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Wills, Probate & Tax 

Making a will is a simple process and is essential both to ensure that your property and possessions are dealt with in accordance with your wishes and to minimise any inheritance tax liability. 
 
At Bates Wells & Braithwaite we can advise on all matters which need to be considered when preparing a will or discretionary trust, including clear and concise advice on all tax planning issues, care of the elderly, making gifts, appointment of guardians for your children and executors to carry out your wishes. 
 
Dealing with the estate of a friend or relative who has died can be emotional, stressful and time consuming. We can take care of all the administration of estates from start to finish, from notifying everyone necessary to obtaining the Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration if there was no will), through to distribution of the assets of the estate. 
 
 
More families now find that, with steadily-increasing house prices and higher family incomes, Inheritance Tax has to be paid when you die. We can advise on ways to minimise any tax liability on death by way of trusts and other appropriate schemes. 
 
Care of the elderly and help for those who cannot manage their own affairs is an area of increasing relevance for all of us. ‘Our specialist team advise on issues relating to care for the elderly and Powers of Attorney’ 
 
Wills 
 
 
Our fees cover all of the work required to prepare your new Will. The exact cost will depend on your individual circumstances. For example: - 
• If one person wishes to make a straight forward Will then our fee is £195 plus VAT. 
• If a couple wish to make straight forward Wills then our fee is £295 plus VAT. 
• If you wish to make Wills which incorporate discretionary trusts or property trusts then our costs will vary between £500 plus VAT to £700 plus VAT. 
 
The only disbursements which would potentially become payable are a Land Registry fee (which is typically £3 - £6 which covers the cost of us obtaining copies of your deeds), if this is necessary. 
 
The stages of the process of making a Will are as follows: 
 
• Meet with you to take your instructions and give you initial advice. 
• Prepare the draft Will and send it to you for your approval, along with a letter of explanation. 
• Receive your instructions on the draft Will and any changes to be made. 
• Meet with you again to sign your new Will. 
• Retain the original Will in storage, if required, and provide you with a copy of the signed document. 
 
On average the process would take between 4-6 weeks, but this may be quicker or slower if needed. 
 
Lasting Powers of Attorney 
 
 
Our fees cover all of the work required to complete, sign and register (at the Office of the Public Guardian) your Lasting Power of Attorney. Our fixed fees are: 
• For one person making a single Lasting Power of Attorney - £425 plus VAT 
• A single person making both types of Power of Attorney - £525 plus VAT. 
• A couple make Powers of Attorney in favour of the same people, then one type of lasting Power of Attorney - £495 plus VAT (for both of you) or 
• if you both wish to make both types of Lasting Power of Attorney - £595 plus VAT (for both of you). 
 
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third party and there is a registration fee payable to the Office of the Public Guardian in the sum of £82 per document. Therefore, as above, this will vary from £82 to £328. There are circumstances whereby clients are eligible for a full exemption or a 50% remission of the Office of the Public Guardian fee. This is relevant if you are in receipt of means tested benefits or if your gross income is less than £12,000 per year. We will advise you if this is relevant in your case. 
 
The stages of the process of making Lasting Powers of Attorney are as follows: 
 
• Meet with you to take your instructions and give you initial advice. 
• If required, obtain a medical report in respect of your ability to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. 
• Send a draft Lasting Power of Attorney to you for your approval, along with a letter of explanation. 
• Receive your instructions in relation to the draft Lasting Power of Attorney. 
• Meet with you again to sign the Lasting Power of Attorney. 
• Arrange for your Lasting Power of Attorney to be sent to all of your Attorneys, for them to sign. 
• Register your Lasting Power of Attorney at the Office of the Public Guardian. 
• Retain the original Lasting Power of Attorney and provide you with certified copies of the Lasting Power of Attorney for you to use for the future. 
 
 
 
The time it would take to prepare your Lasting Powers of Attorney, and register them can vary and the average process for making and signing the Lasting Powers of Attorney would be in the region of 4-8 weeks. This may vary depending on how many Attorneys need to also sign. The average time for registering Lasting Powers of Attorney at the Office of the Public Guardian is 8 weeks. 
 
Registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney 
 
Our fees for registering an Enduring Power of Attorney are fixed at £325 plus VAT. 
 
The disbursement payable is the Court of Protection fee of £82. 
 
The stages of the process of registering an Enduring Power of Attorney are as follows: 
 
• Meet with the Attorney to take instructions and give initial advice. 
• Prepare the application papers to register the Enduring Power of Attorney at the Office of the Public Guardian. 
• Send the relevant forms and notices to the Attorney/Attorneys to sign. 
• Explain to you the way in which the Donor of the Enduring Power of Attorney needs to be formally notified that the Enduring Power of Attorney is being registered. 
• Notify close family members of the Donor that the Enduring Power of Attorney is being registered. 
• Make the application at the Office of the Public Guardian to register the Enduring Power of Attorney. 
• Upon receipt of the registered Enduring Power provide you with copies for your use for the future. 
 
On average the process can take between 12-14 weeks but this may be quicker or slower. 
 
Deputyship application at Court of Protection 
 
Our fees for a Deputyship application are fixed by the Court of Protection at £850 plus VAT. 
 
Disbursements payable will be: - 
 
• Office of the Public Guardian application fee of £400. 
• A medical report fee of approximately £200 (this varies significantly from one doctor’s surgery/hospital to another). 
• £100 for a Security Bond fee (this is payable upon the issuing of the Deputyship Order and is payable directly to the Insurance Company). 
 
The stages of the Deputyship process are as follows: - 
 
• Meet with you to take instructions and give you initial advice. 
• Prepare the medical certificate form and send this to the GP/hospital. 
• Prepare the application papers for the Deputyship application and send these to you in draft form. 
• Following receipt of the medical report meet with you to sign the application papers. 
• Make the application to the Court of Protection for the Deputyship Order. 
• Assist you with all the associated steps with processing the Deputyship application to include providing the Donor with an official notice, notify their close family members and reporting all of this to the Court of Protection. 
• Receiving the notification that the Deputyship Order has been granted and assist and advise in relation to the Deputy Security Bond. 
• Receive the Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection. 
• Provide you with a copy of the Order for your use. 
 
On average the process can take approximately 6-8 months but this process may be quicker or slower. 
Probate - applying for the Grant and collecting and distributing the assets 
 
If you require assistance with obtaining a Grant only, we anticipate this will take between 3 and 6 hours work at £200 per hour plus VAT. Total costs are estimated at £600 to £1200 plus VAT depending on how much preliminary work you need us to do on your behalf. 
 
If you require assistance with applying for the Grant followed by collecting and distributing the assets, we anticipate this will take between 6 hours (for a straightforward administration) and up to 50 hours for a more complicated estate (e.g. which might involve stocks and shares, trust arrangements, property issues, tax issues, multiple bank accounts etc.). 
 
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 at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end. 
 
We will handle the full process for you. 
 
The lower quote would apply where: 
 
· There is a valid will 
· There is no more than one property 
· There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts 
· There are no other intangible assets 
· There are 2 - 5 beneficiaries 
· There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs 
· There is no Inheritance Tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC 
· There are no claims made against the estate 
 
Disbursements included in this fee
 
· Probate application fee of £155 
· Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary) 
· £310 Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. 
· There may be an additional fee for posting in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims. 
 
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. 
 
Potential additional costs: 
 
· If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information. 
· If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £0.50 pence (1 per asset usually). 
· Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. 
 
How long will this take? 
 
On average, estates that fall within this range are likely to be concluded within 6 - 12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 2 to 3 months. Collecting assets then follows, which may take a further 3 to 8 months. Once this has been done, we can provide accounts and distribute the assets, which normally takes approximately 1 month. 
 
We do not operate on either a Fixed Fee or percentage basis for probate matters. 
 
As part of our service, we will: 
 
· Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate fee earner to work on your matter 
· Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries 
· Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require 
· Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application 
· Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms 
· Draft a Statement of Truth for you to sign 
· Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf 
· Obtain the Probate and send a copy to you 
· Collect and distribute all the assets in the estate 
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