Mears Hobbs & Durrant Solicitors

Private Client Fees

Private Client, including Wills and Estate Planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Court of Protection Applications and Probate and Administration of Estates.

Our Private Client Team

Peter Britten, Partner, Solicitor. Peter has specific expertise in all property matters, preparation of Wills, Estate Planning, Probate and Estate Administration.

Catherine Hipper, Solicitor. Catherine was admitted as a solicitor in 1993. Member of Solicitors for the Elderly and Qualified Member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners. Catherine undertakes all Private Client matters generally from our Beccles office.

Helen Taylor, FCILEx. Helen has worked in our Lowestoft office since 1999 and will assist in all areas of Private Client work.

Peter Britten supervises both Catherine Hipper and Helen Taylor.

Our Services and Fees

Wills

If you fail to leave an up to date and valid Will on your death this may cause your family substantial problems which may be impossible to resolve.

If you consult us we will offer an initial meeting to discuss your Will requirements, and we will give you advice specific to your circumstances and needs. We will then prepare a Will for your approval and meet with you on a second occasion to discuss its contents and for it to be executed. We will hold your original Will in safe storage for no additional charge.

Subject to your particular requirements, generally most Wills can be completed within fourteen days of our initial meeting.

Costs

Simple Wills:

Single Will £95 plus VAT
Pair of mirror Wills £145 plus VAT

If your circumstances require a prolonged discussion or your instructions are rather more complex, for example you wish to set up a life interest trust in your Will or you wish for a Will tailored to meet the needs of a disabled family member, our charges will be based on an hourly rate of £175 plus VAT. Typically a more complex pair of Wills may amount to £300 plus VAT.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Drafting and Registration

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney enables you to choose who would look after your personal affairs in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. Lasting Powers of Attorney are available for both Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare and by making these Powers of Attorney you can be sure that those whose judgement you trust will act for you if you can no longer do so yourself. If you have made these Powers of Attorney you may well save those close to you anxiety, delay and cost in the event you needed assistance in the future.

We can advise as to your specific requirements, draft the Lasting Powers of Attorney for your approval, if appropriate act as certificate provider and attend you upon their signature. We will also send the Lasting Powers of Attorney for registration to the Office for the Public Guardian on your behalf.

We include this registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney as part of our service since a Lasting Power of Attorney may not be used until it is registered, so a failure to register at this time may result in a substantial delay in the Powers being used should the need arise.

Costs

Service Cost
One Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs including registration with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) £295.00 plus VAT & OPG fee

OR

Service Cost
One Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare including registration with the OPG £295.00 plus VAT & OPG fee

OR

Service Cost
One Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and One Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare including registration of both with the OPG £350.00 plus VAT & OPG fees

OR

Service Cost
Two Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs including registration with the OPG £350.00 plus VAT & OPG fees

OR

Service Cost
Two Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare including registration with the OPG £350.00 plus VAT & OPG fees

OR

Service Cost
Two Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs and two Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare including registration with the OPG £495.00 plus VAT & OPG fees

The fee charged by the OPG to register each Lasting Power of Attorney is £82.00. However, an individual may be exempt from paying this fee or the fee may be reduced in certain circumstances which will be discussed with you.

We generally meet with our clients and then produce Lasting Powers of Attorney for their signature within fourteen days of initial meeting. The registration process is likely to take a minimum of six weeks.

Registering an Enduring Power of Attorney

Whilst Enduring Powers of Attorney may no longer be created after 30th September 2007 they may still be used. If the person who made the Enduring Power of Attorney is losing their understanding the Enduring Power of Attorney may only be used if it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. This registration process requires the preparation of the specific documents, and their service on family members and the submission of the Enduring Power of Attorney document and supporting papers to the Office of the Public Guardian.

If we undertake this service for you, this is likely take in the region of two-three hours' worth of work, (chargeable at £175 plus VAT per hour), so our fees are likely to be in the region of £400-£600 together with the Office of the Public Guardian's registration fee of £82. This registration fee may be reduced in certain circumstances. The Office of the Public Guardian generally takes in the region of six weeks to register an Enduring Power of Attorney.

Trusts

Trusts have many uses. For example trusts can be of use in benefitting minor children or grandchildren, where there is a disabled family member, in estate planning or they may arise under a Will. We can advise upon and assist in the setting up a trust on your behalf. We can also advise trustees as to their obligations under an existing trust.

