Probate

It’s difficult to know what to do first when a member of your family or a close friend dies. To help Attwells Solicitors offer a free initial chat and fixed fee probate packages.

In addition, Attwells offer the following services and information:

When somebody dies, their Assets must be collected in, any Liabilities paid and the Estate then distributed amongst the Beneficiaries. This is called administering the Estate.

This is a job for the Personal Representatives (PRs). The PRs may be set out in the deceased’s Will (if there is one) or, if there is no Will, depend on who is entitled to inherit under the Intestacy rules.

The PRs must write to all Asset holders to get valuations of the deceased’s Assets on the date they died. For bank accounts, this will be a statement. For property, they will need three professional valuations. For specific assets, like collections and shares, there are special valuation rules.

The PRs must also ascertain the extent of any Liabilities of the deceased.

Once the value of the Estate is known, the PRs must decide which IHT Forms and Probate Forms need to be completed to obtain the Grant of Representation.

Once the Grant of Representation has been obtained (but before the PRs can pay out anything to the Beneficiaries), the PRs must pay any Inheritance Tax (IHT) but also consider if there is any Capital Gains Tax or Income Tax to pay on the increase in value or income received since the date of death. Any tax due and Administration Costs incurred can then be deducted from the Estate before it is distributed amongst the Beneficiaries.

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When a loved one dies you are left with an extensive range of responsibilities and legal obligations during an extremely emotional time, this can be overwhelming and add additional pressure. Attwells Solicitors are your local probate experts, we can support you with all the legal aspects you face.

To ease your concerns regarding the legal costs Attwells Solicitors offer fixed fee probate packages and best estimates. Below is a pricing flowchart, please answer the questions following the red and green lines. This short flowchart will highlight the right probate price for you.

Fixed Fee Probate

Attwells Solicitors Probate Prices

Fees will be payable on producing the documents for you to sign. If you decide to withdraw instructions part way through the work we are undertaking for you, a proportionate part of the fee will be payable. This will be limited to the amount of the deposit that we will ask for upfront.

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What is included in the fixed Grant only price:

  • Liaising with you as to the information required to complete the Form
  • Completing form IHT205
  • Preparing the oath needed to swear as an executor
  • Applying for the grant of probate
  • Providing you with the Grant to enable you to administer the Estate

What is excluded in the fixed Grant only price:

  • IHT400 if a more complex Estate
  • Foreign assets or domiciled persons
  • Claims against the Estate
  • Disputes over the Will
  • Intestate Estates (where there is no Will)
  • Capacity issues
  • Variations to the Will if required
  • Administering the Estate
  • Tax advice
  • Legal advice outside of the service requested

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Disbursements:

£3 for any property title if the Estate includes property

£155 for the probate fee

50p for each copy of the Grant (subject to a minimum of £1)

We will ask you to obtain valuations for the assets of the estate.  If professional valuations are needed, the professionals may make a charge for providing you with a probate valuation.

Disbursements are payable before we incur the cost.

How long will it take?

Once we have all of the information required, we will prepare the application documents for your signature within 7 days.  Once they have been signed and returned, we will make the application to the Probate Registry and usually a Grant is received within two weeks.

The entire process depends on the extent of the Estate and how quickly the assets and liabilities can be ascertained.  For straightforward Estates, we would expect around 6-8 weeks from instruction to Grant.

For more complex Estates it is more likely to be from 2-6 months.

If we are administering the Estate as part of the instructions we have received, the timeframe depends on how long it takes to collect in the assets and usually depends on whether a property needs to be sold or what other assets there are.  This process can take anywhere between one week and around 6 months.

What should I expect?

  1. A questionnaire will be sent via email or in the post
  2. On instructing us, you be asked to pay half of the fees upfront
  3. We will guide you to the information we need
  4. Once all information has been received, we will draft the forms needed to apply for probate and send to you to sign.  Our invoice will be submitted at this stage
  5. Once signed and the invoice paid, we will make the probate application and deliver the grant to you on receipt
  6. If we are administering the Estate for you, we will collect in all assets and close down the various accounts, pay IHT (if any) and distribute to the beneficiaries.

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Inheritance Tax Advice Pricing

Price: £500.00 plus VAT

The fee is payable upfront.

What is included in the price:

  • 2 hours of time to consider your liability for IHT for Estates in England or Wales

What is excluded from the price:

  • Advice for foreign property or domiciled persons
  • Additional time for more complex matters
  • Work required to implement any advice given
  • Legal advice outside of the service requested

Disbursements: 

None anticipated

How long will it take? 

We will make a time to speak with you to work out your concerns and we will provide you with a form to complete of relevant information needed to consider your position.

