Since the government decided to increase probate fees as set out in the Draft Non Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018 there has been much discussion in the media. The government proposals seek to increase the existing fixed probate fee of £215...
How can we help?
Our team of experienced Wills and probate solicitors can assist you with any related service, from making a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney to the administration of estates and gifting property our specialists have the expertise to assist you. For further information or to arrange an appointment call us on 0203 837 3658 for a no obligation initial chat with one of our advisors.
Evening and Saturday appointments are available in some locations, contact us for more information.
You may be an executor to a Will or the closest blood-relative of someone who has died, this will clearly be a difficult time and our lawyers can provide help to deal with their estate.
Sometimes family members can no longer look after their own financial affairs and property. We will make sure you can help protect their assets.
Arrange an appointment - Wills & Probate
If you would like to discuss any of our services further call us on 0203 837 3658 for more information or to arrange an appointment with the team. We offer appointments with a member of our Wills and probate team in the following locations:
- St Helens
Our Wills and probate law team also offer home, hospital or residential home visits in certain cases.
Our probate and estate administration solicitors are delighted to offer a fixed price probate service.
As a founding member of Certainty - National Will Register, we are now able to offer free registration to our clients.
We can help with
Declaration of trust - making a trust
Free legal check up
Find out whether you and your family are covered - click the link to begin your free legal check up, answer a series of simple questions and you will receive a personal report which identifies legal needs you should consider - Get started
Wills and Probate FAQs
If you would like to speak to a member of our Wills, trusts and probate team for advice call us on 0203 837 3658, alternatively complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you to discuss your requirements.
Will my family need to go through Probate?
Sometimes people think that if they have a Will their family or the other beneficiaries can simply collect the assets and divide them in accordance with the Will. However, before they release funds, banks and investment holding institutions will often need a Grant of Probate (if there is a Will) or a Grant of Letters of Administration (if there is no Will). If a person who has died owned a house in their own name, a Grant will be needed to sell the house. Generally speaking if you have a house in your own name and/or have assets in the bank of more than £5,000 you will need to go through Probate. This means that the Executors of your Will (if you've made sure you've got one) will have to send the Will to the Probate Registry with an Affidavit telling the Probate Registry who they are and what your estate is worth. A Probate Judge will then grant them Probate to the Will. The Grant of Probate is what your Executors will need to collect in your assets.
Will there be Inheritance Tax to pay on my estate?
Inheritance Tax is charged at a rate of 40 % on the amount of your net estate (your assets less your debts) which exceeds the Inheritance Tax threshold at your date of death. This threshold changes each April (after The Budget usually) and is £325,000 this year. Anything you have above £325,000 could be taxed at 40 %. Some beneficiaries are exempt from Inheritance Tax however. Assets left to your spouse or a charity are exempt. Some assets which you may own get Inheritance Tax relief, such as a business interest in some circumstances. Sometimes, if you have given away assets during your lifetime, this can change what Inheritance Tax your estate has to pay on your death. Sometimes, there is even Inheritance Tax to pay when a gift is made. A carefully drafted Will could reduce the impact of Inheritance Tax on your estate.
There is no Will and no surviving spouse, does everything go to the eldest child?
No. It depends on your family circumstances. If someone dies without a valid Will then their estate is distributed under what is known as the intestacy rules. If someone is married on death all or large proportions of their estate will go to their surviving spouse. If there is no spouse then children may get all the estate equally between them. More distant relatives may share the estate if someone dies unmarried with no children.
We have to sell an elderly relative's house to pay for their care fees, but our relative doesn't understand their affairs anymore, what can we do?
You may need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed a Receiver for your relative. This will mean you can deal with their finances and property and sell their house to pay for care fees. The procedure can take a few months sometimes.
I've no mortgage now, can I give my house to my children?
Possibly but there are risks. If you give it away completely you won't own your home anymore, your children will. If they get divorced, are declared bankrupt or die then the place where you live is part of their assets and could be affected. You may have to leave your home through no fault of your own. Always seek advice about the implications and options if you are thinking of gifting away your home or a share in it.
Why use Stephensons?
Stephensons Trust Corporation - executors
Stephensons is one of the few solicitors in the country to operate a Trust Corporation.
With most firms of solicitors when someone appoints solicitors as executors of their estate in their Will it will actually be the individual partners in the firm. That means that the executor will be a person in the firm who unfortunately could die themselves or become ill or move on to another firm, all of which means that additional costs could be incurred by the estate in appointing another executor. At Stephensons, we recommend that when clients want to appoint Stephensons as executors that they do so through our Trust Corporation, which is a company. Obviously the company can never die, become ill or move on, so it means that there is more consistency and less risk. The actual legal work is still undertaken by the solicitors in the firm to the same high standard.
Stephensons Trust Corporation - deputies
Generally if solicitors are going to be appointed by the Court of Protection to act as an incapacitated person’s deputy the appointment will be of an individual solicitor at the firm. That solicitor could themselves die, get ill or move onto another firm. At Stephensons when applying to become an incapacitated person’s deputy we apply as Stephensons Trust Corporation. This is a company which cannot die, get ill or move on. The appointment of a trust company has a big advantage over individuals in providing consistency and removing the risk of something happening to the deputy. The actual legal work is still undertaken by the experienced lawyers at Stephensons who provide the same excellent service.
Stephensons Trust Corporation has been appointed as an executor by numerous clients and as a deputy by the Court of Protection. Indeed, being one of the first solicitors firms with a trust company to make applications to the court, we assisted the Court of Protection in creating the rules and practice directions which govern applications by trust companies.
We believe that having a trust company rather than the appointment of an individual solicitor provides clients and estates with an important additional degree of consistency and longevity.
It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, and you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf.
The national law firm, Stephensons, has appointed a new solicitor in its family law department as the firm continues to experience growing demand for its specialist family law services. Rachel Benett joins Stephensons’ Manchester office...
Wills & probate staff reorder
- Jill Rushton
- Nicola Mawson
- Claire Booth
- Rachelle Nuttall
- Simon Page
- Adam Sym
- Katie Mayren
- Megan Ryan-Loughran
- Sophie Holmes
- Rachel Haywood