Administration of a deceased estate Help!

I`ve taken on the task of appointing a solicitor for my MiL to do the legal side of my FiL`s will , the FiL died a few days ago , first quote for doing the legal work nearly knocked me off my chair .

Further to your telephone conversation with my colleague xxxxxxxxx, I confirm the following costs:
  • Grant Only: we will draft, arrange execution and submit the application to obtain the Grant of Probate. The fee for this is from £950.00 plus VAT and disbursements (Court fee of £273.00 plus £1.50 each for copies required) as long as no Inheritance Tax is payable.
  • Full Administration: we will correspond with the asset and liability holders to obtain the date of death information; draft, arrange execution and submit the application to obtain the Grant of Probate; realise the assets of the estate; pay the liabilities of the estate; prepare Estate Accounts; deal with taxation matters and distribute the estate in accordance with the Will. The fee for this depends on the value of the estate but will start from £6,500.00 plus VAT and disbursements if the gross value of the estate is less than £325,000.00.

As far as I can see it is a mirror will , all is going to the MiL , they have joint bank accounts, he had a good civil service pension and an ISA in his name.

The only complication I can see is there is a serious clinical negligence claim in place against a care company,any compensation would go to the MiL I assume, the quoting solicitors say a Grant of Probate is required because of this

So my question is about fees,is this quote extortionate? seems a huge amount to me for a simple mirror will , obviously I`ll be shopping around, also how much work can you do yourself to reduce solicitor fees?

This is under English law and the FiL`s share of assets has a value of approx £200k.
Price is very reasonable for the dry bumming legal profession. With an estate of that value you should be able to deal with it yourself as there is no inheritance tax due.

The process is initially bewildering and comes when many people have other things to think about. There's no rush to get it done. Take your time, do your research, and pay as little as is legally permissable.
 

Poppy

LE
Not used them but the CoOp offer a fixed price will service - £245.00 for a mirror will. It seems it can be done on line.
that's just for preparing the wills isn't it? Applying for probate/grant of administration is a completely different ball game
I`ve taken on the task of appointing a solicitor for my MiL to do the legal side of my FiL`s will , the FiL died a few days ago , first quote for doing the legal work nearly knocked me off my chair .

Further to your telephone conversation with my colleague xxxxxxxxx, I confirm the following costs:
  • Grant Only: we will draft, arrange execution and submit the application to obtain the Grant of Probate. The fee for this is from £950.00 plus VAT and disbursements (Court fee of £273.00 plus £1.50 each for copies required) as long as no Inheritance Tax is payable.
  • Full Administration: we will correspond with the asset and liability holders to obtain the date of death information; draft, arrange execution and submit the application to obtain the Grant of Probate; realise the assets of the estate; pay the liabilities of the estate; prepare Estate Accounts; deal with taxation matters and distribute the estate in accordance with the Will. The fee for this depends on the value of the estate but will start from £6,500.00 plus VAT and disbursements if the gross value of the estate is less than £325,000.00.

As far as I can see it is a mirror will , all is going to the MiL , they have joint bank accounts, he had a good civil service pension and an ISA in his name.

The only complication I can see is there is a serious clinical negligence claim in place against a care company,any compensation would go to the MiL I assume, the quoting solicitors say a Grant of Probate is required because of this

So my question is about fees,is this quote extortionate? seems a huge amount to me for a simple mirror will , obviously I`ll be shopping around, also how much work can you do yourself to reduce solicitor fees?

This is under English law and the FiL`s share of assets has a value of approx £200k.
easy enough to do it yourself if three are only a few bank accounts - don't forget the "tel us once" service for all government departments, I've done this for my brother (no will) and now have a solicitor for both parents' estate (mum died October and dad March had mirror wills) but I've had to do the legwork chasing banks etc for probate statements.
 
I have a couple of other items to add that I forgot in my first reply.

If there is a house, car, or other property involved, find out whose name the house or car is registered to and if it is joint or part of the estate. See if you have to get the name and registration changed.

Do the same for any associated insurance policies on the property (house, car, etc.). Even if the property was joint, there may be some complications with how the insurance was written in the event of a claim.

