Geldards and Probate and estate administration
Geldards Private Client team has many years of collective experience in helping individuals and families at a time of bereavement and dealing effectively and empathetically with
all matters relating to wills and estate administration and inheritance tax. We tailor our services to meet your requirements. Rather than a call-centre approach, we have individual team members dedicated to your matter and who will work closely with you and keep you updated as the estate administration progresses. As well as providing an efficient service for straightforward estates, our specialist team regularly deals with high value and complex matters.
If you are a lay executor, the cost of having professional help with the estate administration process is usually payable from the estate and can save you a lot of time as well as providing you and the beneficiaries with peace of mind. Having expert input early on means any potential issues can be spotted and addressed in an appropriate way and all relevant tax allowances claimed to offset inheritance tax. There may even be scope for onward estate planning by rearranging an inheritance with a deed of variation within two years of the death of the deceased, to save significant tax now or in the long run.
Description of the service
We have set out below our pricing structure in relation to applying for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and the collection and distribution of assets belonging to a person following their death, where these are within the UK and the matters are not contested. The fee estimate detailed below is for the work involved in dealing with an estate administration from start to finish. This estimate is for a straightforward estate where:
- There is a valid will
- The extent and nature of the deceased’s assets and liabilities are apparent from the paperwork available
- There is no more than one property (and the property is not being sold as part of the estate administration)
- There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are no assets held outside of the UK
- There are 1-4 beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- The estate value is within the general nil-rate band amount of £325,000, there is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
- No formal income or capital gains tax return is required for the estate administration period
- There are no claims made against the estate
We anticipate the work involved in these circumstances will take between 14 – 18 hours work, which would be carried out in accordance with the estimated timeframes mentioned below, with overall fees between £2,750 (plus £550 VAT) – £5,000 (plus £1,000 VAT). VAT is currently chargeable at 20%. Please see the ‘Basis of our charges’ section below for further details.
Disbursements or other costs that can be expected
Disbursements are costs relating to your matter which are payable to third parties. In relation to a straightforward probate matter, typically these will be:
- Probate application fee of £155 plus £1.50 for each additional court sealed copy of the Grant required (usually one per asset).
- Swearing of the oath (£7 per executor)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
- Trustee Act Notices in the London Gazette and the Local Newspaper – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors (in the region of £250).
We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. The disbursements are then added to the firm’s invoice and are payable from the estate.
Providing you with a specific cost estimate for your matter
The exact amount of our fees and disbursements will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property our fees will be at the lower end of the range (or maybe less than this if you only wish us to help you with part of the process). If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, our fees will be higher than the range indicated.
Circumstances in which there are likely to be additional costs include:
- If there is no will;
- If the estate includes any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) which need to be dealt with;
- If there is an unoccupied property (in respect of which particular insurance arrangements will be required);
- If it is relevant to make a claim for transferable nil rate band or residence nil rate band to offset the value of the estate to reduce or eliminate inheritance tax;
- If it is relevant to complete and submit a full inheritance tax return;
- If a formal income and/or capital gains tax return needs to be submitted to HMRC;
- If we are dealing with the sale or transfer of a property in the estate;
- If the deceased had business or farm assets;
- If there is an ongoing trust established by the Will.
We will be able to give you a specific estimate once we have more information about the estate.
Basis of our charges
We charge by reference to the amount of time taken to undertake the work needed at the relevant hourly rates of the team members involved (see below). We do not charge by reference to the value of the estate. As a broad guide, in our experience, our fees exclusive of VAT do not tend to exceed 3% of the gross value of an estate (this is only a very broad rule of thumb as some estates may be high in value but relatively simple to administer, conversely some estates may be quite complex to administer, because of the number of accounts and other assets or because of the number of beneficiaries, even though the overall value involved is relatively modest).
Relevant hourly rates range in accordance with the following:
- Midlands – between £130 (plus VAT £26) – £300 (plus VAT £60)
- Cardiff – between £130 (plus VAT £26) – £300 (plus VAT £60)
The lowest and highest ends of the range relate to legal assistants and partners respectively and the hourly rate applicable to your matter will depend upon who in the team is appointed on your behalf. Please see ‘Team Profiles’ section for further details.