Thereafter a letter will be provided with our summary of your position and whether we believe there is anything that can be done to minimise your liability.

What should I expect? 

  1. An appointment will be made, which is convenient for you.  This can be in person or over the phone.
  2. A questionnaire will be sent via email or in the post.
  3. A letter will be sent by email or post within 7 days

How to instruct Attwells Solicitors?

Instructing us is simple. You can either click on the instruct button below to register your interest or you can call your local office. We have offices in Ipswich, Colchester and London. When instructing us please inform us of the office you would like to use.

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Capital Gains Tax

Price: £250.00 plus VAT

The fee is payable upfront

What is included in the price:

  • 1 hour of time to consider your liability for CGT on residential property in England or Wales

What is excluded from the price:

  • Advice for foreign property or domiciled persons
  • Additional time for more complex matters
  • Work required to implement any advice given
  • Legal advice outside of the service requested

Disbursements: 

None anticipated

How long will it take? 

We will make a time to speak with you to work out your concerns and we will provide you with a form to complete of relevant information needed to consider your position.

Thereafter a letter will be provided with our summary of your position and whether we believe there is anything that can be done to minimise your liability.

What should I expect? 

  1. An appointment will be made, which is convenient for you.  This can be in person or over the phone.
  2. A questionnaire will be sent via email or in the post.
  3. A letter will be sent by email or post within 7 days

 How to instruct Attwells Solicitors?

Instructing us is simple. You can either click on the instruct button below to register your interest or you can call your local office. We have offices in Ipswich, Colchester and London. When instructing us please inform us of the office you would like to use.

Request a Call Back

Intestacy 

If you die, without having a made a Will or if your Will is invalid, the rules of intestacy apply.

Currently, these rules state, if you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse or civil partner gets everything unless you have children.

If you have children and your estate is worth over £250,00 your spouse or civil partner will get all of your personal possessions, the first £250,000 and half of anything else with the other half going to your children.

If you die and you are not married, your relatives will inherit in a strict order (your estate is split between all the people in the first category you get to)

  1. Children
  2. Surviving parents
  3. Whole blood siblings (or their children)
  4. Half-blood siblings (or their children)
  5. Surviving grandparents
  6. Whole blood aunts and uncles (or their children)
  7. Half-blood aunts and uncles (or their children)
  8. Crown

What happens therefore if you are not married or in a civil partnership living with your partner?

What if you have step or adopted children? Are they included or excluded from this?

What if you are married or in a civil partnership but have children from a previous relationship you wish to protect?

What if you have family members you do not want to inherit?

The only way you can ensure you have your say is to make a Will and ensure it is valid.

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Inheritance Disputes

Inheritance disputes, contentious probate or challenging a will are extremely emotive areas of law therefore it is imperative you seek expert legal advice.

Inheritance disputes can occur for numerous reasons such as fraud or a lack of metal capacity. You are likely to be feeling a bereft and emotional, although its hard to imagine how anyone would truly feel during such a time. On top of which you will be receiving letters from the solicitor dealing with the probate that you strongly disagree with, compounding the situation.

Making a claim or challenging a will

If you disagree or are concerned by the outcome of a will (probate) you do have options available to you. Depending on your relationship to the deceased you could have a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 which allows certain family members, such as partners, spouses (including former), or dependents to ask the courts to adjust the will if it does not make appropriate financial provisions for them.

There are important time limits when bring these claims, therefore we suggest you take promote legal advice. 

You also have the option to challenge the executors or trustees who you believe are in breach of their duties or to remove them as executors.

Disputing a will due to undue influence, fraud or mental capacity 

In addition to the above you may feel concerned your loved one was unfairly influenced or was a victim of fraud. In these situations, you will need evidence such as being able to prove a pattern of behaviour, documents or a witness who will support your claim. In the case of mental capacity, you will need to prove the deceased would have been incapable of understanding what they were agreeing to in the event of their death.

If you would like to find out if you have a claim our disputes expert, senior solicitor Edward Powell would be happy to have a free initial chat with you. During this time, he will ask you for a brief outline of your claim.

Attwells always recommend before attending your first appointment with Edward that you bring the following:

  • A timeline of events
  • Any proof or evidence such as emails, text messages or letters received concerning your claim

Having this information will save you time and money. 

Defending claims

Equally however if you are an executor, beneficiary or both of an estate you may have to defend an inheritance act claim. You will need to protect your position or inheritance and prove the will (subsequently the probate) is correct.

As an executor you will have obligations to provide information to the court regarding the deceased’s estate, this may include financial or health records. If you are not a claimant or a beneficiary then you should remain neutral. However, as a beneficiary you are not required to do so, although Attwells would always highly recommend you seek legal advice first.