Probate Process

The Probate Process

Probate should be seen as a process of checking the validity of the will, gathering in the deceased assets, paying any tax liabilities, then making a distribution to the beneficiaries. 

The Deceased's Will

The starting point for any probate process is the deceased's will. Craybeck Law will review the will to confirm it is valid and suitable to be admitted to Probate. On occasions we find wills which have small defects in them as to their validity. We will explore how best to manage these defects and rectify them as necessary.

Executor Responsibilities

A will usually appoints two people as Executors to manage the deceased's estate. Executors have several responsibilities in regard to the probate process. For example they are required to 

  • Review the estate finances for tax purposes. 
  • Arrange valuations of the estate assets. 
  • Defend the estate from legal challenges. 
  • Pay inheritance tax.

There is also the validity of the will to consider. For a will to be accepted by the Probate Registry it must be valid conforming to the Wills Act 1837, subsequent legislation, and statutory instruments. On occasions, there is also a house sale to conduct or alternatively working out how the house is to pass to a particular relative who may wish to buy out other beneficiaries' interest in the property.

I am grateful for the care and attention provided to family members.

Mrs P.

Craybeck Law Conducting Probate for You

By instructing Craybeck Law we will manage the Executors responsibilities. In an uncontested probate this typically consists of -

  • Audit of the deceased's assets to confirm their ownership and ability to form part of their estate.
  • Review the will confirming it is valid and fit to proceed to probate.
  • If there is no will and they died intestate trace potential beneficiaries.
  • Secure or make safe any property which is owned by the deceased.
  • Gather in the deceased assets and make a record of these for inheritance tax purposes.
  • Review the deceased bank accounts looking for how these assets should pass to another person.
  • Consider if anyone owes any money to the estate.
  • Are there other liabilities which the deceased had which are now the responsibility of the estate.
  • Trace assets, get valuations, contact financial institutions, obtain prices for shares and securities and review any life interest trusts the deceased was subject to and if these should now continue.
  • Is there anyone making a claim against the estate which needs to be resolved.
  • Review any capital gains tax to be paid on additional properties.
  • Conduct a tax calculation to ensure the correct amount of inheritance tax is paid.
  • Review the entire estate to see if it can be made more tax efficient via a deed of variation.
  • Provide a report on the deceased assets.
  • Make distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries.
  • Consider if any trusts need to be set up to manage the beneficiaries money.

In contested probates Craybeck Law manages the dispute claim.

Probate Team

Our Probate team consists of our probate partner and our senior probate solicitor both with over 15 years solicitor experience. Our probate partner has over eight years of working in probate and will preparation. Both these solicitors are supported by three members of staff all with over 5 years probate experience. One of them is an Affiliate Member for elderly client work of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

Our contentious probates are dealt with by one of our probate partner who qualified as a solicitor over 15 years ago. He is also a member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). He is supported by other expert solicitors and barristers as required.

Kind and courteous service, real experts.

Mrs G.

Our Probate Fees

Craybeck Law manages both uncontested and contested probates. Where we can we will agree a fixed probate fee with our clients. Sometimes this is not possible owing to the complexity of the probate. At the end of each probate matter we review our fees with our clients adjusting them as appropriate.

Uncontested probates

With uncontested probates we aim to assist you with gathering in the deceased assets, evaluating these, making inheritance tax payments from the estate and the distribution to the beneficiaries. Our probate fees start from £1750 plus VAT. (VAT is currently 20%). The hourly rates for our probate partner and senior probate solicitor are £300 plus VAT. Our support staff invoice from £75 an hour plus VAT. Where there is a property to sell and depending upon the complexity of the estate a fixed property value may be charged between 0.5% to 2.5% of the value property plus VAT. This makes the average cost of an uncontested probate around £3,500 plus VAT.

If assistance is required with specific parts of the probate process this is usually invoiced at our senior probate solicitor's hourly rate.

When conducting a probate there are disbursements or other required fees. These include the fee to obtain the grant of probate £155 for probate professional practitioners. Statutory notice adverts London Gazette £70 with other newpapers charging between £70 to £150. Conducting a will search £114. Cost of evaluating chattels and stocks & shares. If selling a property there may also be property valuation fees between £100 to £150 plus VAT. Estate agent fees between £400 - £600 plus VAT. There is also the requirement to insure unoccupied property, insurances are around £400-£500.

Contested probates

We also undertake contested probate matters. This is where, for example there is a dispute as to the validity of the will, who should inherit assets under the will or claims made by someone who has been omitted from the will. It can be a little difficult to put an exact cost on a contentious probate matter. We aim to keep our clients informed every step of the probate process regarding our fees and how the matter is progressing. Contested probate fees start from £2250 plus VAT. Our contested probate solicitor hourly fees are £300 plus VAT. The average costs of a contested probate is around £7500 plus VAT.

We aim to use mediation as part of the probate dispute process. This reduces costs for clients and aims to resolve the matter without the necessity for going to court.

How our Fees are Calculated

Our fees are based upon the complexity of an estate. Complicating factors include -

  • The number of assets to be traced.
  • The number of beneficiaries, their age and cognitive abilities.
  • The complexity of any will provisions and arising trusts.
  • Foreign assets or property.
  • Estate claims regarding business property or agricultural property reliefs.
  • Managing claims or disputes between beneficiaries or claims against the estate.
  • Negotiating with the tax office (HMRC) regarding tax liabilities.
  • Discussions with the Department for Works and Pensions regarding over or under benefit payments.
  • Tracing missing beneficiaries.
  • Creating and winding up trusts created under the will.

They have an lots of legal knowledge and patience

Mr D.

Typical Probate Times

Start your probate - Month 1

Once we have received your instructions we will carry out a detailed review to establish what is needed to apply for the grant of probate for you.

Apply for the Grant of probate - Months 3 to 6

To apply for a grant of probate we have to

  • Confirm the validity of the will.
  • If they died without making will begin searching for potential beneficiaries and check to make sure there is no will.
  • Contact the identified banks and other financial institutions requesting the value of assets they hold on behalf of the deceased.
  • Complete the relevant HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) inheritance tax forms to review if any tax has to be paid.
  • Place the relevant public notices.
  • Review the probate application forms and complete these ready for submission to the probate registry.

Interim Beneficiaries Distributions - Months 6 to 9

A lot of conducting a probate is waiting for replies to enquiries, together with the grant of the probate from the probate registry.

It is possible in many probates to make an interim distribution to beneficiaries. Once the grant of probate has been received and no one is wishing to claim against the estate interim beneficiary distribution can be considered.

Final Beneficiary Distributions - Months 9 to 12

Before final distributions are made we have to confirm that no one is seeking a claim against the estate. There is also confirmation there are no outstanding legal issues, tax to pay or any other probate work to complete. Once we have confirmed there are no outstanding issues then we can consider making a final distribution to the beneficiaries.

Generous with their time and understanding.

Mrs M.

Make An Enquiry To Our Dedicated Probate Team

Call our dedicated probate team now on 01268 947044 to discuss your probate matter.

Contact us for a free consultation


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