Wills, probate and trusts - WHN Solicitors

We agree that assets are not necessarily the most important part of life, but they are something we leave behind and can often be a benefit to those who inherit them.

Although not pleasant to think about, if you become incapacitated or die, it’s important to ensure that you have adequately protected yourself, your loved ones, and your financial security.

How can we help?

At Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall, our expert asset planning solicitors will ensure you have done everything possible to safeguard for the future.

Working with a dedicated member of our team, you can rely on our specialist knowledge to provide practical, cost-effective solutions for all your asset planning needs.

Our service includes:

  • Writing wills and reviewing wills
  • Lasting powers of attorney
  • Court of Protection
  • Probate and estate administration
  • Inheritance tax planning
  • Trusts
  • Care home fees
  • Trust and estate management
  • Probate disputes
  • Estate and inheritance disputes
  • Financial services

We can tailor any of these services to your needs, ensuring that you’ve received the best possible advice that provides you and your family with peace of mind for the future.

Our prices and costs explained

Our Probate Department has many years of experience collectively in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to Wills and estate administration. In particular, the Department has particular expertise in high value estates and Inheritance Tax matters. The Department is made up of the following members:

Please refer to the individual biographies in respect of each member of our Department which sets out their experience and qualifications in relation to the administration of estates.

Woodcocks Haworth & Nuttall do not charge for an initial conversation about the estate of a deceased. This gives us an opportunity to discuss how we can help in relation to the administration of an estate and we can discuss with you what our likely costs are to be.

In terms of charges for handling the full process of administering an estate, we would always provide you with an estimate which sets out a minimum and maximum charge.

In terms of the administration of an estate which does not involve the payment of Inheritance Tax and does not require the submission of an Inheritance Tax Account and if the value of the estate does not exceed £300,000 gross, our fees are likely to be between £1,000 together with VAT of £200, amounting to £1,200 and £3,000 together with VAT of £600, amounting to £3,600.

There are various factors which affect this range which are as follows:

  • The size of the estate
  • The number of individual assets held and liabilities which need to be investigated
  • The number of executors and beneficiaries
  • The level and detail of information provided about the deceased and their assets.

Please note that the average estimate provided above is based on an average estate which is administered. We will provide, in relation to each estate, either a full specific quote or estimate which can always be obtained before we proceed to undertake any work.

There will be estates which do not fall within the standard average estate cost for which we would provide a bespoke estimate/quote. Estates which fall outside the average range are likely to apply to the following:

  • If Inheritance Tax is payable
  • The preparation of a full HMRC account in respect of the estate
  • Any investigation which has to take place of previous lifetime gifts made by the deceased
  • If it considered that significant time will need to be spent on the collection, securing, collation and sale of specific assets, including a property
  • The complexity of the assets held in the estate, for example if the deceased owned a business or if the deceased was a beneficiary of a life interest trust
  • If there are concerns about the validity of any Will
  • If there are disputes between beneficiaries on how the estate should be distributed
  • If there are potential claims pending against the estate for unreasonable financial provision
  • If there are issues identifying and locating beneficiaries
  • If the Will being administered has a degree of complexity, including whether or not there are any trusts involved in connection with the Will and whether or not there are any minor beneficiaries.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs relating to the administration of an estate that are payable to third parties, such as Probate Court fees. We will handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf and the following is a summary of the likely disbursements:

  • Probate Court fee – £155
  • Additional copies of the grant of representation – £0.50 each – one is usually needed to deal with each asset
  • Identification checks on the deceased, the executors and any beneficiary who inherits more than one-quarter of the estate – £3.50 together with VAT of £0.70 amounting to £4.20 each
  • Bankruptcy search against each beneficiary – £2 each
  • Valuation of assets, including property, jewellery/antiques and share valuations
  • Fees payable to trace any missing beneficiaries
  • Obtaining copy documents such as grants of probate and marriage certificates to claim any transferable Inheritance Tax allowances

Stages in Connection with the Administration of the Estate

In terms of administering an average estate, it can take about 2 to 6 months to obtain a Grant of Probate. Collecting the assets then follows the issuing of a Grant of Probate, followed by distribution.

Therefore, after a Grant of Probate has been issued, it is likely to take a further 1 to 3 months afterwards if the assets are all capable of being collected at that point.

In terms of an overall timescale, for the average estate it takes between 3 to 12 months to administer and often this depends on whether or not there is a property which has to be sold in an estate.

Work Involved

Once we have provided you with a quote or estimate, this will cover the following work:

  • Ascertaining the value of all the assets held in the estate, which includes the balances held in any bank or building society accounts, the value of any shares and other investments and any properties which are owned
  • Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries of the estate
  • Accurately identifying the type of probate application which will be required
  • Completing the relevant H M Revenue & Customs forms and if the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax, arranging for the payment of any tax to be made
  • Preparing the Oath papers for swearing by the personal representatives to enable us to submit an application to the Probate Registry to obtain the grant of representation, which is the formal authority to handle the assets and distribute the estate
  • Arranging to collect in the assets of the estate and paying any funeral expenses and other debts
  • The preparation of an estate account in respect of monies received and paid out on behalf of the estate for your approval, prior to distributing the estate
  • Answering any enquiries from the Department for Work & Pensions in the event of any benefits being received during the lifetime of the deceased
  • Finalising the Income Tax affairs of the deceased

Need expert advice? Let us help

To discuss any aspect of this area of law please contact:

  • Martin Heyes, Patrick Swanney and Tony Wilde at our Accrington office on 01254 236221
  • Holly Gethin at our Bury office on 0161 761 4611
  • Stephanie Mayall at our Great Harwood office on 01254 884253
  • Helen Law at our Blackburn office on 01254 272640
  • Stephen Parr, Berin Jones, and Catherine Hamilton at our Haslingden office on 01706 213356
  • June Higgins at our Bacup office on 01706 874487