Martin & Co 

Chartered Certified Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers

Probate and Estate Services

Probate is the process whereby an executor is granted the legal right to administer and wind up a deceased’s estate. It involves the filing of legal, financial and tax information about the deceased’s estate to the appropriate authorities, including:

  • Finding the Will
  • Determining whether a grant of probate is required or not
  • Applying for the grant of representation
  • Administering the estate
  • Preparing the estate accounts
  • Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries of the estate

This can be a complex and confusing process, which can seem overwhelming whilst dealing with the loss of a loved one, I aim to ease this burden for you.

Why choose Martin & Co for probate?

  • You are free to choose exactly how much support you need – From a simple overview of the probate related work you have undertaken to handling everything for you, I am happy to help.
  • You can have confidence in my financial and taxation expertise – I am experienced at gathering and understanding financial information, calculating the relevant tax liabilities and am happy to advise and reassure you along the way.
  • You can trust me to complete the process in an efficient manner – I aim to conclude the process swiftly so the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries as soon as possible.
  • You will receive a very personal, supportive service – I understand how difficult losing a loved one can be. I seek to adopt a professional, yet personal service to help you and your family come to terms with your loss.
  • You can have peace of mind over the costs – I will discuss with you the deceased’s estate and the work involved before giving you a quote, so you know from the outset what the likely costs will be. Furthermore, As I work as I work alone and from home I am very competitively priced compared to high street solicitors and banks.

Examples of my probate work

The amount of involvement I can have in each probate case depends on how much work you want to do for yourself. For some cases, if required, I can simply oversee the process, providing guidance on what is required during each step. In other cases, if required, I can complete and submit the different forms to the relevant authorities and handle the whole process.

I can work on estates involving distant relatives, non-domiciled individuals, as well as estates involving annual gifts and transfers.

I am happy to work with you and do as much or as little as required in order to complete the process in a satisfactory manner. As a result, I tend to be more cost effective than high street solicitors or banks, who may want to handle and control the whole probate process, which will be reflected in their fees.

Probate Costs

My time is charged at £100 per hour (no VAT is charged on this or any of the costs below).

Below are example guide prices but I am always happy to discuss my fees on an individual case by case basis for a more accurate quote if required:

Bracket A – Obtaining a Grant

Where I am required to just obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and do no other work. 

Assuming you provide me with all the information that I require, and I am only required to complete the paperwork and assuming no Inheritance is payable. 

  • Where no inheritance tax is payable my fees are likely to be are likely to be up to £875 plus disbursements.
  • Where inheritance tax is payable, my fees are likely to be up to £1,275 plus disbursements. 

Further guidance on inheritance tax can be found at Gov.UK 

Bracket B – Administering an Estate

Where I am required to fully administer an Estate, including obtaining the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration

  • Where no Inheritance is payable, no gift were made during the previous 7 years of the Deceased’s lifetime and there are a maximum of 5 assets my fees are likely to be up to £2,800 plus disbursements.
  • Where Inheritance is payable, and there are less than 5 assets and no gifts were made during the previous 7 years of the deceased's lifetime my fees are likely to be up to £5,000 plus disbursements.
  • Where Inheritance is payable, and there are more than 5 assets, and/or gifts were made during the previous 7 years of the deceased's lifetime my fees are likely to be up to £7,800 plus disbursements.

What work I will do under this service

The price of my full administration service typically involves work to:

  • Identify all the deceased’s assets (property, investments and possessions) and all their liabilities (debts, for example, loans and utility bills), to be able to work out the value of their estate.
  • Verify entitlement to the estate under the terms of the deceased’s Will, or in line with Intestacy laws if they died without a Will.
  • Obtain the necessary identification documents for the beneficiaries.
  • Pay Inheritance Tax to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) where applicable, and submit the correct Inheritance Tax return (required whether or not tax has to be paid),
  • Apply to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Representation - a document confirming the legal authority to administer the Estate.
  • After the Grant of Representation is supplied by the Probate Registry, sell the deceased’s assets, settle their liabilities, pay the final Estate administration expenses and account to HMRC for any further Inheritance Tax, any Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax due to or from the Estate.
  • Prepare Estate accounts recording all payments into and out of the Estate, and showing the balance left for distribution to the beneficiaries.
  • Send the Estate accounts to the Personal Representatives (such as the Executor) for approval.
  • Providing there are no challenges to the Estate or other complicating factors preventing distribution at this stage, transfer any assets that the beneficiaries wish to retain, and distribute the balance of the Estate funds.

 How long this type of service takes

  • On average, for simple cases I will try and conclude the estate administration within 6 - 12 months of being instructed:

  • We allow 3-4 months for obtaining the Grant of Representation from the point we are instructed.

  • Collecting assets then follows, which can take a further 3–4 months.

  • Once this has been done, distribution of the assets normally takes a further 3-4 months.

The above time estimates are for guidance only and vary depending upon the work involved. Large and/or more complex estates will take longer to conclude as there will likely be Inheritance  tax issues which will require us to liaise with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC can take up to 6 months to finalise their own position on an estate, and this increases the time it will take for me to conclude the estate administration.

Where there are one or more properties in an estate that need to be sold, there might be a delay if a buyer is not found quickly.

Disbursements

Disbursements are additional costs, which are required to be paid to other organisations. 

Likely Disbursements

  • Bankruptcy search £2 per name
  • Commissioner’s Fee £7 per executor
  • Grant application Fee £273 plus £1.50 for each official copy
  • Placing a notice in a local newspaper - £80
  • Placing a notice in the London Gazette - £110
  • Valuation Fees (professional valuations may be required for certain assets such as property or shares).

