Responsibility for work
Mrs Sumita Pandya is a Partner and Head of Private Client. She will deal with the day to day running of your matters. If she is unavailable, please speak to her secretary who will take a message if she is unable to help you herself. Sumita is the head of our team and has over 20 years experience as a qualified solicitor in private client work, specialising in wills, probate, estate administration, and powers of attorney. She has helped thousands of families and individuals and has dealt with various complex estate matters, both high value work and with more modest estates. She qualified as a solicitor in 1997 after gaining her LLB (Hons) Law Degree. She completed her training contract at Preuveneers LLP and went on to work for various well-known firms in Wimbledon, Southampton and Petersfield. She joined Bradly Trimmer in 2008, becoming a Partner in 2009, and eventually Managing Partner in 2012.
How Can We Help
We understand what it means to lose someone, and that each Estate is unique. We offer a bespoke service, delivery support tailored to your individual needs at this difficult time.
- Full Estate Administration: we will deal with each aspect of the probate process so that you are not burdened with the responsibility;
- Executor’s Support Service: you can choose which parts of the process you want to carry out yourself and which parts you would like to handover to us;
- Grant Only Service: We apply for the Grant of Representation on your behalf, enabling you to do the rest of the work yourself; and
- Independent Administration: A service for Estates where those involved in administering an Estate feel that they can go no further with the process and require an independent administrator to be appointed to resolve any issue.
The Probate Process, Timeframes and Costs
Probate is the process involved in dealing with the property, money and possessions of a person who has died. Depending on the nature of the assets involved, it can be very complicated.
We have extensive experience of handling high net worth Estates involving complex tax issues. We take a proactive approach to dealing with the Probate Registry and HMRC and always endeavour to complete the probate process as swiftly as possible.
How long does the Probate and Estate Administration Take?
On average, Estates can take up to 9 to 24 months to administer, depending on whether there are any enquiries into the Inheritance Tax Account, and assuming third parties provide relevant information promptly. The first step is to obtain a Grant of Representation (commonly referred to a probate), which confirms that the personal representatives have the authority to administer the Estate of the deceased.
Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate can take up to 9 months from when we are instructed. Collecting assets then follows and can take a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks, if straightforward. If a property needs to be sold, it will take much longer as a purchaser must be found and the conveyancing transaction needs to complete.
Revenue clearances then have to be obtained which may take at least 3 to 4 months, after which the Estate can be distributed. The distribution is dependent on advice concerning claims which could be bought against the Estate, which might alter the date upon which the Executors can distribute the Estate.
How does any Inheritance Tax get paid?
If there is any inheritance tax (IHT) to pay, this is due to the HMRC 6 months after the end of the month of death. After that, interest is payable on any outstanding IHT. It is possible to pay IHT on certain types of assets, such as land and some business assets, in 10 equal annual instalments (or until the asset is sold, whichever is sooner). This can help with cashflow if an Estate is made up of largely illiquid assets.
Fees and Expenses
We do not charge for an initial 30-minute consultation where we advise in the administration process and outline the duties and powers of personal representatives.
Wherever possible we charge for this service on a fixed-charge basis which we agree with you at the outset prior to starting work on your behalf. These fixed charges will be provided to you following an initial meeting once we have gathered from you all the information that we consider relevant to being able to provide an agreed fixed charge. These fixed charges are paid from the Estate as a cost of the administration and as such are normally a cost borne by the residuary beneficiaries of the Estate.
Whether the estate is Simple, Medium or High complexity, all our work is carried out at the hourly rate of the fee earner dealing with the matter. The hourly rate charged is £250 plus VAT @ 20%. The work required in administering an estate can vary widely and there is no such thing as an ‘average’ estate. Our fees range from £1,500 plus VAT to £50,000 plus VAT depending on the circumstances.
Full Administration Service
What this Service Includes
As part of our fixed charges we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced solicitor or chartered legal executive to work on your matter
- If required, register the death and arrange the funeral to include liaising with funeral directors;
- Identify legally appointed Executors or administrators and beneficiaries;
- Advise you on the terms of the Will or where there is no Will on the intestacy provisions;
- Review the Estate papers and obtain valuations of the Estate assets and liabilities in the sole and joint names of the deceased;
- Verify and value shareholdings and obtaining professional valuations as required;
- If necessary, visit the deceased’s property, secure premises, take meter readings and comply with the insurer’s requirements;
- Check the tax position to date of death and prepare and submit all necessary returns to the date of death and for the administration period;
- Investigate any lifetime gifts made and any trusts in place and report to HMRC;
- Investigate, prepare and submit relevant application for the inheritance tax (IHT) allowances, such as the Transferable Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band, Residence Nil Rate Band, Transferable Residence Nil Rate Band;
- Prepare and submit HMRC Inheritance Tax Accounts with full supporting schedules and documentation;
- Complete the probate application and apply to the Probate Court on your behalf;
- Advise on funding and payment of inheritance tax in full or by instalments, interest rates and due dates for payment of tax;
- Register the Grant of Probate with the financial institutions;
- Collect or transfer assets and settle liabilities;
- Deal with payment of ongoing utilities and administration expenses;
- Advise you on protection of personal representatives and placing adverts for creditors in the London Gazette and local newspapers, and conduct Certainty searches as applicable;
- Liaise with HMRC and district valuers office as required to agree valuations and District Valuers;
- Report adjustments and obtain Inheritance Tax Clearance Certificate;
- Conduct bankruptcy searches for beneficiaries and deal with ID formalities to ensure compliance when dealing with distributions;
- Correspond with the beneficiaries regarding distributions of assets, payments of legacies and interim and final distributions;
- Prepare interim and full Estate Accounts; and
- Report to Executors and beneficiaries throughout the administration and provide beneficiaries with tax certificates as required.
On average, for estates with assets of less than £325,000 it will take 4-8 months to deal with the administration. In relation to estates that exceed this value and require a full Inheritance Tax Return and payment of Inheritance prior to the Grant of Representation being issued, it will often take between 6-24 months to deal with the administration. We would though stress that this is a guide only and is dependent on the number and extent of the assets involved and whether the estate is taxable.
How Much Does this Service Cost
The level of the fixed fee is dependant on the nature and extent of the Estate and whether or not there is a Will. One of the main factors in determining the charges will be whether the Estate is subject to inheritance tax and the exemptions available with regards to inheritance tax that can be claimed by the Executors. We have included below the assumptions that the above price range is based on:
Breakdown of Costs
Fixed Legal Charges: £4,500 to £50,000
VAT on fixed legal charges @ 20% – £900 to £10,000
There will also be certain additional expenses known as disbursements payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smooth a process as follows:
- Probate application fee of £273 plus £1.50 for each additional sealed copy of the Grant. Please note that probate fees are subject to change and we will advise you at the time of applying.
- Bankruptcy searches against the names of the beneficiaries of the Estate to be carried out in accordance with anti-money laundering regulations incurring a charge of £2 per beneficiary.
- Notices for creditors in the London Gazette cost between £70 to £100.
- Potential additional costs – if there is no Will or the Estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the Estate and how it is to be dealt with.
The above indication of charges are based on various assumptions which must include:
- The deceased only owned assets in England and Wales only;
- The deceased was domiciled in England for inheritance tax purposes;
- The deceased’s Estate has a net value for inheritance tax purposes of less than £3 million;
- If the Estate is subject to inheritance tax, there is sufficient directly accessible assets in the Estate or available from beneficiaries to fund any inheritance tax payable prior to obtaining the Grant and a loan is not being applied for;
- There are no claims against the Estate by relatives, creditors or other, no disputes over the validity of any Will and there are no caveats lodged at the Probate Court; and
- The personal representatives provide us with all relevant paperwork and information for the applications for inheritance tax allowances at or shortly following the initial meeting
Note – Conveyancing work:
Please note that the fees in relation to an administration of an estate do not include any work in respect of conveyancing that is required on the sale or transfer of a property. Our Property Department can provide quotations for such work if required, and we would be very happy to liaise with them on your behalf if you wish.
Obtaining a Grant of Representation
We can help you begin to navigate the process of administering the estate of someone who has died, by obtaining the Grant of Representation on your behalf. This will enable the personal representatives to administer the assets of the deceased and distribute those to the beneficiaries, either under the Will or, if there was no Will in accordance with the intestacy rules.We can help you begin to navigate the process of administering the estate by obtaining the Grant of Representation on your behalf.
We charge for this service on a fixed charge basis, which we agree with you at the outset prior to starting work on your behalf. These fixed charges will be provided to you following an initial meeting at no charge to you once we have gathered from you all the information we consider relevant to being able to provide an agreed fixed charge. These fixed charges are paid from the estate as a cost of the administration and as such are normally a cost borne by the residuary beneficiaries of the estate.
What this service includes
As part of our fixed charges we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor or chartered legal executive to work on your matter;
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators, and the beneficiaries;
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require;
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application;
- Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms;
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf; and
- Obtain the Probate and securely send the agreed number of sealed copies to you.
On average, for estates with assets of less than £325,000 it will take two months to be in a position to apply for the Grant of Representation. In relation to estates that exceed this value and require a full Inheritance Tax Return and payment of Inheritance prior to the Grant of Representation being issued, it will often take between 16 and 20 weeks to obtain the Grant of Representation, subject to the Probate Registry’s turnaround times.
How much does this service cost?
Our fixed costs usually range from £1,500 to £9,000 plus VAT @20%, and disbursements – this is dependent on the nature of the estate (type, and number assets) and whether the estate is testate (there is a Will) or intestate (no Will). The main factor in determining the charges will be whether the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax and the exemptions available with regards Inheritance Tax that are to be claimed by the Executors. We have included below the assumptions that the above price range is based on:
Breakdown of costs:
Fixed Legal Charges: £1,500 to £9,000
VAT on Fixed Legal Charge @ 20%: £300 to £1,400
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Probate Court fee: £273.00 (No VAT payable)
Additional copies of the Grant: £1.50 (no VAT payable) each based on number of assets to be administered.
The above indication of charges are based on various assumptions which include:
- The deceased only owned assets in England and Wales;
- The deceased was domiciled in England for Inheritance Tax purposes;
- The deceased’s estate has a net value for Inheritance Tax purposes of less than £3,000,000;
- If the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax, there are sufficient directly accessible assets in the estate or available from beneficiaries to fund any Inheritance Tax payable prior to obtaining the Grant and a loan is not being applied for;
- There are no claims against the estate by relatives, creditors or others, no disputes over the validity of any Will and there are no caveats lodged at the Probate Court;
- The personal representatives provide us with:
- Valuations required by HMRC with regards to all assets and liabilities of the deceased and this applies to assets held in the deceased’s sole name or jointly with others and would, for example, include:
- Verifying shareholdings with the company registrars and providing professional valuations of such shareholdings;
- Professional valuations of any property;
- Professional valuations of personal chattels (for example, jewellery, house contents and any motor car).
- Providing full details of any lifetime gifts made and any trusts set up by deceased;
- Providing details of any spouse who has predeceased and their estate;
- Providing information about any previous main residences owned by the deceased following July 2015, if no main residence owned at date of death.
What next ?
If you would like to speak to somebody about our Probate services, please contact Sumita Pandya.