When a loved one dies, and you are an executor of their will, you may already know that you have to apply for probate. This simply involves filling out a form and sending off the required fee, so that you can be granted access to the deceased’s assets, such as their bank accounts and stocks and shares.
There are exceptions. You may not need to apply for probate if:
The deceased has less than £5000 in assets, after paying for funeral costs.
All the deceased’s assets are in joint names, with their next of kin.
What Happens Once You Are Granted Probate?
Once you are granted probate, you have many responsibilities as an executor of the will. But you don’t have to cope with it all yourself and that is where fixed fee probate comes in.
Dealing with a loved ones finances after they die, can be a traumatic and complicated process. If their estate is quite complicated and they have properties, or stocks and shares, it would be far easier to obtain legal assistance. The trouble is solicitors charge by the hour, and the eventual bill could be enormous if a lot of work is involved.
An excellent alternative is to use a probate services practitioner like IWC Probate Services. We offer a fixed free probate service, so that you know exactly what our fees and before we begin working on your behalf. This gives you piece of mind, knowing that the final fee will not exceed the amount we gave you upfront.
What Do Fixed Fee Probate Services Include?
Fixed fee probate services involve acting on your behalf to deal with all matters related to the deceased finances.
These services include:
Paying money owed by the deceased to others.
Chasing up debts owed to the deceased.
Dealing with financial institutions including banks and stock brokers.
Calculating and paying inheritance tax owed.
Delivering the assets to the beneficiaries, when everything else is complete.
These tasks can be overwhelming, at a time when you are still mourning the loss of someone close to you. It is understandable that you might want to attempt to do it all yourself, to save paying huge legal fees to a solicitor. But with fixed fee probate services, you don’t have to do it all yourself. And you will know the exact total costs before you commit to using a Probate practitioner, to deal with your loved one’s estate.
A fixed fee probate service has the potential to save you thousands of pounds in fees. When considering different companies to handle your probate case it’s always best to select a company who offers a fixed price, agreed with you in advance. This way, there can be no arguments later on. After all, as an executor, it is your duty to ensure fees are kept to a minimum so beneficiaries receive their full entitlement.
Some companies will charge £200 to £300 per hour, without committing to how many hours. In effect, you’re writing them a blank cheque to charge whatever they see fit. This is extremely risky; once other expenses, disbursements and 20% VAT have been added on, you could end up with an extortionate final bill.
How Long’s a Piece of String?
You may find some firms will simply refuse to give a quote, arguing that they can’t tell you how long a piece of string is. This is unfair, providing the case is straight forward; it’s pretty easy to calculate probate fees. The amount of work depends on factors such as how many beneficiaries, whether inheritance tax is owed, how assets are spread out. Don’t just accept they can’t give you a price.
Be Wary of Fixed Percentages
You’ll find many firms offering fixed fee probate but be wary of how they calculate their fixed price. Some firms will charge you a percentage based on the value of the estate. This too is unfair. The value of the estate bears little relevance as to the amount of work that the company must undertake. This allows them to make a hefty bonus, at your expense.
Will Writers as Executors
You may feel obliged to allow a certain company to manage probate on your behalf. Maybe they are a family solicitor, or sometimes professional will writers include themselves as executors. You are not obligated to use a company you don’t want to use, if you’re concerned about this, contact our probate helpline on 0800 612 6105, we're open until 10pm, 7 days a week.
IWC offer a true fixed fee probate service with no hidden extras. After an initial chat, we’ll prepare a quote which will detail the total cost. Our fees are calculated on the amount of work we carry out and we don’t ask for any advance payment.