Check if the surviving spouse has any valid life insurance policies and who is the beneficiary named on it. If the husband was the named beneficiary, see about getting the beneficiary changed to someone else (e.g. the beneficiaries of her will). As I've said I don't know UK law, but in Canada it is possible for a life insurance policy to not pay out if the only named beneficiary has pre-deceased the insured. They may have taken out life insurance policies on each other after marriage but not updated them since.


Once the estate is taken care of, make a collection of information to be used for when the surviving spouse passes away. This should include a copy of all bills (so you have account numbers, etc.), documents showing ownership of property, any outstanding debts, credit cards, insurance policies, where her will is kept, her funeral arrangements, etc. When you think of something else to add to the list, write it down.

If she has on-line accounts that you may wish to cancel or change, then record the user name and passwords. This can include free things like her Facebook page if she has such a thing. Some families want to take personal pages down after a death but it's almost impossible to get the company to respond to you if you don't have the password. Also get a list of any email addresses she uses. You may need this in order to contact people to get their address to send death notices (i.e. she may be corresponding by email with people she hasn't seen in decades).

Put this all together, properly labelled, in a place where you and other people (as you may croak first) will know where to get it when needed.
 
that's just for preparing the wills isn't it? Applying for probate/grant of administration is a completely different ball game

easy enough to do it yourself if three are only a few bank accounts - don't forget the "tel us once" service for all government departments, I've done this for my brother (no will) and now have a solicitor for both parents' estate (mum died October and dad March had mirror wills) but I've had to do the legwork chasing banks etc for probate statements.

The following may not be relevant as accounts are probably joint, and spousal rights are involved.

We found opening an Executors account was nigh on impossible, but may have been affected by Covid staffing.

If the deceased had an account at a bank, get them to open a Executor account to receive any funds that come in before and after probate. It can also be used to pay for out running expenses or whatever. The deceased's a/c will be frozen.


Not an expert, but recent experience. Worth researching at least.
 
The following may not be relevant as accounts are probably joint, and spousal rights are involved.

We found opening an Executors account was nigh on impossible, but may have been affected by Covid staffing.

If the deceased had an account at a bank, get them to open a Executor account to receive any funds that come in before and after probate. It can also be used to pay for out running expenses or whatever. The deceased's a/c will be frozen.


Not an expert, but recent experience. Worth researching at least.
What they do in Canada for an account that is the sole property of the deceased is the bank freezes the account as soon as they are informed of the death. The contents of the account are then transferred over to an estate account after the will has gone through probate. Income can continue to come into the regular account until the estate account is opened.

However, the executor cannot access the estate account until the will is probated, part of which is the process for the executor(s) getting control of the assets. Routine bills associated with the estate can be paid until then, but only under the supervision of the bank manager. Anything which came out of the account before the bank was notified will come under a microscope.

Once the bank has a certified copy of the probate documents they will turn over the estate account, including a set of cheque books, to the executor(s). There may be some internal bureaucracy involved, so this may not happen instantly.

The estate account does not pay interest. This is to ensure the estate does not earn income as that would require an additional tax return to be filed (there are generally two, one upon death to cover the tax year up to that point, and another for the estate itself later on).

The bank manager (or whoever handles estates at the bank) should be able to explain the process thoroughly from their end of things. They need to be informed right away however and a meeting arranged with the executor or joint executors. It is important to take notes about "things to do" when in the meeting because there will be things to do.

The important thing is to notify the bank right away and arrange a meeting. Take copies of the death certificate and the will for the bank's records. They may want a notarized copy of the will, so clarify this point when arranging the meeting.

The other thing to take to any meetings is ID for everyone involved. Find out what ID is required and be sure that everyone has it with them.

Various parties may want notarized copies of various documents. If you are dealing with a lawyer then he can likely make these for you. Make a reasonable estimate of how many copies you will need. If you are doing it without a lawyer then you may have to make other arrangements for doing this.

When contacting all the various parties that need to be notified, ask what documents they need and how they are to be submitted. Some will require notarized paper copies, while some may be happy with being emailed a photograph of the document, depending on the nature of what is involved.

The above is how things are done in Canada, or rather in Ontario in particular. Details may differ in the UK.
 

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