We recognise the importance of keeping administration costs to a realistic minimum and are equally aware that our expertise will not be required in some of the more simple aspects of what needs to be done. We are able to offer fixed fees in some instances and to quote by reference to an hourly rate at a variety of different levels for the work done and time spent where a fixed fee is not appropriate. Fixed fees range between £750 and £1,750 + VAT and disbursements. 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. Fixed fees are offered for estates where:
- There is a valid Will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than three bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are no more than five beneficiaries (including residuary beneficiaries and specific legatees)
- 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 are expenses related to your matter payable to third parties. Disbursements can include:
- Probate application fee of £273
- If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50 (1 per asset usually).
- Swearing of the oath (£7 per executor)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches
- Notice in The London Gazette and in a Local Newspaper – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf and include them in our bill.
Potential additional costs
- If there is no Will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be an additional cost 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.
- 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 dealt with within 6 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes up to 3 months from first instruction. Collecting assets then follows, which can take anything up to 3 months depending on the range of assets and the speed of response form the asset holders. Once this has been done and the notice period for advertising for creditors has expired, we can distribute the assets.
What is included
As part of our fixed fee we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor 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 legal oath for you to swear
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtain the Probate and securely send two copies to you
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
Similar steps arise in larger and more complex estates with the added responsibility of filling out a full Inland revenue Account, calculating the IHT liability due and making arrangements for payment. It is not possible to determined the work involved at the outset and this is why we do not offer fixed fees for this type of work. We quote hourly rates for the people involved ranging from £325 per hour for a partner to £150 per hour for a first year trainee.
Meet the team
Ian West is a partner in the Private Client team. He deals with a wide range of matters including commercial and residential conveyancing, will drafting, trusts and probate and powers of attorney.
Private Client Matters
As well as obtaining grants of probate for UK estates, Ian has assisted personal representatives of foreign estates in resealing foreign grants to administer UK assets held by a deceased domiciled outside the UK. He has dealt with resealing foreign grants in jurisdictions as diverse as Holland and Iran. He has also advised on domicile in respect of deceased’s estates and regularly deals with the UK estates of persons who have died domiciled outside the United Kingdom.
Recent property transactions include:-
- Acting for clients on a lifetime mortgage as part of an inheritance tax strategy.
- Acting on behalf of a landowner in connection with the grant of an option for a lease for use of the land for battery storage.
- Acting on behalf of a landowner in connection with the sale of land for use as an electricity sub-station in connection with a wind farm project and grant of options for related easements.
- Acting for both landlords and tenants in respect of statutory claims for extension leases of flats.
Ian was educated at Brentwood School Essex, Manchester University and the College of Law London. He qualified as a solicitor in 1981 and joined Metson Cross in 1982 becoming a partner in 1990.
Ian is married with two children.
As former Honorary Secretary of the Society of Old Brentwoods, Ian takes a keen interest in the affairs of the School and in various events and functions organised by the Society. He is also a keen follower of football and has an interest in classic cars. Ian is a member of the Mini Cooper Register. Ian has also been learning to play the guitar (for over 45 years!).
Michael qualified as a solicitor in 1982 and is a consultant based in the private client department. Michael advises on a wide range of UK and international tax issues. He is a member of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners and is an expert on wealth structuring, having been responsible for this area at Barclays Wealth for 13 years. He has also been authorised under the financial services legislation since it was introduced in the 1980s and advises on investment and financial services matters.
Neil Acheson-Gray is a consultant solicitor and part of the private client department. He has specialised in matters including contentious probate for more than three decades.
He trained at a leading firm in Holborn, qualifying as a solicitor in 1983 and then spent 25 years as a partner in the family firm with offices in Marble Arch and Richmond. This gave him a wealth of experience in estate planning, Wills, estates and trusts and carrying out the role of Executor and Trustee.
Neil has subsequently spent 6 years with a firm in Fetter Lane where he successfully developed the firm’s contentious probate capability, bringing his wealth of experience of private client work to the cut and thrust of claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975 and contested Wills.
