Probate, Wills and Trusts
Our Private Client Department combines a wealth of experience in dealing with Probate and the administration of Estates; from straightforward standard Estates, to high net worth and complex Estates, where expertise, judgement and efficiency are paramount.
Our Private Client Department consists of:-
Roger Stephens – Senior Partner
Roger is an expert in the preparation of wills and the administration of estates. His Cornish roots and work with people of all ages and backgrounds within his own local area has built an intensely loyal following and a reputation that is to be envied. With more than 40 years of experience in his field, his specialities include advising on inheritance tax and tax mitigation.
William Richards – Partner and Head of Hine Downing’s Private Client Department
William has a wealth of experience and expertise in the management and distribution of deceased clients’ estates and the preparation of wills. He also specialises in the protection of vulnerable elderly clients through the creation and supervision of lasting powers of attorney. William is often appointed by the Court of Protection as a Deputy for clients who have lost mental capacity. He acts as an Attorney for many people and is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly.
Anthony Deacon – Partner
Anthony is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – expert in will and trust drafting, estate and trust administration and accounting. He holds personal finance qualifications and his wide-ranging commercial experience includes a decade as MD of Hine Downing Financial Services, board membership of Hawksmoor Investment Management and governance in the not-for-profit sector.
Luke Roberts – Partner
Luke specialises in Probate and Wills, Tax and Trusts and the administration of estates. He advises on a wide range of issues tax planning and those affecting elder clients including lasting powers of attorney, welfare benefits and long term care issues. He also works with small businesses and the farming community.
Sarah Bourguignon – Chartered Legal Executive
Sarah has 25 years’ experience in Private Client work and handles estates and wills – specialising in work with elder clients. She advises on a range of issues including lasting powers of attorney, welfare benefits and long term care issues.
Victoria Sleeman – Solicitor
Victoria’s private client work ranges from the preparation of Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, to the administration of deceased clients’ estates and Inheritance Tax planning. She specialises in sensitive issues concerning people’s loss of mental capacity, involving applications to the Court of Protection.
Autumn Trebilcock – Solicitor and Notary Public
Autumn specialises in all aspects of Private Client work and advises on a broad range of matters including Wills, Probate, administration of Estates, trusts, tax, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications. Given the sensitive nature of this field of law, Autumn’s attention to detail, friendly demeanour, discretion and empathy is gaining her a loyal client following.
Teresa Andrew – Chartered Legal Executive
Teresa joined Hine Downing in 2017 and is an experienced member of our Private Clients team. Having previously worked across Cornwall in this area of law, Teresa brings a wealth of experience to our team. She specialises in the preparation of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection applications and the administration of Probate estates to include both taxable and non-taxable estates. Teresa also advises on tax planning.
Louise Brown – Legal Executive
With a strong background both in education and in the commercial sector, Louise joined Hine Downing looking for fresh challenges and a career change. Her abilities and aptitude were quickly recognised and Louise has become another member of the team to be trained in-house and supported in the progression of her legal career. Louise works as part of our Private Client team specialising in the drafting of Wills, the administration of Estates and the preparation of Powers of Attorney.
The skills of our probate team are recognised not only within Cornwall, but also nationally and internationally. We have one of the largest departments of its kind in the area and our expertise is increasingly sought by overseas firms; we pride ourselves in making what is a daunting and sometimes very sensitive process as straightforward as possible. We take away the administrative burden of winding up of the estate, which is particularly pertinent at a time when you least need the additional work and stress.
Our clients place great value in our approach and expertise; there are numerous potential issues that might arise during the course of the administration of an estate, as well as tax and succession planning opportunities which may not always be apparent. Seeking professional advice can protect Personal Representatives from finding themselves personally liable from any losses which might arise from a lay Executor’s unintentional acts or omissions. We will look to protect you, your family and your wealth by looking at the application (where appropriate) of Deeds of Variation to redirect the distribution of the Estate in a manner that is efficient for inheritance tax purposes; ensure that the capital gains tax allowances are properly utilised; ensure the registration of the Estate with HM Revenue & Customs for the purposes of their Estates and Trust Register to avoid penalties for non-registration; protecting Personal Representatives from potential claims from disappointed beneficiaries; ensuring that Business Property Relief and Agricultural Property Relief are claimed where appropriate, and in conjunction with your accountant’s advice; making claims for the otherwise unused nil rate band and main residence nil rate band.
As Executor or Personal Representative, you have a responsibility to administer the estate properly. Before the estate can be completed certain work will have to be undertaken. You will be required, with our assistance, to establish the extent of the estate and to pay any debts arising and to then distribute the balance of the estate after the payment of any associated costs and tax liabilities. The law requires this to be done diligently and it is our job to help and guide you to do this.
