Wills, Trusts, Probate and Power of Attorney
The friendly, experienced team here at Curtis Parkinson know exactly how worrying and heart-breaking it can be dealing with certain family issues – whether that is a death or making decisions for someone who is no longer able to do this for themselves. Because we understand, we can offer you a free initial consultation* on all matters connected with wills, trusts, probate and power of attorney from our offices in Bingham, Bulwell and Clifton, Nottingham.
Why make a will?
Many people put off writing a will for one reason or another; however it is important to understand that without one, should the unexpected happen, you will have no control as to who your estate will go to leaving spouses, children or other members of the family in a helpless position at a very distressing time.
In the worst case scenario, someone who you don’t like, or some distant relative may make a claim on your estate.
By making a will, you will be able to decide exactly who will get your money, property and possessions upon your death and who will have the responsibility of organising this (the executor). You will also be able to specify guardians, if required, for any dependent children to ensure their future welfare, or set up a trust to manage your assets for the benefit of your dependents.
“Making a will doesn’t make things happen any quicker, but does make things easier when they do.”
Making a will doesn’t have to be a stressful or worrying task and certainly not one to be put off! Here at Curtis Parkinson we make it as straightforward as possible for you. We will also be able to update any will should your circumstances change through marriage or divorce. We promise to handle your requirements sensitively and efficiently, explaining all the legal aspects in a clear and straightforward manner.
Costs: Last Will and Testament
Simple Single Will – From £150.00
Simple Joint Wills (ideal for couples) – From £225.00
All prices shown exclude VAT and any necessary expenses which have to be paid to others
For insurance against lost wills, we offer optional registration on the Certainty National Wills Register for £20.
We also offer a Free Will Scheme for clients over 55 in conjunction with Cancer Research UK and with the Stroke Association for the over 60s.
(Subject to conditions – please contact us now for details)
In conjunction with leading local funeral directors, A W Lymn The Family Service or C Terry Funeral Directors, we can also offer a Free Voucher towards funeral costs valued at up to £100.
For more information, please contact our legal team.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a flexible way of giving away assets without passing them directly to the beneficiaries. You can set up a trust at any point during your life.
A trust, for example, can be used to:
- Look after assets for beneficiaries who are not capable of doing so for themselves – usually children or a mentally incapacitated dependant.
- To help ensure a family business remains within the family.
- Reduce the risk that the beneficiary will lose the asset (eg: through divorce or bankruptcy)
- Provide a lifetime income for one beneficiary (eg: a spouse) whilst retaining the capital for the benefit of others (eg: children or grandchildren)
A trust can also form part of your tax plans as it may help to reduce potential tax liabilities and may be created when you die as part of your will.
The team at Curtis Parkinson in Nottingham has many years’ experience in setting up trusts. As there are a number of different types of trust, we would recommend that you speak to us to go through the benefits and enable us to advise you on which type would best meet your needs. This includes assisting you with the creation and running of a trust, ongoing administration and registering it with HM Revenue and Customs.
For more information, or to speak to a member of the team, please contact us.
‘Probate’ is the distribution of a person’s property, money and possessions after they die.
Providing you have left a will, the person/s named in this (the executor) will be responsible for organising this distribution as per your wishes. If you have died without leaving a will, the law will decide who gets what. If the named executor cannot, or does not want to be involved in probate, it normally falls to your next of kin.
Probate can, on some occasions, be complicated. The executor will need to apply to the Probate Registry to be appointed prior to being able to do anything as well as trying to understand the jargon and relevant documents – all of which can further add to the stress of losing a loved one.
This is why many people choose a solicitor to either act as an executor as we have the experience to sympathetically handle the affairs of the deceased, thus taking the burden from a grieving person; or guide an executor through the process.
We can advise on the appointment of a suitable executor when drafting your will.
Our Fees – Probate (Uncontested)
We are required to publish guidance on fees, processes and timescales. This relates to uncontested cases where all the assets and the beneficiaries are within the UK. It does not cover the costs of dealing with any trust which comes into operation as a result of the will. Separate costs will apply.
