Frequently Asked Questions

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How can we help?

Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Estate Administration and Inheritance Tax can all be rather complicated. We are here to help and guide you through what can be an extremely stressful time in your life.

Take a look through some of the questions and answers we have collated below. If your question is not answered then please use our Enquiry form to send us your question and our team will do their utmost to answer you.

Wills

No, we never appoint ourselves as your executors without your strict instructions to do so. We understand that there has been a lot of publicity recently about Will writers, solicitors and banks charging extortionate fees for being executors and refusing to step down, when requested to do so by other executors or beneficiaries. We do not do this.
We aim to have a final draft Will with you within two weeks. We will be with you to witness your signature on the Will to ensure that it is executed correctly and the Will is valid. If there is a reason that you require a Will urgently, then please contact us and we will do all we can to have a Will ready for you quickly.
We will store your Will and other legal documents for a small charge of just £12.00 a year plus VAT (or £15 for all documents).  Our storage facility is safe and secure, with state of the art fire alarms and sprinklers.  Your documents are kept in watertight folders and can be accessed at anytime.

We provide you with a copy of the documents to leave in your files, or to give to your executors, that informs them where the Will is kept.  This means that no one can get hold of your Will to either destroy it, tamper with it, or accidentally loose it whilst tidying up.

Probate

We aim to finish cases within four months. However, we have to rely on the efficiency of the courts and the banks to achieve this goal. We fully understand that the sooner probate is finished the easier it becomes for those who are grieving for loved ones.
We base our fees on the length of time that we anticipate it will take to complete the estate, not on the size of the estate. Our fee is fixed, so you can contact us as little or as much as you need to, and we won’t charge you extra for it.
Our standard practice is to charge the Estate after the executors have signed the closing accounts.  Providing all parties agree these accounts, we will send out cheques to beneficiaries and, at the same time, write a cheque to settle our invoice. If there is a property to sell, or the Estate is going to take longer than four months to complete, we may have latitude to pay interim payments to the beneficiaries.
Most solicitors charge between £250 to £350 per hour to work on probate cases. The closer you get to London the more these rates increase. Some solicitors also charge a percentage of the Estate – typically 0.75% to 1.5% – which is within the Law Society’s guidelines. This means on an Estate of £325,000, they would charge £2,500 before they start work. Solicitors also deal with all aspects of law, and can often get bogged down in other work. We deal only in these three aspects – Probate, Wills and Powers of Attorney, so we are more focused and efficient at completing cases. As we have provided you with a fixed fee, it is our aim to complete a case within the timeframe we have allotted for it.
Yes you can. Providing your solicitor has not started work on the case, you can quite legitimately ask him or her to stand down as the executor. We have one simple document that he/she signs, to hand the case over to us.

The same process applies if the deceased person had instructed a bank to sort out their financial affairs in which caseit is even more important to shop around for quotes. We have had cases where the bank charges have been four times as great as ours would have been.

Don’t worry. We are quite used to being given bin-liners full of all sorts of papers, forms and documents! We can sort through bags and boxes of papers for you and we will retrieve the vital pieces of paper required. If you need us to come to the house we can also do that.
Yes, you can. However, it is a complex legal process and the amount of paperwork as well as administration can be very time consuming. Even if you feel you are well acquainted with the Estate and the assets involved, and are confident you could manage the communications with all the banks, investment houses and life insurance companies, you still may not feel knowledgeable enough to complete the Inheritance Tax calculations.  The probate form PA1 must be completed accurately and it is important to remember that the executor of the Will is personally liable for any errors or fraudulence.
Probate is required on all estates valued over around £15,000, or one that holds stocks and shares, land or insurance policies in their portfolio. If all the assets are to be given to the remaining spouse through the Will, or if everything was held jointly with the spouse, then a Grant of Probate may not be needed.

If you are unsure as to whether probate is required, please contact us. We can let you know if you are able to avoid the probate process and inform you of what administration will be required in its place.

We are quite used to dealing with Estates where the deceased person has not left a valid Will.  We would collect the relevant information, in much the same way as if there was a Will, but at court we will apply for Letters of Administration instead of a Grant of Probate.  The Estate is then distributed according to the Laws of Intestacy. Please contact us and we can give you a quote for the cost of administering the Estate, which you will find is significantly lower than your local solicitor.
This is a term to cover both Grants of Probate and Grants of Letters of Administration.  They are issued by the courts and few financial institution will release monies for the beneficiaries without one.
Yes, you can. Mediation should always be the first approach to try and reach a compromise without the expensive costs of litigation. We do have close links with a leading solicitors firm which specialises in contentious probate claims, should mediation fail to reach an agreeable solution.  We would be pleased to introduce them to you to talk through the possibilities and realistic expectations of making a claim against an estate.

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