Probate and Estate Disputes Lawyers in St Helens
At Hattons our professional probate solicitor gives efficient yet sensitive legal advice to people following a loved ones death.
The term Probate refers to the right to deal with someone’s affairs following their death, sometimes known as ‘administering the estate’, and a probate solicitor can play an important part in making the process less painful.
We can help with a variety of Probate issues including:
Disputed Identification of Beneficiaries
To obtain a grant of Probate, an application must be made to the probate registry, a section of the Court, and the application is usually made for the person(s) named as executors in a will.
Once a person has been granted Probate, they then have the authority to manage the deceased person’s funds, administer their estate, and divide their assets according to the will.
The process of achieving probate and of subsequently administering the estate can be very complex, confusing and daunting, particularly to those who are in the midst of the grieving process. Having specialist support from a probate solicitor at this time can therefore prove indispensable.
Our Probate Solicitor Can Visit You At Home
What’s more, we can also visit your home for a small fee, meaning that customers who struggle in leaving the house can receive the advice and support they need in the comfort of their own home.
At Hattons we are proud to offer a dedicated, sensitive and efficient approach to families or individuals at this time, taking the strain of probate and administration on your behalf, whilst allowing you to come to terms with your loss.
At every stage your dedicated representative will keep you fully informed of progress, and you’ll find our rates competitive and fair.
Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration application, collecting and distributing assets
We anticipate that this will take on average between approximately 10 and 20 hours of work charged at £195 + VAT per hour (VAT is presently 20%). Total costs estimating on average at approximately £2,925.00 + VAT (20%).
The exact cost will depend on individual circumstances. For example, if there is only one beneficiary and no property, the cost will be at the lower end. However, if there are multiple beneficiaries, a property, multiple bank accounts, the cost will be towards the higher end.
The whole process can be handled by Hattons Solicitors and include estates where:
- There is a valid Will / There is no Will
- There is one of more properties (we do not conduct domestic conveyancing but can recommend a firm of solicitors)
- There a one or more bank accounts
- There are no intangible assets
In cases where there are the following:
- Inheritance tax to pay
- Dispute between beneficiaries
- Claims made against the estate
The cost of which will be equal or more to the higher end of the costs relayed above.
Disbursements included in this fee (where applicable VAT is included at 20%):
- Probate application fee = £273 (we request an additional 2 copies therefore meaning the total application fee is £276).
- Bankruptcy-only land charges department searches £3 per beneficiary
Disbursements are costs related to your case that are payable to third parties such as Court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Potential additional costs
- If there is no Will or the Estate consists of any share holding (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
- Dealing with the sale of the property or the transfer of a property is not included.
How long will it take?
On average, the simpler estates (i.e. no property, just bank accounts and no more than one beneficiary) usually take approx. 6-10 months to apply for the Grant of Probate and administer the Estate.
The more complex cases (i.e. no will, inheritance tax due, dispute between beneficiaries) usually takes approx. 18-24 months to apply for the Grant, pay any inheritance tax due and administer the Estate.
How much does the service of applying for Grant of Probate Cost?
Fixed fee: £695 + VAT + Court fee of £276.00
This includes collecting all estate values and obtaining the Grant of Probate.
Hour cost of £195 + VAT includes retrieving monies, finalising liabilities and distribution to beneficiaries.
Breakdown of costs:
- Grant of Probate application £695 + VAT (20%)
- Court fee = £276 (in total inc extra official copies)
- Bankruptcy search (per beneficiary) = £3
- £195 + VAT hourly charge for estate administration = approx. £2,340 + VAT
Total cost for application and estate admin = £3,314 + VAT (inc probate application, bankruptcy search and court fees).
As part of our fee we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced Probate case Worker
- Identify the legally appointed executors/administrators and beneficiaries
- Identify the type of probate application required
- Obtain all relevant documents required for the probate application
- Complete HMRC forms
- Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
- Collect and distribute all estate assets
On average, estates that fall within this range take approx. 4-6 months to obtain the grant of probate and takes on average approx. 10-12 months to fully complete a grant of probate file (this includes application and estate administration).
In relation to contested probate matters, it is difficult to provide an estimate for such matters. We charge £295.00 + vat per hour for this type of work and this is for contentions work, not relating to the administration of the estate so is not recoverable from the estate. They are not costs incurred in relation to the administration of the estate and as such cannot be recovered as a debt of the estate. These will need to be paid by the person who is instructing us. Again, we provide our bill on a quarterly basis.
With all probate matters we do require an initial upfront cost of £250.00 in order for us to open the matter and carry out the initial work.
The process for administrating an uncontested estate starts with us contacting the various banks, building societies, insurance providers and other utility accounts to establish whether any money is due to them or owed to the estate. We therefore require as much information as possible from the family and or friends of the deceased who are instructing us
We shall then be able to put a value on the estate and be able to complete the relevant inheritance tax form which we must complete to obtain the Grant of Probate. We shall then draft the Statement for Executors which needs to be sent to the Probate Registry along with the Inheritance Tax form and original Will to obtain the Grant of Probate.
Once we receive the Grant of Probate we will be able to start to close down all of the deceased’s accounts and collect the monies in to then be divided in accordance with the Will. Further the Grant of Probate is required to sell any or all property on behalf of Estate
Depending on the complexity of the estate the whole process should take between 6-12 months to finalise.
Associate Solicitor Natasha Cave has conduct of these cases and is supervised by Bruce Hatton, Managing Partner.
If you would like to find out more about Probate and Estate Disputes call our expert legal team on 01744 744400 or fill out our contact form below: