Wills, LPA & Probate
Making a Will or dealing with the affairs of someone who has died.
We can help you make a Will to set out what you want to happen when you die. If you own property, have children, live within someone but are not married, have a bank account …. It is critical that you have a Will in place. In fact, anyone with property or money to leave behind after their death should have a Will. We can help you.
When someone dies, there are arrangements that need to be made, paperwork that needs to be sorted out. Maybe a grant of probate is needed or a grant of administration if there is no Will. We can help.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. The LPA only lasts until your death and then your Will takes over.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’). There are 2 types of LPA:
- health and welfare
- property and financial affairs
You can choose to make one type or both.
You will come across some of these terms:
Executors these are the people who have the job of gathering in the assets of the Estate and distributing them.
Estate this is the name for all of the property and assets belonging to the deceased person
Administering the Estate/administration matters this is the name for the job of getting all the assets in, paying off any debts and dividing what is left as per the Will or if there is no Will, as the law says.
Grant of Probate this the document that proves that you can deal with the affairs of the deceased person order where there is a Will.
Letters of Administration this the document that proves that you can deal with the affairs of the deceased person order where there is no Will.
What do we do?
We can do as little or as much as you want.
We can offer a fixed fee service to handle getting the Grant of Probate and dealing with legal, tax, property and administration matters. You pay our fees and any disbursements from the Estate of the deceased person. We gather in the assets and pay what needs to be paid from there. If you only want us to do part of the work, we can do that too – for example if you need help in getting the Grant of Probate but will deal with sorting out the assets yourself, that is fine.
If we offer to work for you on a fixed fee basis, our fee will not change unless circumstances change or the information that we based the quote on turns out to be incorrect. In other words, if things are a lot more complicated than first thought, we may need to change the fixed fee to reflect that.
Administering the Estate
The cost of this depends on what the assets are in the Estate. The sort of things that need to be done are:
- Getting in money from bank accounts
- Redirecting mail and making sure all bills are paid
- Advertising for any unknown debts to come forward
- Considering tax which can be income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax
- If there is a property:
- Contacting the home insurance company if the property is empty
- Usually draining down the heating system if the property is empty
- Getting the property marketed and sold, so appointing and dealing with estate agents
- Getting an Energy Performance Certificate as part of the sale process
- Appointing a property lawyer to deal with the sale paperwork
- Clearing the property if there are items left that are not wanted
- Preparing the Estate Accounts to show what money there is, what has been paid out and then distributing the money as the deceased person wanted (if they left a Will) or as the law says (if they did not leave a Will).
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in the figures above but we can arrange and liaise with a property lawyer for you if you would like us to.
How long does it take?
On average, basic estates are dealt with within a year. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes around 16 to 20 weeks at least, due to delays at court. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between a further 16-20 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets. We generally recommend that you wait at least 6 months after the grant to allow for any claims against the Estate.
How much does it cost?
Click probate costs to download the price list for our services