Wills and Probate

Wills, Trusts and Probate

While you may think you have a life plan in place, it can be difficult to predict the legal needs and challenges that may arise in the future. If you have small children, you may be ready to create a will. As your parents grow older, they may need your help to manage their assets and care. It is extremely important to prepare for the unexpected by making a will.

We pride ourselves on the department’s high standards of thorough, professional will writing. We offer a personal, sensitive service and can deal with any size of estate. We can arrange lasting Powers of Attorney, can act either as sole or joint executor, prepare the grant application and the Revenue account, give advice on Inheritance Tax, find possible reliefs and advise beneficiaries and executors.

Our solicitors can deal with any size of estate and any estate matter, including:

  • Wills
  • Contested wills and probate
  • IHT planning
  • Probate and administration of estates
  • Powers of attorney
  • Guardianship of minor children
  • Court of protection
  • Care of older people

We will be by your side every step of the way, answering your questions and providing you with personalised service.

What is a Will?

A will is a document in which you set out your intentions for your money and property following your death. It can also include special funeral details.

Why make a will?

Making a Will can put your mind at rest. It ensures that your hard-earned assets are dealt with according to your wishes, rather than distributed according to the strict Rules of Intestacy set out by the Government.

If you die without making a will, you risk losing your estate to relatives who you may not wish to benefit from your passing. If no relatives can be traced, the estate would go to Her Majesty’s Treasury, which most people find unacceptable.

Making a will

We can prepare a will that suits your wishes. It can be as straightforward or as detailed as you require. In a will, you can:

  • Name the trusted relative, friend or solicitor whom you want to carry out your instructions (to act as Executor)
  • State who you want to care for your children (to act as Guardian)
  • Provide for your family on your terms
  • Leave treasured possessions to people you know would like to own them
  • Give money to charities, your place of worship or friends
  • Make provisions for an unmarried partner or give someone the right to live in your home after your death
  • Minimise possible liability to Inheritance Tax
  • State your funeral wishes for either burial or cremation

These things cannot happen if you do not prepare a Will.

Probate (administration of a deceased’s person’s Will)

One of the most difficult matters to deal with following the death of a loved one is sorting out their financial affairs. We offer a sensitive and professional service to families following a bereavement. We can:

  • Deal with funeral arrangements and the vacation of homes
  • Organise the reading of the Will
  • Deal with tax matters and prepare the necessary documents required by the Court
  • Locate lost beneficiaries
  • Prepare Estate accounts
  • Distribute assets according to the Will
  • Set up and manage any Trusts arising from the Will

Lasting Power of Attorney

Some people become physically or mentally unable to deal with their personal affairs. We can prepare a simple document that gives a trusted friend or family member the ability to assist.

We can also apply to the Court of Protection for an Order so you can manage the affairs of a friend/relative who is mentally incapable of doing so (to act as Deputy).

Other matters

We can also provide advice on:

  • Tax Planning
  • Trust Administration
  • Preparation of Living Wills
  • Changing the way you own your home with your partner to ensure the provision in your Will is effective.

Whether you want to draw up a new will or alter your existing one, we are happy to guide you through the process.
For assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Peter Sweetman on p.sweetman@sbs-law.co.uk or call 020 8840 2572.

Uncontested Probate Cases

Person Responsible Probate Work

Peter Sweetman is the senior partner of this firm and has been a solicitor for over 30 years. He has been in sole charge of ours Wills and Probate Department for over 10 years. He also probides a sensitive and sympathetic approach to bereaved clients while at the same time providing an efficient service in the various element of Probate. He is supervised by Jonathan Koffman who is also a Partner in this firm.

Procedure Invovled

  1. Estimate the value of the estate after all the bills are paid and identify any problems that there may be before the beneficiaries can be givem their entitlements.
  2. Assess the estate for any Inheritance Tax(IHt) due, if any. This has to be paid before we can obtain the Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry.
  3. Prepare the papers to apply for the Grant.
  4. Send copies of the Grant to Banks, Building Societies and other Authorities holding money and property.
  5. Collect in estate money.
  6. Deal with any outstanding liabilities.
  7. Prepare estate accounts.
  8. Distribute assets to the beneficiaries.

How long will it take

Unless the matter is unduly complicated it should be resolved in a period of between 6 and 9 months.

Our Charges

Our charges are normally based on the value of the estate but we are happy to agree a fixed fee once we are fully aware of what will be required in each case.

with reference to the “value element” the Law Society provides guidance on these matters and our firm follows that guidance unless it feels there is any reason for departing from it, this reflects the responsibility involved and the weight of the matter and is based on a percentage of the value of the assets, that is to say:-

Solicitor not an Executor

Gross estate excluding land 1%
Land ½%

 

Solicitor sole Executor or Joint Executor

Gross estate excluding land 1½%
Land ¾%

 

We will add VAT to our charges at the rate that applies when the work is done. At present the VAT is 20%

We set out below the other things you are likely to have to pay for:

Probate Court fees £155.00
Copies of grant of probate £5.00
Oath swear fees £7.00
Advert fee for London Gazette £94.80

 

The fees set out above do not include extra work incurred because there is a dispute between beneficiaries or a claim of some kind against the estate. These situations are luckily not common. In such a case we will give a quote for any extra work involved.