Private Client


Giving you complete peace of mind


Few people anticipate what may happen to their finances and affairs if they were to die or become unable to manage them and, for most of us, it is not something that we spend a lot of time thinking about.

Our team of Private Client specialists can help you put everything in place to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your death, or if you become unable to manage your own finances and affairs for any reason.

The sorts of matters that we commonly advise on include:


Wills


We can guide you through making a Will to ensure that the people you want to benefit from your assets do so. We can help you choose your Executors (the people responsible for carrying out your wishes) and Guardians for your children. We provide full advice regarding Inheritance Tax and the tax consequences of gifts.

A basic Will for a single person is usually done at a fixed fee of £252 (inclusive of VAT). For basic ‘mirror’ Wills for a couple, our usual fixed fee is £372 (inclusive of VAT). If your Will is more complex, or involves the use of a Trust, a bespoke quote will be provided at your initial meeting. 


Probate & Administration of Estates


When a loved one passes away it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do. We can help you discover the extent of their assets and liabilities, apply for the Grant to allow you to manage and wind up their estate, calculate and pay any tax, distribute the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will or, if there is no Will, the rules of Intestacy and advise as to steps that might be taken to mitigate Inheritance Tax (both now and in the future).

We anticipate that a straightforward estate administration (which is not contested and wehre all of the assets are in the UK) will take between 15 and 25 hours work at the fee earner’s hourly rate. Total costs are estimated at £2,400 to £5,500 (plus VAT and expenses/disbursements*). We will handle the full administration process for you.

Our fee earners’ hourly rates are between £220 per house (plus VAT) and £160 per hour (plus VAT).  The hourly rate depends on the experience and qualifications of the individual fee earner. You can find out more about our fee earners by clicking ‘Meet our Lawyers’ above.

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of your matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, the costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property (or properties) and multiple bank accounts, the costs will be at the higher end, and may exceed the estimate above.

This quote is for estates where:
  • There is a valid UK will (or a straightforward intestacy e.g. where there is a surviving spouse and no children, or where there is no surviving spouse, but there are surviving adult children who are all able to manage their own affairs)
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than five bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other assets
  • There are one to four adult beneficiaries who are all able to manage their own affairs
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes do 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
  • No trust arises under the Will/Intestacy
  • There are no claims made against the estate
How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6 to 12 months. Typically, obtaining the Grant takes 6 to 8 weeks. Collecting assets and settling liabilities then follows, which is dependent on the speed of response (in particular from HMRC and the DWP). Once this has been done (subject to clearance from claims against the estate) we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 4 to 8 weeks.

If Inheritance Tax is payable, or a full account to HMRC is required for any other reason, additional costs will arise and it is estimated that the matter will take between 15 and 35 hours work at the fee earner’s hourly rate. Total costs are estimated at £2,400 to £7,700 (plus VAT and expenses/disbursements*).

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 12 to 18 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 10 to12 weeks. Collecting assets and settling liabilities then follows, which is dependent on the speed of response (in particular from HMRC and the DWP). Once this has been done (subject to clearance from claims against the estate) we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 4 to 8 weeks.

Expenses/Disbursements* which are in addition to these fees are commonly as follows:
  • Probate application fee - £155 
  • Land Charges Department searches - £2 (per UK-based beneficiary)
  • Notice in The London Gazette and a local newspaper to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors - £250 (approximately.  This depends on which newspaper is required.)
*Expenses/Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of expenses/disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Potential additional costs:
  • If there is no Will, or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds), there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly, depending on the family circumstances, the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a quote once we have more information.
  • If a trust arises under the Will/Intestacy there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly, depending on the type and nature of the trust. We can give you a quote once we have more information.
  • If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50 each (we usually suggest to obtain one per asset and a few spares).
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
  • Submission of a Tax Return (Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax) to HMRC is not included. If the tax position of the Estate is complex, we may recommend the instruction of an accountant and we can assist with this.
If you wish us to undertake only a specific part of the administration for you, a quote will be provided (which is based on the fee earner’s hourly rate) once we have clarified which aspects of the administration you do and do not wish for us to undertake on your behalf. 


Powers of Attorney


We can help you ensure that your property and finances can be managed if you become unable to do so yourself. We can record any wishes you may have about medical treatment, in the event that you are unable to give your consent to treatment in the future. We can also assist you to hand over the management of your property and finances to a trusted person in the event that you are unwilling to manage them yourself, such as if you leave the country for an extended period.

Our Powers of Attorney can often be done for an agreed fee. Example fees (inclusive of VAT) are listed below, but are subject to your own precise requirements:
 
  • General Power of Attorney - £192.00
  • Single Lasting Power of Attorney (either Property & Finance or Health & Welfare) - £372 to £432
  • Double Lasting Power of Attorney (either Property & Finance and Health & Welfare for a single person, or one type for each of a couple) - £612 to £672
  • Four Lasting Powers of Attorney (both Property & Finance and Health & Welfare for a couple) - £912 to £972
  • Registration of an Enduring Power of Attorney - £372
 
In addition to our fees, a registration fee is payable to the Office of the Public Guardian of £82 per Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney. This registration fee may be reduced or exempted if you are in receipt of certain means tested benefits, or are on a low income.


Court of Protection


If you believe that a loved one has lost the capacity to manage their own property and finance we can help you make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed yourself, or to have one of our experienced solicitors appointed, as Deputy to manage their affairs. We can help with the day to day management of finances, management of investments and preparation of annual returns to the Office of the Public Guardian. We can also apply to the Court of Protection for a Statutory Will, if they have not made a Will and are no longer able to do so.

As these applications can vary significantly in complexity, a quote will be provided at your meeting.


Trusts


We can assist you with setting up and the ongoing administration of Trust(s). Trusts can be made under your Will or during your lifetime and can take many forms. We can discuss the options available to you and help you to make an informed choice about what type of Trust is most suitable for you and your circumstances.  We can also advise Trustees as to their ongoing obligations with the management of the Trust.

Trusts are often used to safeguard family wealth, to ensure that suitable provision is made for a child or a disabled person, or in relation to co-owned property.

As Trusts are bespoke and tailored to your individual circumstances, a quote will be provided at your meeting.

For more information, or to arrange an initial meeting, please contact the Private Client team on 01937 547018 / 01937 547029 or email at info@hartlaw.co.uk.

News From Our Blog

Coronavirus - update

Please be advised in accordance with Government guidelines we have taken the difficult yet important decision to prioritise our staff and clients’ health and wellbeing in light of the Coronavirus. As such we have made temporary changes to our working patterns. Please be assured so far as is possible we are still operating ‘business as usual’ although to protect everyone, we are now largely working from home and conducting meetings remotely/electronically. In order to minimise any potential risk to our staff and our valued clients, our main office will not be open to the public and we would appreciate where possible, any correspondence to be sent via email to your case manager directly or to our central address which is info@hartlaw.co.uk
 
Please avoid sending any payments by cheque and instead send all payments directly to us via bank transfer or make payments over the telephone to 01937 547004.
 
Please note any emails and/or telephone calls to your case manager will still be accessed as normal and your case will be progressed.  We are sure that you understand in the current circumstances, your case may be passed on to an alternative fee earner.
 
Please also note than any email communication during this time will automatically be copied to one of our partners as well as your case manager. 
 
Our central office telephone number 01937 547000 is still being operated as normal during our business hours of 9am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday.
 
On behalf of all of the partners and team at Hartlaw LLP, we thank you for your continued support during these difficult times. Please be assured we remain committed to providing the highest quality of service and legal advice to our clients and the local community and we hope that you all stay safe and look after each other.