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Wills & Probate

Wills & Probate

Thinking about what happens to your finances and property when you die can often be a thought provoking and emotional time that can be difficult to deal with. It often helps to have someone who is not a member of your family or your friend to discuss the plans that you would like to be put into place after your death and ensure that your wishes and instructions are followed.

After a death it is often difficult for an Executor to deal with an estate especially when dealing with bereavement. We provide a full probate service ranging from assisting an Executor to apply for a Grant of Probate to our experienced staff dealing with the full estate on behalf of the Executor and distributing the assets.

Often our clients will appoint our staff as Executors of their estates especially when there are difficult family relationships or if there is no family or friends who can act as Executors.

Hannays Solicitors and Advocates provide expert legal advice in every aspect of making a will, estate management and probate.

Additionally, if you are elderly you may require specific advice to help you to manage your finances in your later years and we offer specialised elderly client services.

Our services include:

  • Drafting and updating wills
  • Administration of Estates on Death / Probate
  • Inheritance tax planning and advising you on your assets to ensure wealth protection
  • Trusts
  • Power of Attorney

Information on our staff that offer our Wills and Probate service can be found at the end of this page.

Wills

The reason most people give for not having a Will is that they don’t want to think about their death. We have a great deal of experience at Hannays Solicitors and Advocates to help you make your Will while focusing on the positive aspects of making your wishes known. This ensures that your family, friends, favourite charity or good cause receive what you would like them to have. It is important to have a Will which is constructed properly to ensure that it cannot be questioned after your death and the instructions you have left about the disposal of your Estate can be carried out legally.

Without a will you are unable to control what happens to your assets after death, which may leave your dependents with complicated problems to resolve.

The law determines what happens to a person’s Estate if they die intestate (without a Will) and under the rules, it is possible that your preferred beneficiary may not get anything when you die. If you are living with someone and are not married to him or her, your partner may get nothing at all without further legal action at a time when they are mourning.

If you are a husband and wife who have no children (or children from first marriages) and die without making wills, it is likely that all of the estate may pass to the family of the second to die, with nothing going to the family of the one who died first. With a Will it is possible to arrange for the estate to be divided fairly between the two families.

A Will allows you to express your wishes as to your funeral arrangements.

If you made a Will before marriage your Will needs to be redrafted as on marriage your existing Will becomes invalid.

When your Will has been drawn up and signed we will securely store it free of charge unless you have other secure safe storage facilities that are known about and accessible after your death.

For clients who wish to make a Will but cannot come to our offices because of illness, infirmity or because they are resident in long term care we can make arrangements (often at short notice) to visit your home, hospital ward or residence.

Please call us on 0191 4974630 or 0191 4555361 for initial advice or an appointment, or alternatively please complete and submit our online form.

Probate – Administration of Estates

After your death your ‘Estate’ is the property along with any other assets that you have. Our probate specialists handle the winding up of your Estate with understanding and sympathy as we appreciate that for your family and friends this can be a very distressing and stressful time. Administration involves:

  • Ascertaining the assets and liabilities and preparing the necessary tax forms
  • Obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration enabling the personal representative to obtain the assets
  • Settling the liabilities of the estate
  • Distributing the estate in accordance with the terms of the will and if there is no will in accordance with the statutory rules.
  • Advising if there is a dispute between beneficiaries, executors or those who want to make a claim against an estate
  • Ensuring that any Inheritance tax due is declared and paid

Our Prices

We do the work that our clients need us to do – if our client only needs help to apply for the Grant of Probate we offer simple fixed fee costs plus disbursements. If our client wishes to instruct us to handle the full estate including distribution we will give a costs estimate based on an hourly rate of £150 per hour (plus VAT) and disbursements depending upon the complexity of the estate at the outset.

A disbursement is a fee that we charge to our clients at cost. Disbursements are raised by a third parties, for example the Courts or HMRC which are payable within the processes of winding up an estate.

If an estate includes the sale of property we will give a quotation at the onset for the sale of the property(s).

We would like to give you an indication of our prices for a Grant of Probate  and an uncontested simple estate where all the assets are in England or Wales.

Grant of Probate
Typically, obtaining a Grant of Probate will take 6-8 weeks.

As part of our fixed fee we will provide the following;
– A dedicated and experienced probate solicitor who is currently assisted by our Trainee Solicitor
– Advise  on the legally appointed Executors or Administrators and beneficiaries
– Accurately identify the type of Probate application required
– Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
– Complete the Probate application and IHT205
– Draft a legal oath for you to swear
– Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
– Obtain the Probate and (securely) provide you with two copies

Our costs are: £450 + VAT £90
Disbursements:
Probate Application Fee: £155
Swearing of the oath (per Executor) : £7
Land Registry bankruptcy searches: £2 per beneficiary
Post in the London Gazette (to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors) estimated at £100+ £20 VAT
Post in local newspaper (to help protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors) estimated at £60 + £12 VAT

An Uncontested Simple Estate
A simple estate would be one where there is:
– A valid Will
– No more than one property ( the sale of which we would quote for separately)
– No more than one bank account with a small amount of savings
– No other intangible assets
– No more than two beneficiaries
– No disputes amongst the beneficiaries
– No inheritance tax payable
– A few simple claims against the estate

We estimate our costs for carrying out this work would be as follows:

Our costs are: £150 per hour with an estimated 5 hours of work.
Disbursements:
Probate Application Fee: £155
Swearing of the oath (per Executor) : £7
Land Registry bankruptcy searches: £2 per beneficiary
Post in the London Gazette (to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors) estimated at £100+ £20 VAT
Post in local newspaper (to help protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors) estimated at £60 + £12 VAT
Sale of property – the conveyancing costs will be quoted separately in addition to the costs and disbursements indicated here.

On average an estate like this can be expected to be dealt with within nine months. Typically the Grant of Probate will take 6-8 weeks. The assets have to be collected and debts paid. The soonest we can make distributions to beneficiaries will be six months after the Grant of Probate has been issued.

This is a very simple example and everyone’s estate has different circumstances. Our exact costs will depend on individual circumstances as there may be multiple beneficiaries, charitable bequests, stocks and shares, several properties.

We will always give a quotation before accepting instructions and if something unexpected happens during the course of the matter that alters our original quotation we always provide this further information in writing with an explanation of how this affects costs.

Please call us on 0191 497 4630 or 0191 4555361 for initial advice or an appointment, or alternatively please complete and submit our online form.

Please call us on 0191 497 4630 or 0191 455 5361 to arrange an initial meeting to discuss your individual circumstances and outline your options.

Complete our contact form

Our Wills & Probate team

What our clients think

"First class service and I am completely satisfied - thanks"
"I would recommend because of the professionalism at all times from the staff"
"Recommended by my friends – friendly and straightforward"
"We felt the Solicitor genuinely cared and kept us updated at all times"
"Very polite staff and straightforward procedure"
"Advice given was useful and the service was brilliant"

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