Wills, Tax and Estate Planning

private-clientsBird Belderbos & Mee offer a bespoke personal service, delivered only by experienced solicitors.

We are a young and dynamic firm. We have invested heavily in our people and our systems to give a modern and efficient service. Our clients are the most important part of our business and we are committed to investing time to understand your needs so we can provide the most appropriate legal advice and add value wherever possible.

Our clients include longstanding retained families and estates as well as private individuals who simply wish to keep their affairs in good order.

Victoria was very competent, concise and articulate – an absolute pleasure to get to know, too. We were in good hands!

Mr and Mrs Holdsworth of Gaddesby

We advise on the following fundamental private client needs:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Administration of Estates
  • Intestacy
  • Probate
  • Powers of Attorney

We also can help with asset protection and wealth planning, including in relation to inheritance tax and capital gains tax. The UK tax landscape is increasingly complex and the right planning can assist with mitigating unnecessary costs.

Please get in touch with Victoria Lee, our private client solicitor, to discuss your needs.

Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney

If you are considering making a Will, or simply wish to update your current one, please download our Will Review Questionnaire here which should prompt a thorough review of your estate.

If you are also interested in understanding more about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please download our information leaflet here.

Estate Administration and Grants of Probate

We can assist you throughout the entire process after a bereavement, by obtaining a Grant on your behalf and collecting and distributing the assets as necessary.

The costs involved in obtaining a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration will depend on the size and value of the estate and whether the Deceased left a Will or died intestate (without a Will). It will also depend on whether there is inheritance tax to pay.

Fixed Fee – £500 plus VAT

We charge a fixed fee for a specific service in relation to obtaining a Grant, where the value of the estate is under £325,000 (the nil rate band threshold). This includes a meeting to go through the Deceased’s estate, where we explain the process and check and advice on the various assets. You are responsible for corresponding with each financial institution to ascertain the date of death value of the Deceased’s estate. Once the information has been compiled, we will use the information to complete the IHT205 and draft the Oath, then arrange for you to sign and swear the Oath and send off for the Grant. You are responsible for dealing with the assets once the Grant is obtained.

Range of costs – £200 plus VAT per hour

The exact costs for administering an estate will depend on the circumstances and composition of the Deceased’s estate. In addition to the above tasks, we will liaise with all necessary institutions (banks, Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC, DVLA, life insurance companies, pension providers, shareholdings, private individuals, debtors etc) to generate a spreadsheet of the Deceased’s estate as at date of death. We will also contact beneficiaries and be responsible for establishing beneficiaries in an intestacy. We will then draft the necessary IHT forms and the Oath and apply for the Grant for you. Once the Grant is obtained, we will collect in all the assets, pay any outstanding debts, and distribute final value to the beneficiaries along with full estate accounts.

We can deal with adverts to creditors, liaising and engaging with accountants if a tax return is required, instruct advisors if the Will is contested, engage asset or beneficiary search professionals where necessary.

For example, if the estate comprises one property and one beneficiary, the costs will be much lower than if the estate contained multiple properties, various shareholdings, a number of bank accounts and several beneficiaries with some under the age of 18.

As a form of guidance, two examples are below:

Simple, uncontested estate

Mr A has passed away, leaving a Will which states that his wife is to inherit everything, with a small legacy to his daughter. He owns half of the house, some bank accounts and an investment portfolio with a large wealth management firm.

A Grant of Probate is required to transfer the funds in the bank accounts and the investment portfolio. There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC. The executors are able to undertake some of the administration themselves, such as notifying some of the relevant authorities and securing asset valuations.

Work for this type of straightforward estate would include:

  • An initial meeting to go through the estate;
  • Advice in writing about the estate, the Will, advice to the executors about their responsibilities, any issues and confirmation about division of labour between us and the executors;
  • Reviewing the Will to ascertain any issues;
  • Identifying the assets and liabilities of the estate and liaising with relevant authorities;
  • Placing a statutory advert to protect the executors against any unsecured creditors;
  • Drafting the IHT forms and Oath;
  • Reviewing the income tax position to date of death;
  • A meeting to go through the IHT forms, advise on the Oath;
  • Arranging for the signing and swearing of the Oath and submitting the probate application;
  • Obtaining the Grant of Probate and supplying copies;
  • Preparing forms and relevant paperwork to deal with transfer/sale/encashing of assets and distributing to beneficiaries;
  • Paying any liabilities;
  • Preparing estate accounts if necessary.

As a form of guidance, our estimated fees for this sort of straightforward estate, would range from £2,000 plus VAT to £4,000 plus VAT. It can take anywhere between six months to eighteen months to deal with an estate of this size.

Complex uncontested estate

Ms B dies without a Will. She never married and has no children. Her estate is worth six million pounds; comprised of several properties, bank accounts, shareholdings, farmland and shares in her own business. She made a substantial cash gift in the year before she died to a friend.

Work for this type of complex estate would include all the work we would undertake for the above straightforward estate and in addition:

  • Ascertaining who is responsible for the estate and who is best positioned to apply for the Grant of Letter of Administration;
  • Advising on the intestacy provisions and identifying the necessary beneficiaries;
  • Obtaining specialist property and farmland valuations;
  • Identifying the extent of any inheritance tax relief available for any estate assets (farmland or business shares);
  • Providing valuations for the bank accounts and shareholdings;
  • Securing the Deceased’s assets;
  • Completing a full account to HMRC and arranging for the payment of inheritance tax or arranging for payment by instalments if available;
  • Negotiating with HMRC where necessary in relation to the availability of reliefs;
  • Liaising with accountants to deal with the pre-death income tax position and estate income tax position;
  • Contacting and identifying each beneficiary, obtaining bank information, distributing funds and assisting with any tax concerns;
  • Assigning assets where necessary and dealing with any capital gains tax concerns;
  • Arranging for house clearance at the various properties;
  • Liaising with our property colleagues to deal with the sale of the properties where appropriate;
  • Distributing funds to a trust account if necessary, under the intestacy provisions.

As a form of guidance, our estimated fees for this sort of complex estate, would range from £8,000 plus VAT to £20,000 plus VAT. It can take anything from one to three years to deal with an estate of this size, depending on various factors (missing beneficiaries, inability to sell a property etc).

In addition to our fees, there can be the following disbursements payable in the course of an estate:

  • Probate application fee of £155;
  • £5/£7 cash fee for swearing the Oath (per executor);
  • Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per name);
  • Adverts in the London Gazette or Local Newspaper (variable, depending on location);
  • Travel fees if appropriate to deal with Deceased’s assets.

Probate administration work is always bespoke, and the best way to get a clear idea of estimated costs for an estate is to speak to our specialist solicitor, Victoria Lee. Please get in touch with Victoria to discuss your needs.

Please note that we do not advise on contested Wills or estates or claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

How can Victoria help?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.