- Acting for the family of an elderly lady seeking to prove the validity of an allegedly forged or fraudulent Will in her favour
- Acting for several children of a lady whose other daughter was alleged to have forged her mother’s Will
- Acting for a widow whose stepchildren were claiming provision from his estate
- Acting for a widow whose own son inherited all her late husband’s estate
- Representing a child whose siblings were seeking her removal as Executor
- Acting for the beneficiary of an estate in the removal of one of the Executors
- Acting for the surviving partner of the man she lived with who remained married to his wife and left his entire estate to her and he children
- Acting for a surviving husband in relation to a claim made by a friend he had allegedly maintained
- Opposing a Will made by someone who took her own life whilst suffering from serious mental illness
- Advising a daughter whose stepmother left her share in a family property to her nephew contrary to her late husband’s wishes
Alongside this, Neil has continued his established practice in the field of Wills and Probate, dealing with a variety of interesting estates and meeting a wide range of clients from all walks of life, with estates large and small, complex and straightforward.
Neil is married and lives in Surrey. Outside of work he enjoys all forms of sport, travel, cookery, photography and the arts. His greatest inspiration and his greatest critics are his wife, three children and above all his grandson who together provide all the distraction needed from an absorbing and rewarding career which he is pleased to continue at Carter Lemon Camerons LLP.
Neil will shortly turn 70 which is an age when solicitors start to wind down and he is no exception. Neil will remain active working from home dealing with his clients and introducing them gradually to his successors. Neil has a wealth of experience in probate work, both contentious and non-contentious, and enjoys nothing better than advising clients about Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Rufus Ballaster is Senior Partner and specialises in secured lending for both lenders and borrowers, within Carter Lemon Camerons LLP’s commercial property team.
Rufus’ team is able to assist lenders with putting in place effective protection for their loans, including advising on the form of security that is needed, arranging reporting systems between lawyer and lender, preparing documents, raising enquiries, examining title and making the appropriate searches.
Rufus is also experienced in assisting borrowers, advising on the risks involved in the transaction and negotiating the best possible terms.
Where appropriate, having carefully looked at professional rules governing conflict of interest, Rufus can act for both the lender and the borrower in a single transaction.
His detailed technical legal knowledge and ability to crunch numbers are great assets both transactionally and as Carter Lemon Camerons LLP’s spreadsheet obsessive.
Recent transactions include:
- Secured Lending Portfolio Refinance for a group of clients shifting lending from one international Private Bank to another international Private Bank with full Certification of Title across 7 Central London Properties both commercial residential (or mixed) use – aggregate value £30M approx.
- Phased purchase with development finance of site for over 40 new homes in SW London for a group of clients which has also bought and sold many other units in the region with Rufus and his team acting.
- Short term (2 to 18 month) lending by a Wealth Management company into a variety of development projects taking first or second charge security over those sites or collateral security elsewhere.
Career highlights include:
- Stepping into the panel of speakers at a course for which he was understudy – at only 3 years qualified
- Representing most of the sets of barristers’ chambers at one of the Inns of Court in lease renewals with that Inn
- Drawing down finance to purchase a SW1 development opportunity (offices to flats) by an off shore company at a price exceeding £120M (for a group of clients for whom previous deals were at values ranging from £7M to £220M)
- Drawing down finance to purchase a group of off-shore vehicles which owned of a City office block let to a blue chip investment bank – loan exceeding £300 million, split into senior and junior debt.
Rufus combines client focused views of legal issues with more holistic ones. This is clearly visible from his writing (having contributed to many journals and been a co-author of the Landlord and Tenant Factbook and more recently of a Practical Guide to Drone Law) and from his lectures and seminars on banking, commercial property, artificial intelligence and other topics.
Asked what he likes most in his work, Rufus will talk of his role as a “trouble-shooter”. He enjoys being asked by clients and colleagues what he thinks about something and trying, with them, to work up structures or strategies achieving a desired result at the lowest sensible cost/ tax-hit/ risk. He travels within Europe and beyond (Arabian Gulf, South East Asia, Southern Africa) to see clients and contacts face to face and says working with people he has met is always preferable to hiding behind email and telephone for client contact!
Rufus was educated at Reading School, Wadham College Oxford and Chester College of Law, qualifying as a solicitor in 1988.
Outside the office Rufus has a full and active life with commitments to two Christian Churches, family (wife and three now adult children), RBS Rugby Football Club (for whom he plays as a second row forward) and RBS Lawn Bowls Club which is more suited to his age.