Estate Administration Solicitors
In Bognor Regis, West Sussex
The probate and the estate administration of your loved one’s will can be a complicated and daunting process, especially when it needs to be completed during a difficult and emotional time.
Main Key Stage (after registration of death)
- Establish if Will or Intestacy?
- Gain details of all assets and liabilities
- Complete IHT Forms
- Apply for Grant (or variant)
- Gather Estate
- Complete Estate Accounts
- Distribute Estate
This is the basic outline of an estate process; our guide below offers a slightly more in-depth breakdown. Our team of trusted and experienced probate lawyers are available to help you through the entire procedure, explaining confusing legal jargon, and giving you clarity and reassurance when you need it most.
But we can help with as much or as little of the probate process as you wish. It may be that you just need a little help coping with one particular asset or help in more detail, allowing you to administer the estate to the beneficiaries yourself. Or you might need us to handle the entire process for you.
- Contact the Doctor or hospital to report the death and obtain the medical certificate for the cause of death, providing the coroner is not involved.
- Contact the funeral director to start making arrangements for the funeral.
- Locate the Will.
- Register the death.
- Obtain copies of the death certificate.
- Secure the deceased’s assets and property if it will be left unoccupied.
- Find and read the will, if there is one, and confirm its validity.
- Contact the personal representatives if they have been named in the Will or, if there are no personal representatives, determine who is entitled to administer the estate.
- Find all documents relating to the deceased’s life, both financial and otherwise.
- Register the death with asset and liability holders.
- Open a bank account on behalf of the estate.
- Contact the personal application department of the Probate Registry and ask them to send you all the relevant forms.
- Fill in the appropriate forms and send them back to the Probate Registry along with the original will and the deceased ‘s death certificate.
- Complete the IHT400 if the estate is subject to inheritance tax, if it is worth more than £325,000 or if certain circumstances apply, such as foreign assets valued over £100,000.
- Arrange funds to pay inheritance Tax and the probate fees.
- Attend the interview at the Probate Registry when requested to do so and confirm the statement of truth.
- Receive the grant.
- Place the statutory advertisement for creditors and claimants.
- Send a copy of the grant to all asset holders and request payment of all funds.
- Pay all creditors.
- Complete stock and share transfer forms and draft an assent for the property.
- Once the accounts have been approved by the personal representatives, pay all beneficiaries and distribute all legacies.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, other complications can involve rentals, unknown assets, unknown liabilities and in that regards, we can advise and assist.
We can gather any information needed, complete forms, obtain the Grant of Probate, and gather in and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries on your behalf. Whatever you decide and whatever you need, we are here to help.
We have made our Probate & Estate Administration fee structure as simple as possible. We can either work at an hourly rate of £230* plus VAT, or we can agree with you a full estate administration service at a fixed fee, which in most cases will be between 0.5% and 3% of the value of the estate. Our Grant only packages start from £495 plus VAT
We will provide you with an estimate of our fees should you wish to complete the matter on our hourly rate.
Any disbursements will be outlined at the start of the matter and will incur VAT. The amount and description of expenses and disbursements may vary from matter to matter but will typically include:
- £155 – Probate Registry Fee
- £1.50p – per sealed office copy of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
- £200 (estimate) plus VAT – Section 27 Notice to Creditors
- £200 (estimate) plus VAT - Asset Search
- £90 Certainty Will Search (estimate) plus VAT; this performs a National Will Register search. It also includes a REACH search which contacts solicitors closest to the deceased’s last known address and places they may have made their Will. If a Will cannot be located, it places a missing Will notification on the Certainty Will Register
If property needs to be transferred or sold please see our conveyancing page and fees for a further breakdown of our fees.
Usually, we are instructed to deal with the matter from the very start until conclusion and at the outset we will do our upmost to ensure you are given an accurate quote for our involvement in the matter, we will of course keep you regularly updated with the process and confirm costs at every stage.
Should you wish for us to obtain the grant only, i.e., complete steps 5 - 7 only, we can provide you with a list of what to do, (we call our to-do list), once you provide us with the information requested, we will complete the tax forms, pay the tax due (from the deceased estate) and then obtain the Grant. We will then return this to you to finalise the estate.
*Our Probate and Estate Administration is completed by Mr Mark Riley our Managing Partner. Mark was admitted to the roll of solicitors in August 2008. Mark is our senior director here at MJR Solicitors working closely with all members of MJR Solicitors.
Possible timescales – Sadly, this is b far the hardest to calculate, once we have the correct information to apply for Probate this can be as little as two weeks from sending the application, however, Covid restrictions has meant this can now be around twelve weeks from application. We always aim to administer estates as timely as possible and estimate an average of three-six months as being the usual to expect but larger complex matters may take longer.
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What are the searches?
The executors or administrators have certain responsibilities, and they can be held personally liable for mistakes during the process.
Therefore, we would always suggest (even when you are confident there is no other Will) to complete a search.
You need to be sure the Will you are using is the final Will and testament and there are no others, otherwise the beneficiaries who have missed out will come to you for answers.
We, together with the Law Society recommend Certainty, the National Will Register to conduct a search.
If a beneficiary comes forward later, you can show proof you acted diligently and reasonable in your endeavours to act on behalf of the estate.
What Does a Certainty Will Search Do?
Certainty searches for Wills – They will contact various providers throughout the areas you request to check whether a will has been written. You provide them with areas in which they may have lived, worked, or had any connection.
Certainty Will Search accesses around 5 million registered Wills and searches with writers who may not be registered with Certainty.
What is an Asset Search?
Here at MJR Solicitors we use Landmark’s Financial Asset Search (FAS). This is an “online” financial asset tracking system. This service has been designed to assist executors to ensure that they can attempt to trace assets, including those otherwise lost or forgotten over the course of that individual’s lifetime, and are ultimately distributed to the correct beneficiaries.
What does a Landmark FAS search involve?
Landmark FAS searches for the following key components:
- Personal Pensions
- Life Policies
- Occupational Pensions via DWP (230,000 registered schemes)
- Unit Trusts & Investment Trusts
- Investment Bonds
- National Savings & Investments
- Building Society & Bank – Dormant Accounts
- Shares registered with Capita & Computershare.
- Wills registered with the National Wills Register
Section 27 Trustee Act Notices
Importantly, a section 27 Trustee Act Notice fully indemnifies the personal representatives against any claim!
We always recommend this notice, even if you acted as the deceased power of attorney and are fully confident you know the estate and all liabilities this stops any comeback on you later for something which you could not reasonably have been expected to know.
The notice is placed the London Gazette and the local newspaper area of the deceased. The notice will ask any potential claimants to come forward in a 2-month window! After that time, if they have not come forward, you are protected. Phew! However, if the debt was one that you should have reasonably been aware of, this notice is for the unknown debtors.
For your legal needs
We provide a unique and personal service by delivering the highest quality legal services and advice in a down to earth manner.
As your solicitors we will be at your side throughout your case, we will listen to you with care and understanding, and give you clear expert advice based on over 35 years’ experience in wills, probate and family law.
So, you can have complete confidence that you are receiving the best legal advice to achieve the best outcome in your case.