated for you to read and understand and we will guide you through every step of the process.
Single Wills – Our fee for preparing a basic Will is £150.00 plus VAT making a total of £180.00.
Mirror Wills – Our fee for preparing a basic mirror Will for you and your partner, is £250.00 plus VAT making a total of £300.00
Costs for Probate and Estate Administration
Our costs for obtaining probate and the collection and distribution of the deceased’s assets
Dealing with the affairs of a deceased person is often more complicated and time consuming than people expect. Our specialist team can deal with as much or as little as you require in the course of the administration of an estate. The administration of an estate can be complicated by factors such as the payment of Inheritance Tax, missing beneficiaries, assets held abroad or in trust, executors who do not wish to act, Trusts, contested Wills & claims against an estate, and difficulties in establishing the estate assets and liabilities.
We will charge for the work carried out on the basis of our hourly rates which range from £120 plus VAT (£144) to £250 an hour plus VAT (£300) depending on the experience of the fee earner involved. We will provide a fee estimate at the beginning of the work based on the number of hours we anticipate the work will take. We would usually have an initial meeting with you to obtain the relevant information and then provide a fee estimate. The fees’ estimate will include the initial meeting.
Example fee estimate
As a guide the costs for obtaining probate and collecting and distributing assets in a straightforward estate may be between £2,530 and £6,725 (plus VAT at 20% | £3036 – £8070) on the basis of an anticipation of 11 to 30 hours at an average hourly rate of £225 (plus VAT at 20% – £270) 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 four beneficiaries, a property and three bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.
The above estimate of costs applies where:
- There is a valid will
- The executors are prepared to act
- There are no difficulties in establishing the assets and liabilities
- There is only one residential property. The cost of dealing with the sale or transfer of any property is not included
- There are no more than three bank or building society accounts
- The assets do not include shareholdings (stocks and bonds)
- There are no business or agricultural assets
- There are no more than five pecuniary legacies
- All assets are in the UK
- There are up to four residuary beneficiaries, who can be contacted easily
- We are not instructed to deal with the clearance or distribution of chattels (personal possessions)
- There are no life policies, pensions or death in service payments
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. There is no Inheritance Tax payable and the executors do not need to submit an IHT400 to HMRC
- There are no claims made against the estate
In addition, the following disbursements may be incurred (and are not included in the above estimate):
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.
- Probate application fee – £155 plus £1.50 for each additional copy of the Grant required (one per asset usually)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches – £2 per beneficiary
- Statutory advertisements in The London Gazette and a local newspaper, which protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors – £200 to £300 (plus VAT at 20% | £240 – £360)
- Certainty Will Search to confirm that the most recent will is being proved – £95 (plus VAT at 20% – £114)
How long will the work take?
It takes on average 6 to 12 months to deal with estates that fall within the above fee estimate. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 12 to 16 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 4 to 8 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets and finalise the administration which can on average take up to 16 weeks.
As part of the above fee estimate we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced legal adviser to work on your matter
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of probate application you will require
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
- Complete the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms
- Draft a Statement of Truth for you to sign
- Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
- Obtain the probate
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
Who will work on your case?
Typically, a solicitor, associate or the Principal will work on your case and they may be assisted by a paralegal, a trainee solicitor or a solicitor apprentice. Supervision of the work will be undertaken by a Principal in the Probate and Estate Administration team.
Get in Touch
0191 257 3101
25 Northumberland Square