A specific estimate will be provided to you following on from an initial meeting or discussion with you, to find out more from you about the estate and circumstances and your
requirements. We will then send you details of engagement setting out the scope of the work you have asked us to carry out and the estimate of our fees, and the circumstances in which our estimate may change, to confirm our instructions with you.
Fixed Fee options
We may be able to offer fixed fee options depending on the circumstances and your requirements, (particularly if you are asking us to help you with a part of the estate administration process rather than all of it).
How long will the process take?
On average, the process of administering a straightforward estate within the parameters described above will take 6 months. This includes making enquiries to find out the date of death, the value of assets and liabilities in the estate, preparing the paperwork to apply for the Grant to allow the estate to be administered and waiting for the Probate Registry to issue this (typically 4 weeks from submission of the application), placing any statutory notices required, collecting in the assets and settling the liabilities of the estate, preparing estate accounts for approval by executors and main beneficiaries, making an informal settlement of any income tax arising on interest accruing during the estate administration and arranging distributions in accordance with the Will.
If the estate is more complex and particularly if inheritance tax is payable in the estate, the process will typically take between 9-18 months including taking into account waiting time for HMRC tax clearance.
Claire Johnson, Partner
T: +44 (0)029 2039 1728
Claire qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and is a wills, trusts and estate specialist with over 21 years’ experience. She helps individuals, families and business owners with effective strategies to address their succession and wealth preservation worries and goals, making the most of opportunities to save inheritance tax and providing real peace of mind. A graduate of Exeter University, Claire trained as a solicitor with a London firm and spent 6 years working as a tax consultant with KPMG before returning to Wales. Prior to joining Geldards as a partner in 2013 she developed and led the private client offering at 2 other prominent Welsh law firms. Claire advises clients across Wales particularly in relation to tax planning and asset protection through appropriate wills, trusts and lifetime gifts, also dealing with the administration of complex and high-value trusts and estates including those where there is a dispute and the legal issues affecting those in later life and those who lack capacity. As one of the partners heading up Geldards’ Private Client team, Claire considers it a privilege that she and the team act in many cases for different generations of the same families and are very much focused on building lasting relationships with their clients.
Erica Thomson, Partner
T: +44 (0)115 983 3745
Erica qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and is an experienced private client lawyer with over 15 years’ experience. She provides solutions for high net worth individuals including wealth preservation, later life planning and succession planning for individuals and business owners. Erica advises clients across the East Midlands on a full range of issues pertinent to their personal legal requirements including; wills, trusts, lifetime gifts and deeds along with the administration of complex estates and trusts.
Jaclyn Barnes, Partner
T: +44 (0)115 983 3747
Jackie is a Partner in Geldards’ Private Client team, advising clients on wills, tax and estate planning, estate administration, trust administration and court of protection matters. Jackie qualified as a solicitor in 2005 before joining Geldards the following year, having graduated from the University of Warwick in 2002. Jackie became a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in 2008. Clients are often referred to Jackie by other professional advisers with whom she works to provide a joined-up approach to the client’s personal planning.
David Williams, Partner
T: +44 (0)115 983 3757
David qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has approaching thirty years’ experience in advising families and family businesses in wealth protection and succession planning. Having qualified as a lawyer, David ran a property development business and subsequently became general manager of a large building society. All that experience is put to good use in counselling clients in a strategic, common sense and thoughtful manner. One of David’s greatest skills is the ability to listen to clients and to get to the heart of what they are trying to achieve. David works with our large private client team, encompassing wills, trust, tax, family and property expertise to ensure that our clients receive a service that responds to all of their needs.