We shall undertake the following steps as appropriate to this estate on the basis of the information you provide:
- Estimating the value of the estate after all the bills are paid and identifying any problems there may be before the beneficiaries can be given their entitlements. Estimating the length of time it will take to deal with all related matters. We shall tell you how long we expect this to be; and, as far as possible, what the cost will be. Dealing with any inheritance tax due – this has to be paid before we can obtain the Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry. Assess the need for any finalisation of the Income Tax position pre and post death (where appropriate maintaining existing relationships with the deceased advisers).
- Preparing all necessary papers for HM Revenue and Customs and the Probate Registry to obtain the Grant of Representation.
- Sending copies of the Grant to banks, building societies and others holding money and property. Some items may need to be sold and, of course, we will discuss this with you. (Larger and more valuable items may have to be professionally valued. Fees for this and other work for the estate will be paid from money in the estate).
- Collecting estate monies into our client account (where it will be subject to the protection of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s rules regarding solicitors firms handling of clients money). This helps us to start to prepare the estate accounts, which show the assets of the estate and payment of bills and legacies and distribution of residue. We should be able to let you know how matters stand at any particular time, should you wish it. Once the bills have been paid, it will be possible to start paying any smaller legacies if directed by a Will and effect interim distribution of residue. The final stages of our work involve obtaining confirmation from the HM Revenue & Customs that no more tax is due, finalising the accounts, handing over the remaining entitlements to the beneficiaries and obtaining their receipts or where appropriate setting up the necessary trusts which may arise.
The above list is meant to illustrate what can be involved and it is not intended to be exhaustive. Some steps may not apply and others not mentioned may be required.
For the administration of a simple estate we would anticipate spending approximately 12 hours in dealing with matters at between £195.00 and £265.00 per hour plus VAT. Therefore, the overall costs (excluding disbursements) are likely to be between £2,340.00 and £3,180.00 plus VAT.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be towards the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts then costs will be at the higher end of the range.
This quote is for estates where:
- There is a valid UK Will.
- There is no more than one property.
- There are no more than three bank or building society accounts.
- There are no other intangible assets, such as Stocks or Shares.
- There are between one and five beneficiaries.
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries or claims against the estate.
- The estate is not subject to Inheritance Tax.
- No Inheritance Tax Return is required to be prepared and sent to HM Revenue and Customs.
- In addition to our fees and VAT the following disbursements may be incurred:
- Probate court fee – standard fee of £155.00 in most cases.
- Office copies of the grant – £0.50 per copy as required.
- Commissioners fees – on Oath per Executor £5.00 plus £2.00 per Exhibit (e.g. the Will and any Codicil thereto) per deponent (soon to be replaced with affirmations / statements of truth).
- Valuer’s fees – as and if necessary.
- Anti-money laundering search fee (if required) £5.00 plus VAT (each name).
- Lodging statutory notices under section 27 Trustee Act 1925. This protects you in your role as Executor or Administrator from claims from unknown creditors. These costs vary depending on the publication, but are strongly advised in most circumstances.
If the estate is more complex than outlined above then additional costs may be incurred, particularly where:
- There is no valid Will.
- The Estate is of high value or specific complexity.
- There is more than one property.
- There are more than three bank or building society accounts.
- The deceased held shares and investments.
- The deceased held an interest in a business.
- There are substantial lifetime gifts.
- An Inheritance Tax Account is required to be sent to HM Revenue and Customs.
- The estate is liable to Inheritance Tax.
- The deceased was a beneficiary of a trust.
- There are disputes as to the validity of the Will, or between the beneficiaries or claims made against the estate.
- We are asked to finalise the deceased’s Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax position to the date of death and/or during the period of administration.In the normal course Executors or Personal Representatives are expected to complete the administration within twelve months from the date of death which period is known as the “Executors Year”. Our aim is to complete the matter as soon as possible, and well within that, with an anticipated timescale of 3 to 6 months for a straightforward estate. We shall strive to complete the administration well within that period and will be able to give you a more accurate indication and estimate of the likely timescale after the issue of the grant of probate should you request us to do so. Factors, such as the sale of property comprised within the estate, are outside our control and may affect the time required to complete the administration. Similarly, should claims against the estate arise, delays are likely to occur before the distribution of the estate. Should the administration appear to us likely to become protracted we will so advise you.
- In addition to the above, if we are asked to assist you with the sale or transfer of the deceased’s property then our Conveyancing Team would be pleased to give you a separate costs estimate.
Probate, Wills, Trusts & Tax Planning
Planning for retirement or organising a will is something many of us would rather put off for another day. But delay can leave you and those important to you at risk of unforeseen financial and tax problems.
The skills of our probate team are recognised not only within Cornwall, but also nationally and internationally. We have one of the largest departments of its kind in the area and our expertise is increasingly sought by overseas firms.
We offer comprehensive guidance on the preparation of wills, the proving and management of estates, trust administration, capital gains and inheritance tax, retirement planning, powers of attorney and court of protection issues.
Our team of skilled solicitors and legal executives aims to secure peace of mind for you and those you care about. We keep abreast of ever-changing tax and inheritance regulations to provide you with accurate advice and ensure your present and future needs are fully catered for.