Probate & Administration of Estates

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We appreciate that the loss of a loved one is an emotional and stressful time and we offer sympathetic support and advice in dealing with the complexities involved in administering an estate which can become overwhelming during this difficult period.

Our Private Client team is  available at our offices in Ashford, Canterbury and Herne Bay to help and support you.

Dealing with Estates

Probate is the term generally used to describe the process of administering someone’s estate when they die. It may be necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate (where there is a Will) or Grant of Letters of Administration (where there is no Will) in order to administer the estate and deal with the assets. A Grant of Probate is an order of the court which gives one or more people the legal authority to enable their estate to be collected in and divided between their beneficiaries. We can also help with probate disputes.

Our Lawyers are particularly experienced in administering large or complex estates as well as straightforward estates, dealing with all Probate and Inheritance Tax matters and tax affairs of the deceased for the period up to the date of death and also during the administration period. 

A probate lawyer can also advise beneficiaries on a Deed of Variation, an opportunity to vary their inheritance, 'generation skipping' for the protection of the beneficiary or his or her family against Inheritance Tax.

Our Lawyers are particularly experienced in dealing with all Probate and Inheritance Tax matters and tax affairs of the deceased for the period up to the date of death and also during the administration period.

Deed of Variation

If you have received an inheritance from an estate which you wish to redirect to another beneficiary then provided this is completed within two years of the date of death, then a Deed of Variation may be suitable in your circumstances. 

Usually, if you make a gift during your lifetime but die within seven years of the date of the gift then the value of the gift is added to your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes. By completing a Deed of Variation the gift is treated as a gift from the estate of the deceased and as a result may have tax advantages for both Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax purposes. If you are considering making a gift after receiving an inheritance, please contact our Private Client team as soon as possible for further advice.

Foreign Estates

Our Solicitors have the expertise to offer advice in respect of foreign assets and estates and are able to administer such estates including liaising with foreign lawyers and resealing Grants of Probate in England and Wales if necessary.

Estates may often include foreign assets which may complicate dealing with the administration of the estate but we are able to offer support and advice in dealing with the encashment, sale or transfer of assets in foreign jurisdictions.

Our Fees

Girlings’ Private Client department (please see our legal advisors’ profile pages for details of their experience and qualifications) is experienced in administering large or complex estates as well as straightforward estates.   

Please see below for details of our fees and related timescales for these matters.

PROBATE: Fees & Timescales

1.0 Fees

Where Girlings is instructed in administering an estate we will:

  • Step 1: Ascertain the assets and liabilities within the estate
  • Step 2: Prepare the required Inheritance Tax Return and arrange the settlement of any Inheritance Tax due
  • Step 3: Prepare the Oath for swearing by the Executor(s) or Administrator(s)
  • Step 4: Apply for and obtain the Grant of Probate
  • Step 5: Collect in assets and settle liabilities
  • Step 6: Prepare Estate Accounts
  • Step 7: Deal with the tax affairs of the estate relating to the period up until the date of death and the period of administration
  • Step 8: Arrange distributions to beneficiaries and the transfer of assets.

A number of disbursements/associated costs are likely to be incurred during estate administration:

  • Swear fee – where an Executor or Administrator is required to swear an Oath, a commissioner’s fee of £7 is likely to be incurred. 
  • Probate fee – the current probate fee payable to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service is £155.
  • Sealed copies of the Grant of Probate – 50p each.
  • Bankruptcy searches - £2 each.

As well as the above disbursements, if a legal advisor deals with the estate administration on behalf of an Executor or Administrator, legal fees will be incurred. 

Girlings’ fees in relation to estate administration are calculated on the basis of the time actually spent administering the estate in accordance with your instructions.  The Private Client department’s current hourly rates (exclusive of VAT which is currently 20%) are as follows:

Partners and Consultants

£260 – £275

Financial Services Advisers

£275

Solicitors

£200 - £260

Tax Advisor

£210

Paralegals

£150 - £210

Trainee Solicitors

£150 - £175

                                                                                                                                           

By way of an estimate, we usually find that our fees amount to approximately 2% to 3% of the gross value of the estate excluding VAT.  The gross value of the estate is the total value of all assets within the estate before the deduction of any debts and liabilities.  By way of an example, if an estate is worth £300,000, Girlings’ legal fees are likely to be in the region of £6,000 to £9,000 plus VAT. 

Where the gross value of an estate is in excess of £800,000, our fees are usually less than 2% to 3% of the gross value of the estate, albeit this will depend on the complexity of the matters that need to be dealt with.

Where further fees arise during estate administration, we will advise you immediately.

2.0 Timescales

The amount of time that is spent administering an estate depends on the assets and liabilities within the estate, the nature of any other matters that arise during estate administration and the extent of our instructions.

It is usually possible to complete steps 1, 2, 3 and 4, as outlined in 1.0 above, within three months of receiving instructions; this is subject to any delay by HM Revenue and Customs and other third parties.  Once the application for the Grant of Probate has been submitted, we ordinarily receive the Grant of Probate within 20 days.  The amount of time that it will take to collect in assets and settle liabilities depends entirely on the nature of the assets within the estate; we will be able to advise you in this regard as matters progress. 

We Work with You

Contact a member of our Private Client team or call into your local office today for further advice on securing your family's future.

Commitment Without Compromise