Anne Taylor, Senior Associate
T: +44 (0)29 2039 1779
Anne qualified as a solicitor in 2008 and specialises in estate planning, estate administration, contentious and non-contentious Court of Protection work, mental capacity work and providing advice on compensation protection. She advises court of protection deputies and attorneys, as well as providing personal planning advice for clients. Anne also works closely with the firm’s clinical negligence team in order to advise clients on compensation protection and court of protection issues. Anne studied at Swansea and Cardiff universities and trained at another Cardiff firm. She joined Geldards in 2011.
Gillian Crouch, Senior Associate
T: +44 (0)29 2038 6547
Gillian qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2007 and joined the private client team in August 2013. Gillian advises on all areas of private client work including, preparing wills, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications to appoint a Deputy, removal/replacement of Deputies, the appointment of Trustees for Sale, statutory will applications. Gillian also deals with general management on behalf of Deputies and attorneys, full administration of estates and compensation protection via personal injury trusts.
Laura Ikin, Associate
T: +44 (0)29 2039 1862
Laura qualified as a solicitor in 2012 and specialises in providing advice in relation to Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, trusts and tax and estate planning. She advises clients who wish to plan for later life to ensure their assets are passed on in accordance with their wishes, which can include the preparation of Wills, lifetime trust arrangements and Lasting Powers of Attorney along with providing Inheritance Tax advice. Laura has also advised many business owners on their estate planning, making sure their businesses are being passed on after their days in the most tax-efficient manner whilst taking into account provision for their families. Laura also regularly works in collaboration with financial advisers or accountants to provide a comprehensive and ‘joined up’ approach to client’s estate planning needs. Laura’s favourite part of her role is getting to know her clients and she prides herself on being able to make every client feel comfortable and at ease in discussing what can be complex or sensitive issues.
Zoe Lowe, Associate
T: +44 (0)29 2039 1869
Zoe works with the Private Client team in Cardiff, specialising in the administration of trusts and estates. A post-graduate of Cardiff University, Zoe joined Geldards in July 2017. Zoe worked as a paralegal before completing a training contract and qualifying as a solicitor in 2016.
Dervla Flynn, Associate
T: +44 (0)1332 378 324
Dervla is an experienced private client lawyer providing expert advice on Inheritance Tax Planning, Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection matters. A graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, Dervla is not only qualified to practise as a solicitor in England and Wales, but also in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. She has therefore gained a wealth of specialist and invaluable experience on cross border matters.
Hannah Jean, Associate
T: +44 (0)29 20320386525
Hannah is able to undertake all aspects of private client work, including Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, tax and trust and estate administration. Hannah has particular expertise in estate administration and is used to having to work alongside other professionals such as accountants and surveyors to ensure more complex estates are administered as efficiently as possible.
Esther Trevelyan, Chartered Legal Executive
T: +44 (0)29 2039 1892
Esther is a Swansea Law graduate having joined Geldards in 2015 and is currently in the process of completing her CILEX portfolio in order to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive. Esther specialises in the administration of trusts and estates, Court of Protection work including Deputyship applications and providing day to day advice and assistance to lay Executors and Deputies and guiding them through the process. Esther also has experience with Statutory Will and appointment of Trustee applications, Compensation Protection Trusts, Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Esther prides herself on being a huge support for clients who are often going through difficult times.
Bianca Gregory, Paralegal
T: +44 (0)1332 378 371
Bianca works in our Private Client team in the Midlands, specialising in Estate Administration. Bianca has over 10 years of experience in Private Client and is a post-graduate of Derby University. Bianca is currently completing her CILEX qualifications and will shortly be qualifying as a Private Client Chartered Legal Executive.
Clare Bush, Legal Assistant
T: +44 (0)115 983 3658
Clare specialises in the administration of estates and has over 15 years’ experience of working in the Private Client Department.
Supervision and quality statement
We are committed to providing a reliable, effective and expert service to all clients and are certified under the ISO 9001 Quality Management System.
There are 14 members of the team who may work on your matter depending on your location. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Erica Thomson and Jaclyn Barnes, Partners and Head of Probate and Estate Administration in the Midlands and Claire Johnson, Partner and Head of Probate and Estate Administration in Cardiff.