I can give you a more accurate quote once I have more information about your specific situation, but certain situations are likely to result in increased costs being incurred for example:

  • There is no will or it has been altered after the signature
  • Executors have died or refuse to act or have an existing Power of Attorney
  • The estate consists of shareholdings (stock and bonds)
  • Additional copies of the grant are required
  • Work required if the inheritance tax is payable, including preparing full inheritance tax account, submission to and dealing with HMRC
  • There are missing beneficiaries

Note: In the unlikely event your case will exceed your quote, you will be informed of this as early as possible.

Please find below example pricing for a simple estate, requiring administration (Bracket B), with one residential property, two bank accounts, no shares and two beneficiaries. The estate is valued at below £200,000.

Legal fees for the work of: Martin & Co Probate Services Ltd

  • Drafting and submitting the application to the Probate Registry 
  • Valuation of the estate
  • Calculation of the inheritance tax (verifying that it does not apply)
  • Administration of the estate                                                                                                           £2,800.00    

Applicable disbursements:

  • Probate Registry fee                                                                                                                         £273.00
  • Three official copies of the grant of probate                                                                                £4.50
  • Notice in local paper                                                                                                                         £80.00
  • Notice in the London Gazette                                                                                                         £110.00   

Value added Tax (VAT)                                                                                                                              £Nil    

Bracket B Total for fees, disbursements, and VAT                                                                                £3,267.50   

Legal information

I am a CILEx Practitioner (ACCA-Probate), which means I am authorised by CILEx Regulation to carry on probate activities, which is a reserved legal activity. I am required to carry out probate work on behalf of Martin & Co through a CILEX-ACCA Probate Entity, being Martin & Co Probate Services Limited, Company Number 13736283. Martin & Co Probate Services Limited is authorised and regulated as a CILEX-ACCA Probate Entity 3001223. If I carry out both: probate letters of administration work, and estate administration work, I am authorised and regulated by CILEx Regulation for the part of the work relating to probate or letters of administration work. The estate administration work is carried out by Martin & Co and regulated by ACCA, Martin & Co's ACCA number is 3289115.

Please feel free to talk to me if you need more information about this.

I have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) which covers all work that I provide. This insurance ensures that you do not lose out financially in the unlikely event that my firm makes a mistake.

Complaints

As a regulate firm we are required to have a Complaint Handling Procedure and ours is set out below:

  1. Here at Martin & Co Probate Services Limited we aim to provide the best possible service to all our clients, so if you have any concerns, please contact the individual managing your matter as soon as these arise so that they can be addressed promptly. If this does not address the issue to your satisfaction, you can raise a formal complaint, by contacting Chris Martin:
  2. Telephone on: 01273 281755
  3. Letter: Martin & Co Probate Services Ltd, 10 Shingle Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 5RH
  4. Email: info@martinandco.org.uk
  5. To help us understand your complaint and to ensure we do not miss any relevant information please provide your full name and contact details, and information about what you think has gone wrong and when this occurred.
  6. All complaints will be acknowledged by email within four working days, so that you have confirmation that your complaint is being investigated.
  7. We will then investigate your complaint, which will involve reviewing the file and speaking to relevant members of staff. We may need further information from you and will contact you if this is necessary. If appropriate we may invite you to a meeting to discuss the complaint. You would not be required to attend if you do not wish to, and we would be happy to discuss the matter with you on the telephone if you prefer.
  8. At the end of our investigation, we will provide you with a written response detailing our findings and outlining what action we propose to take. We aim to do this within 28 days of receiving your complaint but will advise you in advance if this period needs to be extended.
  9. Upon receipt of our letter detailing the outcome of our investigation and our proposed action, we would ask that within 14 days you contact us to either inform us:
  10. That you are satisfied with the action that has been taken and that we can therefore close the complaint, or
  11. That you are dissatisfied with what is proposed.
  12. Where you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our investigation, we will carry out a further review of the complaint and consider any new information, if there is any. We will aim to do this within 14 days and then provide you with a final written response to your complaint detailing the findings and proposed action.
  13. If your complaint relates to the service we have provided and you are still not satisfied with the outcome in our final written response to you or we have not provided a final written response to your complaint within 8 weeks of receiving it, then you may be able to have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints relating to poor service, but before accepting a complaint for investigation the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, and you are not satisfied with the outcome, then you can take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
  14. Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and
  15. No more than one year from the date of the act / omission that gave rise to the complaint; or
  16. No more than one year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.  
  17. The legal Ombudsman can be contacted by:
  18. Telephone: 0300 555 0333
  19. Email on enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
  20. Website: legalombudsman.org.uk
  21. Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH
  22. As the firm is authorised by the CILEx Regulation, if your complaint relates to the misconduct of a CILEX member or CILEX Practitioner (ACCA Probate), you can refer your complaint free of charge to CILEx Regulation for them to investigate. Misconduct is defined as any breach of the CILEX Code of Conduct: 2.-Code-of-Conduct-2019.pdf (cilexregulation.org.uk) Misconduct complaints must be made within 12 months of the act or omission that gave rise to the complaint or within 12 months of the complainant having knowledge of the act or omission that gave rise to the complaint, whichever is the greater. CILEx Regulation can be contacted by:
  23. Telephone: 01234 845770
  24. Email on info@cilexregulation.org.uk
  25. Website: https://cilexregulation.org.uk
  26. Post: Room 301, Endeavour House, Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire, MK45 4HS.
  27. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies such as ProMediate of Brow Farm, Top Road, Frodsham WA6 6SP, www.prometiate.co.uk exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme. Currently we do not agree to using an ADR scheme as we believe our own inhouse investigation supported where necessary by that provided by the Legal Ombudsman and CILEx Regulation is sufficient.  
  28. Martin & Co Probate Services Limited is authorised and regulated as a CILEX ACCA Probate Entity. Authorisation Number 3001223.

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