We normally charge on a time spent basis for the work that we undertake (prices are exclusive of VAT):
Grade A Solicitor with 8 years post qualification experience – £280.00 per hour
Grade B Solicitor with 4 years post qualification experience – £260.00 per hour
Grade C Other Solicitors and Legal Executives and fee-earners of equivalent experience – £240.00 per hour
Grade D Trainee Solicitor, Paralegals and fee-earners of equivalent experience – £146.00 per hour
We are able to provide fixed fees for some types of work; it will depend on your case. Even if we provide you with a fixed fee, the cost can change dependant on the circumstances.
Examples (Prices are exclusive of VAT)
Probate Application – IHT 215 (set fee for simple probate application with form IHT205 and you provide the figures) – £500.00
Probate Application – IHT 400 (set fee for probate application with form IHT400 provided not complex and you provide the figures) – £1000.00
Life Interest Trust Will on the home (set fee to set up the trust at HM Land Registry) – £420.00
Administration of an Estate (Hourly rate as above, it generally takes half an hour per ‘thing’ that we have to deal with so it will depend on the individual circumstances. As a guide it generally takes 4 to 10 hours for us to handle an estate) – £1,120.00 to £2,800.00
In particular cases, we can charge a percentage of the estate. We will advise if this is relevant to your case. This can be where there is particular complexity, value or risk relating to the estate. We will advise where relevant.
Expenses are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Probate Application fees. We handle the payment of the Expenses on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. The following are a list of common expenses, it will depend on your circumstances as to which are relevant:
Probate Court Fee (application fee for probate unless the estate is less than £5,000.00) – £155.00
Settling Fee (if the oath required for probate or affidavit requires checking) – £12.00
Identity Verification -Mandatory (Anti Money Laundering electronic verification per person required – England only) – £15.00 + VAT
Certainty Will Search (To search to see if there is a Will or later Will – Approximate) – £100.00 + VAT
S27 Statutory Notice (To advertise for unknown claims and creditors – Approximate) – £200.00 + VAT
Unclaimed Asset Search (To see if there are any other assets you are not aware of – Approximate) – £150.00 + VAT
HM Land Registration Fee (Dependant on value of property – Check Fee) – £40.00
Copy title (To check ownership of property at HM Land Registry) – £6.00
There are various taxes that can be relevant to an estate, it is case specific.
We will advise where relevant as to the duty applicable to the estate in question. For an overview, please visit Direct Gov – Inheritance Tax.
Income tax and capital gains tax
If this is applicable, we can obtain a quote and instruct an accountant on your behalf to deal with tax returns.
Stages of the process
It varies according to the circumstances and we will explain fully when you become a client. However some example stages in the process are:
- You instruct us and provide all necessary Identification evidence
- Pay any money required on account of costs and expenses
- You provide details of the estate
- We verify the details of the estate
- We carry out searches and identification checks
- Obtain further information if required
- Make application for probate
- Close accounts and settle liabilities
- Prepare estate accounts for approval by you
There is no set timescale for probate and administration. If you have any expectation you must let us know when instructing.
It generally takes 4-8 weeks to obtain probate where we do not require HM Revenue & Customs to provide a certificate for probate, where required it normally takes 12-16 weeks. The process of finalising administration will normally take around 4-8 weeks from when probate is received or when the property is sold.
Factors that increase cost and time
- Sale of property – you will need to enter into a separate retainer with our conveyancing department
- Disputes and disagreements
- You do not do what we ask you to in a timely and diligent manner
- New matters arising
- DWP investigating the estate
- HM Revenue & Customs investigating the estate
- Tax returns being required
- This list is not exhaustive and is intended for examples only
Risk Assessments & Fee Assumptions
- There is no dispute and you are instructing us in your proposed capacity as Executor/Administrator and will provide us with all the information in a diligent manner and co-operate with us diligently throughout.
- If new or unforeseen matters come to light you must notify us immediately so that our risk assessments and costs can be revised.
- If you do not instruct us to undertake bankruptcy searches, will search, unclaimed assets search and enter a statutory notice the risk to you personally increases.
