Probate - the price is right?

With apologies to the American TV producers who originally coined this phrase for their gameshow and, like many things from the US imported to these shores, I thought that I would use their catchy title to look at fixed fee probate prices. Yes, I know, a rather random connection to make and while perhaps not as exciting as being called from the audience with a hope of winning fancy prizes, something that a lot of us will have to consider in our lifetimes as we lose loved ones and need to administer their estates.


Now a bit like the prizes on offer there is quite a lot of choice when it comes to fixed fees for any potential executor to consider. I therefore wanted to put together a quick blog on what our fixed fees actually include. We offer fixed fee services for what we call 'Grant only' applications. At the Law Hut we like to keep things simple so when we use the phrase 'Grant only' that is exactly what we mean. We will help you, as an executor, make the application for a Grant of Probate which would include completing all the necessary Inheritance Tax forms, ensuring that all the relevant allowances such as the Transferable Nil Rate Band were applied for and to complete the Probate Registry application on your behalf.


Our 'Grant only' fixed fee service allows you as the executor to keep any costs as low as possible whilst ensuring you have legal assistance for the complex stage of the probate process. We ask you to obtain the date of death valuations such as the balance of any bank accounts, the value of any investments and an Estate Agent's report on the value of the property at that date. Once you have all of this information to hand, to include the funeral invoice, any costs for the wake and any other liabilities, we can then deal with the next step in preparing the relevant documentation to make the application.


You may have read that there are ongoing issues with HMRC and the Probate Registry, particularly since the Probate Registry introduced its online system last year. By instructing a legal professional to deal with this aspect for you, we will be able to deal with any queries raised, chase up in the case of any delays and ensure the Grant is issued correctly meaning you do not have to deal with the stresses this process entails. When we obtain the Grant we provide these to you for you to then send off to the banks etc. to collect in the assets and distribute to the beneficiaries.


The Grant application can either take the form of the IHT205, meaning that it does not need to go to HMRC for approval, or the IHT400 which are the longer more complex set of forms and do require submission to HMRC in the first instance. Our fixed fee for the IHT205 Grant only service is £500 and £900 for the IHT400. There is a probate fee charged by the government which is currently £155 for professionals and £215 for private individuals.


The above is a brief overview of what our 'Grant only' service actually means, but we are on hand throughout the entire process and can assist you with other aspects if you wish. We find some clients start the process but then hand it over to us to complete, or would prefer for us to deal with everything for them as they focus on being with their families at such a difficult time. In these cases, we offer a free initial meeting to talk through the individual circumstances and we can then provide a guaranteed fixed fee quote so you know exactly what the costs will be from the start, with no hidden or unexpected charges coming later. Our costs are free of VAT which is another saving for the estate meaning that the beneficiaries receive more when the funds are distributed.


To arrange a free initial chat please contact us today on 01566 86556 or at info@thelawhut.co.uk



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