Wills, probate, tax and trusts

Our Wills & Probate team is dedicated to helping you deal with the law as it relates to later life and death. We understand the enormous stress of bereavement and have helped thousands of clients through this most difficult of times. Our services include:

  • Will Writing Service: making, amending and storing wills (simple wills, complicated wills – nothing is too easy or too difficult!)
  • Creating lasting powers of attorney (which pass on powers to make legal decisions in event that a person becomes unable, through age or infirmity, to act on their own behalf)
  • Registering enduring powers of attorney (these were superseded by lasting powers of attorney in 2007)
  • Dealing with a deceased person’s affairs and getting grants of probate (‘probate’ is the legal term used for the procedure that certifies a will as valid)
  • Acting as executors of large and small estates (carrying out will instructions)
  • Providing tax advice (ensuring your assets are passed on to your loved ones and not snapped up by the government – if your assets, including your house, are worth over £300k you really should seek tax advice)
  • Setting up trusts (ensuring that minors or disabled relatives are cared for)
  • Dealing with intestacies (an ‘intestacy’ is when somebody dies without leaving a will)
  • Helping with long term care
  • Court of Protection work (where somebody becomes unfit to manage their own affairs)

We are members of Solicitors for the Elderly. We adhere to the STEP Code for Will Preparation. Information about the STEP can be found here: https://www.step.org/for-the-public

Wills

A Will is a formal legal document which outlines how a person’s assets are to be distributed after their death and specifies care arrangements for any young children.

Making a Will is essential if you wish to protect your assets for your family and to ensure that decisions affecting your loved ones are made by you and not by the Courts or the local Council.

Our fee includes meeting with you to discuss and explain all the relevant issues, preparing the Will, arranging for the Will to be signed and witnessed, then providing a copy for you and secure storage of the original (if desired).

  • Will: £180
  • Twin set of Wills suitable for spouses / partners: £300

If additional work is required in conjunction with your Will, such as a home visit or the severance of the beneficial joint tenancy of your property, there may be an additional charge. Occasionally a Will request can be particularly complex. In such cases we will discuss a revised fee with you before the work is carried out so you can decide how you wish to proceed.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ (LPA) is a legal document which lets you appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become mentally incapacitated.

There are two types of LPA:

  • Property & Financial Affairs:which allows you to appoint someone to manage your property and financial affairs.
  • Personal Welfare:which allows you to appoint someone to make decisions about your personal welfare and healthcare.

For an LPA to take effect it has to be formally ‘registered’ with the ‘Office of the Public Guardian’. When registering a LPA, a Court Fee (currently £110) is payable. However, depending upon your financial situation, it is sometimes possible to reduce – or even completely avoid – this fee. As part of our service we will advise whether you can claim a fee reduction and, if so, help you to complete the appropriate claim forms. This is the reason that Court fees are excluded from our LPA price list (see below).

Our fee includes meeting with you to discuss and explain the relevant issues, preparing and, where possible, certifying the LPA. We then arrange for the LPA to be signed and witnessed, following which we carry out all the necessary Court applications / notifications up to and including the final production/registration of the LPA.  We will provide secure storage of the original (if desired).

Registered LPAs Individual Couple
Property & Financial Affairs £300 * £420 *
Personal Welfare £300 * £420 *
Combined (Property & Personal) £420 * £540 *

* the figures given cover our costs and VAT – in addition there will be a court fee payable. As at May 2018 these are £82 per LPA.

Registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney

‘Enduring Powers of Attorney’ (EPAs) were replaced by LPAs in 2007 so it is no longer possible to draw up a new EPA. However, pre-existing EPAs are still legal in the event of their originator becoming mentally incapacitated – but only if they are first ‘registered’ with the ‘Office of the Public Guardian’.

As with LPAs, depending upon your financial situation, it is sometimes possible to reduce – or even completely avoid – the Registration Court Fee (see above) which is why it is excluded from our price list.

Our fee includes meeting with you to discuss and explain the relevant issues, completing and submitting the appropriate registration forms, notifying close relatives and paying the Court Fee. Then providing you with a number of legally certified copies of the EPA to send out to relevant organisations and providing secure storage of the original (if desired).

Registration of EPA: £360 (plus court fee)

Very occasionally some LPA or EPA registrations are particularly complex or contested. In such instances it may be necessary to make an additional charge. In the event that your request is particularly complex please be assured that we will notify you at the onset, before the work is carried, out so you can decide how you wish to proceed.

Probate / Letters of Administration

When a person dies formal permission is (generally) required for relatives or friends to have the legal authority to deal with the deceased person’s ‘estate’. ‘A Grant of Representation’ is the term for this permission and encompasses either a ‘Grant of Probate’ (which recognizes the legal validity of a Will) or a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’ (which provides authority where no Will exists).

The amount of work involved in obtaining a Grant of Representation will vary according to the nature of the deceased person’s estate. A basic rule of thumb is that…

  • if the value of estate is under the Inheritance Tax (‘IHT’) threshold (currently £325,000) or
  • the estate passes to a spouse or charity (and is valued at less than £1,000,000)

…then it will be more straightforward as it is subject only to a ‘simple tax declaration’. Estates above this amount generally require a ‘full tax account’ and are as a result more complex. Being a rule of thumb of course, there are some exceptions (!) but, in general, this principle is a useful guide.

Our fee includes meeting with you to discuss and explain the relevant issues. Then completing the appropriate tax declarations, preparing a sworn oath for executors or administrators, submitting the Grant application (potentially saving you a trip to the Winchester Probate Registry) and paying the Probate Court Fee (cheaper for a solicitor than a private individual). Then providing you with a number of legally certified copies for you to send out to relevant organisations and providing secure storage of the original (if desired).

Grant for estates involving a Simple Tax Declaration: £600

Full details of the conditions relating to this pricing and details of the additional costs payable to third parties can be found here [pdf Grants Simple Tax Declaration]

Grant for estates involving a Full Tax Account: £1,200

Full details of the conditions relating to this pricing and details of the additional costs payable to third parties can be found here [pdf Grants Full Tax Account]

Grant and Administration of the Estate

For details of our pricing where we not only obtain the grant but then go on to administer the estate can be found here [pdf Grant & Administration]

Wills, probate, tax and trusts Team