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A Simple Guide to Probate Fees

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 159

If you have just lost a loved one, probate fees are probably the last thing you want to think about. So this simple guide should save you a lot of research.

Who Needs to Pay Probate Fees & Why

Basic fees need to be paid in order to gain access to your loved ones finances after death. You need to complete probate form PA3 and submit it to HM Courts and Tribunals Service with £105. They will then give you permission to deal with the deceased's estate and access their finances.

But it isn't necessary to apply for probate in some cases. If the deceased has left less than £5000 in the bank, after funeral expenses, or in the case of some banks, under £10,000, the bank may grant you access to the account on proof of death. In this case you will not need to apply for probate or pay the fee.

If your loved one has left in excess of these sums, you will need to pay the £105 fee to gain access to their finances. You will also need to pay an additional £1 for a letter for each financial institution you need to get permission from.

There is another way you can avoid paying the £105 fee. If all your loved ones assets are in joint names with you, you can simply apply to the financial institutions to have them transferred into your name. In this case you will not have to apply for probate, or pay the fees.

Beyond Basic Probate Fees

Getting permission from HM Courts Tribunals Service are just the basic probate fees you are likely to face. If the deceased has left complicated financial affairs, you may feel the need to get legal experts to deal with everything on your behalf.

Even if you are adept when it comes to dealing with finances and taxes, it can be difficult to cope with when you are dealing with the loss of your loved one at the same time. And getting someone to deal with the estate on your behalf will cost additional money, on top of the basic probate fees, but it may be worth it if the estate is large and you don't feel that you can deal with it all yourself.

How Much Do Legal Experts Charge for Dealing With Probate?

Legal fees for dealing with probate vary but you will usually be charged in one of the following ways:

1) Hourly Rate 2) Percentage of the estate 3) Per Activity Fee 4) Fixed Fee Probate

Before you consider appointing a legal expert to deal with probate, make sure you know exactly how you are being charged, then at least you will have some idea of what fees you will be expected to pay.

If you are paying an hourly rate, ask what it is from the beginning. Solicitor's fees are never cheap and some charge as much as £300 per hour.

If your legal expert takes a percentage of the estate, make sure they are very clear about what that percentage will be. Many solicitors charge a fee of 1.5%. While that may not seem much, it is actually £15,000 on an estate of $1,000,000. So make sure you ask yourself if your solicitor will need to do enough work to justify such a sum.

If your solicitor is working on a per activity fee, ask them for a sheet that breaks down what they charge for each activity. When you are paying £30 for a phone call, £100 for a letter and £10 for a simple email, fees can soon mount up.

Many people faced with the task of dealing with probate now opt to appoint a probate expert on the basis of fixed fee probate. Basically they sit down and talk to the probate expert and fixed probate fees are agreed for the handling of the estate. This gives peace of mind at a time when you have enough concerns, without worrying about spiralling legal fees.

+Tony Crocker is Director of IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd. With over 15 years' experience, he is knowledgeable and proficient in all matters regarding Probate, Will writing, Estate Planning and Inheritance tax avoidance.

IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd. are a specialist Will Writing and Probate Company offering nationwide coverage. The company provides fixed fee probate services; rates are agreed with clients in advance. Probate fees are based on the work that has to be carried out, rather than the estate value or at an hourly rate.

IWC are regulated by the Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners and registered at Companies House. Their head office is located in Croydon, Surrey, with satellite office coverage across most of England. Follow us on Twitter @IWCLtd

Source: EzineArticles
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