Probate

We currently have eight members of the team across 7 offices, providing a wealth of experience and knowledge on all aspects of Private Client work. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Tim Gamester, Director and head of the department.

For clarity, each team member’s individual hourly rate has been stated below. This rate applies to all non-fixed fee work undertaken by that member of the team, or any work exceeding the scope of a fixed-fee agreement; undertaken at your instruction and with your agreement.

Tim Gamester – Director and Head of Department

£260 + VAT per hour

Tim is a Director of Biscoes and Head of our Private Client Department. He is a specialist in the field, with over 15 years experience, having qualified as Solicitor in 2007.

Tim has experience of complex estate administration and specialises in bespoke Inheritance Tax advice and succession planning.

Tim is based full time at our Petersfield office.

Jean Evans – Consultant Solicitor

£250 + VAT per hour

Jean is a former Managing Partner of Biscoes, having helped establish the ‘Biscoes’ name in 1995 and led the firm through numerous mergers and expansion plans over her years at the helm.  

She qualified as a Solicitor in 1985 and has wealth of experience in Private Client Law, dealing with all aspects of estate administration and elderly client care. Jean also has background in Family Law, allowing her further specialist insight on complicated separation and divorce issues affecting clients. 

Jean works three days a week and is based at our Portsmouth office.

Nick Gurney-Champion – Consultant Solicitor

£245 + VAT

Nick has many years general legal experience, particularly specialising in commercial property, property litigation and business affairs.  Until recently, Nick was Managing Partner and Head of the property team at Gurney-Champion & Co, a general high street firm based in Portsmouth.  On 1st February 2018 Nick and all his staff joined Biscoes with the aim of providing a broader range of legal services to clients and the ability to serve clients from many different locations in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Nick has extensive experience of handling Wills and Probate matters for his loyal client base, including administration of high-value estates and complex Inheritance Tax and Trust arrangements. 

Nick is based at our Ryde office on the Isle of Wight

Liyen Edin – Solicitor

£260 + VAT per hour

Liyen joined the team in 2016 having previously spent a period training with Biscoes in 2013. She has worked within the legal sector for 10 years. She qualified as a Solicitor in 2013 and is currently studying to become a qualified member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Liyen is able to handle all aspects of Private Client work, including intricate and complicated estate administration.

Multi-talented and exceptionally smart, Liyen also handles a number of Private Criminal matters and Courts Martials. Liyen obtained her Higher Rights of Audience (Criminal) in 2016 enabling her to appear and represent clients in the Crown Court and higher Courts. 

Liyen is based full-time at our Portsmouth office.

Alistair Burnett – Solicitor

£250 + VAT per hour

Alistair qualified as a solicitor over 30 years ago, and has worked for several local firms, in particular Chidlow and Co where he was a partner for some 8 years before the firm closed. Alistair joined Biscoes in 2016 and now specialises in Wills and Probate, having spent many years as a family lawyer and is able to handle the full spectrum of Private Client issues.

Alistair works four days a week at our Portchester office.

Alexandra Brannigan – Chartered legal Executive 

£220 + VAT per hour

Alexandra qualified as a Fellow of CILEx on 1st December 2017, enabling her to use the title of Chartered Legal Executive. Though newly qualified in title, Alexandra has a wealth of experience gained over the past 13 working at Biscoes, with 11 years spent working within the Private Client Department, building up her knowledge and honing her skills.  Alexandra has a strong background in Private Client work including drafting Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, administration of estates and a specialism in management of affairs of incapacitated clients.

Alexandra works three days a week at our Gosport offices.

Sophie Booker – Solicitor

£220 + VAT

Sophie joined Biscoes in May 2016 as a Paralegal with Private Client department.  She has subsequently qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in November 2017 and in January 2018 qualified as a Solicitor specialising in Wills, Probate and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Sophie is currently on maternity leave but is normally based at our Waterlooville office.

Alice Summers – Solicitor

£220 + VAT

Alice joined the firm as Trainee Solicitor and qualified in April 2017, having quickly found a natural passion and aptitude for Private Client Law. Alice is able to handle all aspects of Wills drafting, Estate Administration, Powers of Attorney and elderly client care.  

Alice is currently on maternity leave but is normally based at our Wickham office.

Let us Help…

Administering a person’s estate after death can be a hugely daunting and stressful process. If you have been appointed as Executor under a deceased’s person Will, or are acting as Administrator under an Intestacy, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that the estate assets are dealt with in the correct manner and in a timely fashion. It is essential to understand all of your legal duties and have an awareness of the extent of your lability to the beneficiaries of the estate, as well as creditors, HMRC and other concerned third-parties.  