Our charges for this would vary, depending on the nature of work required but would be based on our hourly rate of between £175 - £200 plus VAT. For example to provide advice for a trust in existence and to prepare a Deed of Appointment for a New Trustee would be in the region of £300 plus VAT. To receive instructions for the setting up of a lifetime trust, to include drafting the trust document and attending you for the signature of the deed would require in the region of four-five hours' worth of work, so cost between £800-£1,000 plus VAT.

The use of trusts may require specific taxation advice from an accountant and may trigger taxation consequences for you. You will need to be aware of the potential cost arising from the instruction of an accountant and the taxation consequences that may arise in addition to these fees. We can assist you in obtaining this. Typically we would hope to have any necessary documents ready for your approval within 14 days of our initial meeting.

Applications to the Court of Protection

The Court of Protection looks after the affairs or those who lack adequate understanding to do this for themselves.

If someone close to you does not have an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney and is unable to manage their affairs we can assist you in making an application to the Court of Protection to become their Deputy. The Court of Protection fixes a set maximum fee for this type of work of £950 plus VAT and an application fee of £385 would be payable. In certain circumstances this application fee may be reduced. If the matter becomes more complex the costs could increase. This process is likely to take a minimum of four months.

Sometimes other issues need to be decided by the Court of Protection for those who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. If you would like advice in respect of this we would be happy to meet with you, this work would be charged at £175-£200 plus VAT per hour and we could provide you with an estimate of costs once it is apparent the assistance you required.

Probate and Administration of Estates

We can assist in the administration of a deceased person's estate. The cost and timescale for this work will vary greatly depending on the deceased's circumstances.

Many bereaved families like to arrange an initial appointment with one of our lawyers to discuss what tasks need to be undertaken to deal with the deceased's affairs. At that appointment a plan can be made as to what legal assistance may be required. Some clients simply seek an initial advice, this could include for example advice as to the validity of a homemade Will. This advice would be charged at our hourly rate of £175-£200 plus VAT and would generally be produced within ten days or so.

Grant only Application

For many estates we are instructed simply to assist the Executor/Administrator in applying for Grant of Probate only (or Letters of Administration if the deceased's left no Will). Provided we receive the all necessary information regarding the deceased's circumstances, assets and liabilities and the Executor or Administrator deals with the rest of the estate themselves the cost of a Grant only application of this type could amount to in the region of £600-£800 plus VAT and disbursements (see below).

Typically it would take in the region of two-three weeks to prepare this Application and then the Probate Registry would take in the region of four weeks to issue a straightforward Grant.

Full Estate Administration

This would be to deal with all or some aspects of an estate administration as required. Aspects could include the following:

  • Registration of death
  • Making funeral arrangements
  • Ascertaining full details of deceased's assets and liabilities
  • Preparation of papers to apply for Grant
  • Preparation of HMRC documentations, whether simple Summary (IHT 205) or Full Return (IHT 400) is required
  • Submission of papers to Probate Registry
  • Liaising with financial organizations to gather in the assets
  • Settlement of estate's liabilities
  • Settlement of taxation affairs with HMRC
  • Preparation of Estate Accounts
  • Distribution of assets to the beneficiaries.

The timescale for a full estate administration up until the final distribution varies enormously from for example six months for a simple full estate administration, to eighteen months or more if the matter is complex.

Factors that could increase costs and timescale

  • Uncertainty as to the extent of the deceased's assets and liabilities, for example locating historic savings accounts, or shares and policies requiring investigation
  • Obtaining detailed valuation of specific assets, especially for property, agricultural or business assets when an estate is subject to Inheritance Tax
  • Outstanding Income Tax affairs for the deceased up to date of death
  • Complex taxation matters such as the calculation of Capital Gains Tax arising during the administration of the estate
  • Difficulty in contacting beneficiaries of the Wil
  • Location of documentary evidence, such as Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates and copy Grants of Probates for deceased's spouse

Disbursements

Disbursements are payments we make to third parties on your behalf. These would be separate payments for which the estate is liable in addition to our costs and any taxation, whether Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax or Inheritance Tax arising from the estate. Disbursements in Probate matters are:

  • Probate Court fee - £155 plus £1.50 per copy of sealed Grant
  • Bankruptcy Search fees - £2 per beneficiary
  • Trustee Act Notices – in the region of £200
  • Missing Will searches in the region of £150

More complex estates are likely to require the services of an accountant, whose fees would be chargeable in addition to our own. We would advise you if an accountants services would be needed.

When we meet with you to discuss the assistance you required we could be more specific as to the amount of work that this would be likely to entail and we would advise you of this in our Terms of Engagement.

 

Mears Hobbs & Durrant - Solicitors - Lawyers - Business Clients

Mears Hobbs & Durrant is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Number 53018)