- If the deceased was in receipt of any benefits which were means tested i.e. they only received them due to their level of savings and or income – you must obtain clearance from the DWP prior to distributing any monies. Essentially, if the deceased claimed benefits that they were not entitled to in life then the DWP can and will request these back. You as the administrator are personally responsible for this and if you have distributed the estate and can’t recover it from the beneficiaries it WILL come out of your own monies! It can take over 6 months to deal with a claim from DWP or get clearance.
- All beneficiaries are co-operative and diligent – if not, they can increase the time on your matter considerably.
Disputes between beneficiaries can be extremely frustrating, particularly where the dispute itself is arguably disproportionate. In those circumstances, the Executor(s)/administrator(s) have one of two options:
- Either leave the beneficiaries to ‘fight it out’ and you hold the estate assets (or sufficient assets without delaying payment to other beneficiaries) pending determination of the dispute, or
- Where the dispute is causing unnecessary delays and neither beneficiary is willing to issue proceedings, the Executor(s)/administrator(s) may threaten and, if necessary, seek court directions
In these circumstances where we are the Executor(s)/administrator(s), we may apply to the Court for directions, the costs of which will be borne by the Estate. If you are the Executor(s)/administrator(s) and you refuse to make application to the court if so advised, we may in our absolute discretion terminate our retainer. We will have to revise our costs estimate if disputes arise, they can take a considerable time and cost to resolve.
Commissions and Authority to Retain Received Commissions
It is part of our business plan that where we receive commission from an Independent Financial Adviser that you agree to this commission being paid to and retained by us and shall belong to us without us having to account to you for the receipt of the monies.
In the event that we receive commission you will be notified in writing of the amount and terms. Upon notification you agree that your irrevocable consent is then given and such commission may be retained by us, without our being liable to account to you for it.
In doing so you allow us to maintain reasonable fees in relation to the foundation fees however the receipt or not or the size of the commission has no influence upon us in relation to the choice of Independent Financial Adviser.
Curt Thomas FILEX, Emily Maybury Solicitor and Kenneth Curtis Solicitor, Partner and member of STEP who also supervises handle Probate matters As you will see we receive excellent reviews.
For more information, please contact our legal team.
Power of Attorney
What is this?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives someone (the attorney) authority to make certain decisions on someone else’s behalf. Lasting Powers of Attorney have replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney since 2007 and are a more versatile document.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)
Property & Affairs – allows the attorney to deal with your property and finance as you specify, even before capacity is lost;
Health and Personal Welfare – allows the attorney to make decisions on your health and welfare only when you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself.
When choosing an attorney, it is vital that you chose a trustworthy person with the necessary skills to make the most appropriate and beneficial decisions on your behalf. You can appoint more than one attorney and instruct them to either work together or independently depending on specified circumstances.
When can your attorney act?
Your attorney can only act when the document has been signed by both of you and independently witnessed by a ‘certificate provider’ that you understand the nature and scope of the document and haven’t been unduly coerced into signing. It must also be registered with the Office of Public Guardian.
Why make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
It is prudent to create a Lasting Power of Attorney, as you never know when they may be needed. They are not restricted to the elderly and infirm as no one has a crystal ball as to what lies in the future, or when the Lasting Power of Attorney may be needed. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy if you lose capacity for any reason, suffering an accident, illness, stroke or any number of unforeseen events that may mean you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. The appointment of a deputy is a long and expensive process, which can lead to disputes between family members and the deputy appointed may not reflect your wishes or desires.
As an impartial and sympathetic third party, Curtis Parkinson can draw up the document and advise you on the best courses of action if you are considering this option. Please Contact us now at our Nottingham office for a free initial conversation.
For more information, or to arrange an appointment, contact our legal team.
Maggie Eley – Wills 1
Shirley Bennett – Wills 2
W. H. Watmore -Wills 3
W. H. Watmore
Joanne Goldstein – Wills 4
T. King – Wills 5
John Harrison – Wills 6
Michael Eaton – Wills 7
Geoff & Sheila Watnall – Wills 8
Geoff & Sheila Watnall
Rita Welbourne – Wills 9
Debbie Spencer – Wills 10