Biscoes can help guide you through the process from start to finish. Our team has a wealth of experience handling the administration of estates; we can assist with modest enquires through to complex, taxable estates.

Why choose us….?

  • Face to face consultations with a fully qualified legal professional
  • Full legal support throughout the entire administration process 
  • Home visits available (N.B additional charges may apply)
  • Late night opening on Thursday between 5pm and 8pm at our North End office (on request)
  • We are a long established Hampshire based firm with 7 local offices
  • We pride ourselves on delivering a bespoke, personal service with direct contact with your individual legal adviser throughout the matter
  • We are fully regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and carry full Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Reassurance and comfort that the probate process has been completed and you have been fully discharged of all your duties and liabilities  

Probate: Full Administration Services

Our fees for assisting with the administration of estates are based upon the estimated time taken acting in the matter, charged at the hourly rate of the team member you instruct (see ‘Our Private Client Team’ guide for details of hourly rates).

For the purposes of applying our hourly rates, one hour is broken down into 10 ‘units’ of six minutes each. Writing a standard letter or sending a simple email would equate to one chargeable unit. All work that is undertaken on the matter is charged in this way, including, amongst other tasks; letters; emails telephone calls; attendance; research etc.

A deceased’s person estate can be as varied and diverse as the life they lived and no two estates are ever quite the same. As you can no doubt imagine therefore, it is sometimes difficult to say with absolute certainty what level of fees will be chargeable at the outset of the administration, due to the almost limitless number of variables that can affect the complexity of the estate.  

Factors to Consider

We have compiled a list below of just some of the factors that may affect the complexity of an estate:-

  • Whether there is a Will
  • The value of the estate
  • Whether or not the estate is subject to inheritance tax
  • Whether or not the estate requires an Inheritance Tax Account (this can sometimes be required even in situations where no tax is payable, due to other complicating factors)
  • The type and number of assets and liabilities involved in the estate
  • Involvement of foreign assets
  • The number of executors and their locations
  • The involvement of professional executors (solicitors / accountants etc.)  
  • The location of beneficiaries
  • The number of legacies
  • The number of residuary beneficiaries
  • Whether there are any charitable beneficiaries
  • Whether there are any unknown assets
  • Whether there are any unknown beneficiaries
  • Whether or not the estate requires an income tax return [NB this may be referred to an accountant]
  • Whether or not applications for the Transferable Nil Rate Band, Residence Nil Rate Band and Transferable Residence Nil Rate Band are required
  • Whether or not a Deed of Variation is requested
  • Whether there are any business assets
  • Whether there are any agricultural assets
  • The urgency of the application
  • Whether the Will contains any trusts
  • Complexity of Inheritance Tax calculations (requirements for grossing or double grossing of tax for example)
  • Whether or not there are any contentious aspects to the estate

 

Biscoes will always provide you with a bespoke estimate of fees once we have discussed initial instructions with you and considered the above factors

 

Example Fee Estimates

To help guide you as to the likely level of fees changeable for administering an estate, we have produced the following two sample estimates for both a modest taxable and non-taxable estate. The fees below include handling all aspects the estate administration from start to finish, including; contacting asset holders and creditors; preparing appropriate HMRC paperwork and (where applicable) calculating Inheritance Tax; applying for probate; gathering the estate assets; accounting and distribution of the estate.

Please note that the stated fee estimates below are based upon the team’s lowest hourly rate of £220 + VAT per hour. Should you chose to instruct one of the more experienced members of our team, then that person’s individual hourly rate would apply and the estimate would need to be adjusted accordingly. 

1. Non-Taxable Estate – Fee of £4500 + VAT

The above fee estimate would include the following level of administration and complexity:-

  • No requirement to complete an Inheritance Tax Account
  • Estate value up to £750,000
  • Not more than two executors
  • One property
  • Up to 10 different estate assets (bank accounts, shares, investments etc.)
  • Not more than 5 Residuary Beneficiaries (not consisting of Charitable institutions or other associations)
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries or executors
  • There are no claims against the estate 
  • None of the other items from the ‘Factor to Consider’ list above apply 

2. Taxable Estate – Fee of £9500 + VAT

Liability to Inheritance Tax, or the requirement to submit an Inheritance Tax Account in an estate is undoubtedly one of primary considerations in assessing the complexity of an estate. If an estate is liable to tax, your responsibilities as personal representative of the estate increase significantly and correspondingly, so does our duty to you as our client. A considerable amount more due diligence is required for taxable estates and consequently this is reflected in the increased price of our fee estimate.

