Estate Administration – How we help

 

After-Death Administration and Probate Advice

The death of someone you love is always hard, but it can be especially difficult when they have left behind lots of stress, paperwork and responsibilities. You may feel overwhelmed with the work needed to sort out their affairs and take care of everything before time runs out on important deadlines – such as paying inheritance tax or distributing the estate to impatient beneficiaries.

Isla Law can work with you on the estate administration process in a few different ways, depending on your needs.

Our process for after-death work is simple:

 

1. Initial Meeting – for new probate advice matters we ALWAYS offer a no-obligation 30 minute consultation at our expense. The first meeting is a simple conversation to find out where you need support and how we can reduce your stress as much as possible. We will provide clear advice about the terms of the deceased’s will or the intestacy provisions, as appropriate, so that you know exactly who is responsible for dealing with the estate and who will inherit what. At the end of the meeting, you can decide how you would like to work with us, depending on the level of support you need.

2. Choose your level of support

A: Full service If you want us to take everything off your hands, we can work with you on the entire administration of an estate. For example, we will help you to value the estate, advise you in relation to making a personal application for a grant, liaise with all the beneficiaries, help you to settle any debts, assist you in collecting in all the assets and prepare estate accounts on your behalf.

We often find that when families deal with an estate themselves, things can take longer because there is an emotional burden that goes alongside the admin. It can be very upsetting to go through paperwork and personal items that had belonged to the person who has died, and quite often this causes people to put things off and procrastinate. We act as an objective third party to move things forward, enabling the estate to be wrapped up quickly and without stress.

You will have a dedicated, qualified adviser who you can contact for updates whenever you want. But, although you will be kept in the loop at all stages, you will have the burden of dealing with the estate taken off your hands so that you can spend your precious time on the important things in life.

B: Limited service Advice in relation to the formal application forms only. We can advise you as to how best to complete the formal legal application for a grant of probate or letters of administration. This is likely to involve us completing an inheritance tax return for you to sign off, and advising you in relation to the probate application form PA1. You would take on some of the leg-work, such as getting valuations for the estate assets, and preparing estate accounts.

This is a more cost-effective option, but it does mean that you will have to do more of the work!

The application will be different depending on various factors, such as whether or not there is a valid Will, and the value of the estate.

C: You deal with the estate administration We will be honest with you in the first meeting and, if the estate administration is going to be very simple (sometimes you don’t even need a grant of probate / letters of administration!) we will let you know that. You might then choose to deal with the estate administration yourself, and we will support you in that decision.

We can still help you with all the free resources in the knowledge centre and through our dedicated facebook group.

We also often end up helping executors on an ad hoc basis with various ‘odds and ends’, such as if you would like us to prepare estate accounts, or liaise with a particularly difficult beneficiary.

How much does your probate advice service cost?

Detailed information about our probate fees is here.

We charge based on the time it is likely to take us to deal with the estate, and not on a percentage of the estate or open-ended hourly rate ‘costs estimate’

The things that might affect our fees include:

– Is there a valid Will? If not, the intestacy rules will apply. Sometimes, this can make things more complicated, especially if the estate ends up passing to distant relatives.

– Can you find the original Will? If not, a copy of the Will can be accepted by the Court, but this often involves more processes and admin, and will make the estate more complicated and expensive.

– Are minors involved? This can sometimes make things more challenging as minors are unable to agree any changes to an estate, even if they would be eminently sensible.

– Is anyone likely to challenge the Will or intestacy? If so, we will need to give the executors very specific advice about protecting themselves and administering the estate particularly carefully. If there is a dispute, the matter would need to be referred to specialist dispute resolution lawyers, increasing the time involved in the estate administration.

– Are there any foreign assets or foreign Wills? If the answer is yes, we will need to carefully consider how those foreign elements interact with the English estate.

– How complicated and extensive are the assets? It will take us much less time to deal with a few large assets (e.g. a million pound house and single bank account) than it will to deal with numerous small assets (e.g. several small investments, lots of different bank accounts, NS&I products and a house), even if the first estate is of a higher value.

– Will inheritance tax be payable? If so,  more complicated tax returns will be needed and you will need to make arrangements for the payment of tax – this increases time and costs.

Our fixed quote will take all the factors mentioned above and others into account, so please make sure you are prepared with as much information as possible at the first meeting.

Ruth Pannell of Isla Law Solicitors

‘Ruth came to our house at a convenient time for my husband and me. She was brilliantly professional, friendly and patient. She made the whole process of getting our wills sorted both easy and painless. Great price too. Why pay for a expensive law firm when she gives such an amazing service?’

A Mitchell, Maidstone