Personal services

Probate

Probate is the process of obtaining the legal right to distribute a deceased person’s property, money and estate. It can be emotional and complex, taking a great deal of time to untangle. The average estate may take up to nine months to distribute as various organisations need to be contacted, the status of assets needs to be ascertained and forms need to be completed and submitted.

When a loved one dies, the last thing you’ll want is to find yourself dealing with the management of their financial affairs. Going through personal papers, dealing with HMRC and contacting the Probate Office, all while in the process of mourning, can be incredibly stressful. Richard Place Dobson is here to help.

We can provide you with as much or as little help as you need, whether it be taking care of all the estate administration for you from start to finish, or just assisting with the most complex parts of the process.

If you would like to find out more or arrange a free initial chat, please contact 01293 521191 or contact us online.

Price information

We can provide a quote once we know more about the deceased’s estate and the complexity of the work required. To give you an idea of our fee levels and the services on offer, however, we can offer the following as a guide.

Telephone support service

This is useful for someone who wants to do the majority of the administration of the estate themselves, but also wants a professional on hand for the more technical parts of probate. For this service, we charge for the time we spend talking to you. You will prepare the application for a grant of probate and administer the estate yourself. The average fee for this service would be in the region of £625+VAT.

Application and paperwork service

This will suit someone who is happy to do some of the work but would rather have the application for grant prepared by a professional. For this service, we would make the application for the grant of probate based on the information that you provide to us.

We will also:

  • Review of the will and any related codicils or deeds of variation
  • Calculate the gross and net values of the estate and ascertain if any inheritance tax (IHT) is due
  • Prepare the IHT form for the estate
  • Claim all relevant tax reliefs
  • Prepare of the claim to transfer the unused NIL Rate Band allowance if applicable
  • Prepare the claim to transfer the unused residence nil-rate band allowance, if applicable
  • Prepare the claim for the residence nil-rate band allowance
  • Advise on and place a statutory advertisement
  • Draft the statement of truth for executors
  • Apply for the grant of probate and deal with any queries raised
  • Forward official copies of the grant to you
  • Provide summary estate accounts

You will need to make contact with the various banks and other organisations to register the death and gather the financial details for the estate. Once the above is carried out, you will deal with the rest of the estate administration yourself.

Indicative cost: £1,450+VAT to £1,775 + VAT + disbursements

Full estate administration service

We will take over the administration of the estate for probate purposes and carry out the following:

  • Review the will and any related codicils or deeds of variation
  • Review of all paperwork relating to assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Write to the banks and other organisations that hold assets and notify them of the death and pending probate
  • Calculate the gross and net values of the estate and ascertain if any IHT is due
  • Prepare the relevant IHT form for the estate
  • Prepare the relevant application for probate form
  • Prepare the claim to transfer the unused residence nil-rate band allowance
  • Prepare the claim to transfer the unused residence nil-rate band allowance
  • Preparation of the claim for the residence nil-rate band allowance
  • Apply for the grant of probate and deal with any queries raised
  • Open a designated bank account for the deceased’s estate
  • Register the grant of probate with the known organisations holding assets and collecting in said assets
  • Advise on and place a statutory advertisement
  • Make payment of the assets to the beneficiaries per the Will
  • Advise you of any income tax or capital gains tax for the estate during the administration period
  • Prepare estate tax returns and notify you of any income tax or capital gains tax due
  • Prepare full Estate accounts

We are not authorised to carry out any other legal work, such as preparing legal deeds or to legally transfer land and buildings. We can put you in touch with our legal contacts who can do this work for the estate. The cost of this work would be in addition to any fees quoted and would need to be borne by the estate.

Indicative cost: £3,950+VAT to £6,975 + VAT + disbursements

Disbursements would normally consist of items such as the cost of application for probate, currently £155; copies of the probate certificate currently £1.50 each; costs of placing statutory advertisements; and any costs or valuations from third parties that we have paid for on your behalf.

Our costs are based on a mix of fixed fees and hourly rates. Our fee ranges can be affected by the amount of work involved, issues we may become aware of and extra work required due to unforeseen circumstances. We would also look to discuss matters with you before looking to incur any further fees on top of those quoted.

Our charge our rates per hour per level of seniority are:

  • Director: £230
  • Advisor: £145
  • Senior Manager: £125
  • Manager: £90
  • Senior: £70
  • Junior: £45

These charges are exclusive of VAT and VAT will be charged on top of fees quoted at the applicable rate.

Service information

The following is a typical approach to full administration of an estate:

  • Initial conversation with you
    Arrange a meeting to discuss the estate and see what is involved
  • Send out a proposal of service and quote of our fees, and complete administrative paperwork
  • Open up a dedicated estate bank account
  • Get from you a copy of the deceased’s Will
  • Start to gather the deceased’s paperwork for investments, assets and property
  • Contact the various organisations to register the death and get monetary balances for probate
  • Arrange for any valuations needed to be carried out by a professional
  • Calculate the value of the estate and consider any reliefs that may be available
  • Notify you of any inheritance tax that may be due and how to pay
  • Prepare the relevant papers and forms for the application for probate
  • Meeting with you to go through the application and get signatures
  • Submit the application and associated papers to HMRC and the Probate Registry
  • Once probate is received, contact the various organisations to register the grant and begin gathering in the monies for the estate
  • Look to pay any legacies and distribute the estate to beneficiaries per the Will
  • Prepare estate account

Timescale of services

Getting probate can be a long process. An average time to complete can be between six and nine months. However, due to the nature of the work, and dependent on the complexity of the estate and the requirements of the will, it may take two years to complete, and very occasionally even longer. In each case, you will be informed of what is going on and we will ensure you are updated on progress.

Complaints information

If you would like to talk to us about how we could improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Matthew Tyson. We will consider carefully any complaint you may make about our probate services as soon as we receive it and will do all we can to resolve the issue. We will acknowledge your complaint within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within eight weeks. Any complaint should be submitted to us by letter.

If we do not deal with your complaint within this time, or if you are unhappy with our response, you may of course take up the matter with our professional body the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within six years of the act or omission or within three years of you becoming aware of the issue, and in either case, within six months of our written response to your complaint to us. The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:

Telephone: 0300 555 0333

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

Our regulatory body, the ICAEW has a section on how to raise a complaint.

Should we not be able to resolve a complaint using the above, then you can use an Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) provider. We do not endorse any particular provider, but one we are aware of are:

ADR Group: http://www.adrgroup.co.uk/DisputeResolution/

Email: info@adrgroup.co.uk

Regulatory information

Richard Place Dobson is regulated by ICAEW for probate services.

Compensation arrangements

As we are licensed for the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate, in the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Probate Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been aware, of the loss. Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website: www.icaew.com/probate

Professional indemnity insurance

Our Professional Indemnity Insurance individual limit is capped at £1,500,000.

Our liability to you in contract or tort (including negligence) or under any statute or otherwise, for any loss or damage caused to you by us in any way in connection with our engagement letter or any services provided by us pursuant to this engagement letter, including if caused by our negligence, will not exceed in aggregate the sum of £1,500,000. This limitation on our liability will not apply beyond the extent permitted by law.

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