The above fee estimate would include the following level of administration and complexity:-

  • Preparation and submission of IHT 400 Inheritance tax Account
  • Estate value from £325,000 - £1,000,000
  • Not more than two executors
  • Not more than 2 properties 
  • Up to 20 different estate assets (bank accounts, shares, investments etc.)
  • Not more than 10 Residuary Beneficiaries (not consisting of Charitable institutions or other associations)
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries or executors
  • There are no claims against the estate 
  • None of the other items from the ‘Factor to Consider’ list above apply  

 

Other Costs to Consider

Please note the above fee stated in examples 1 and 2 above do NOT include the following (if required):-

  • Conveyancing fees and disbursements (a separate quote can be provided for this)
  • Fees for other professionals and agents instructed on your behalf such as Accountants, Stock Brokers and Estate Agents
  • Inheritance Tax liability
  • Any Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax labilities arising throughout the course of the administration

In the process of administering the estate, you would also likely incur the following disbursements and expenses (these would all be recoverable from the estate).

Please note this is a non-exhaustive list:- 

  • Fees for copy death certificates - £4 per copy
  • Probate Court Fee - £155 application fee, plus 50p per copy of the Grant of Probate
  • Oath swear fee - £7 per Executor or Administrator swearing
  • Assets and Will Search – approximately £150
  • Statutory Notices in Newspapers – approximately £250

Probate – Obtaining a Grant of Representation Only   

You may feel that you simply require some assistance with obtaining the Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration for the estate, our team are more than happy to assist you on this limited retainer basis. In most cases we will able to handle this for you on a fixed fee basis.

We have created the following two fee estimate examples to help you as to likely costs:-

A. Obtaining Grant ONLY using IHT 205                  £750 plus VAT and disbursements

                                                                                            

The above price includes….

  • Initial consultation with qualified legal adviser where we explain the process and next steps
  • The executors/administrators providing us with date of death valuations for all assets and liabilities of the deceased [NB additional charges may apply if you require us to liaise with asset holders etc]
  • Free Deed of Renunciation prepared should an executor wish to renounce
  • Drafting of the IHT 205 (standard inheritance tax return) & IHT2017 (if required)
  • Drafting of the oath
  • Drafts sent to all executors/administrators for consideration and approval
  • Final documents prepared and instructions for signing/swearing given
  • Documents sent by special delivery (when required)
  • Completed probate papers sent to the Probate Registry
  • Grant obtained and forwarded to executors/administrators
  • Free storage of the original Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration

B. Obtaining Grant ONLY using IHT 400                  £1,500 plus VAT and disbursements

Please note that for taxable estates, the complexity the IHT400 form can vary radically. The above quote applies the following basic circumstances:-

  • Estate value from £325,000 - £2,000,000
  • Not more than two executors
  • Estate Assets consist of properties, cash, investments and shares only
  • No lifetime gifts or trust assets to be considered
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries or executors
  • There are no claims against the estate 
  • None of the other items from the ‘Factor to Consider’ list above apply 

 

The above price includes….

 

  • Initial consultation with qualified legal adviser where we explain the process and next steps
  • The executors/administrators providing us with date of death valuations for all assets and liabilities of the deceased [NB additional charges may apply if you require us to liaise with asset holders etc]
  • Free Deed of Renunciation prepared should an executor wish to renounce
  • Drafting of the IHT 400 and associated schedules (complex inheritance tax return)
  • Calculating inheritance tax payable
  • Drafting of the oath
  • Drafts sent to all executors/administrators for consideration and approval
  • Obtaining inheritance tax reference number
  • Arranging for payment of inheritance tax to be made
  • Final documents prepared and instructions for signing/swearing given
  • Documents sent by special delivery (when required)
  • Completed IHT 400 and associated schedules sent to HMRC
  • Receiving receipted IHT 421 from HMRC
  • Completed probate papers sent to the Probate Registry
  • Grant obtained and forwarded to executors/administrators
  • Free storage of the original Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
  • Obtaining clearance certificate from HMRC

Please note that for both of the quotes in A and B above, the following disbursements would apply:-

  • Fees for copy death certificates - £4 per copy
  • Probate Court Fee - £155 application fee, plus 50p per copy of the Grant of Probate
  • Oath swear fee - £7 per Executor or Administrator swearing
  • Inheritance Tax liability payable to HMRC (where applicable)

Consultation Only

We can also offer a fixed-fee initial consultation with one of our team, for you to openly discuss any queries you may have about the administration process:-

Fixed Fee Initial Consultation                                       £100 plus VAT

Fixed Fee Initial Consultation With Head of Department                                              £130 plus VAT [NB this fee will not be charged if you proceed to instruct us for any of the above services]

The above price includes….

  • Up to 60 minutes minutes with a fully qualified lawyer
  • Bespoke advice on the probate process