WHY INSTRUCT DIXON WARD?

Dixon Ward has been assisting clients with the administration of estates for well over 100 years. We believe in building strong and lasting relationships with our clients and have assisted numerous families with the administration of their estates for several generations.

Our continuing success is built purely on the quality of our service to our clients – we do not advertise externally or gain work through paid-for referrals. The majority of our work is through repeat business for our existing clients and their word of mouth recommendation to others.

The administration will be handled by a Solicitor who will be proactive, sympathetic and responsive and will work promptly and effectively to progress and complete the administration of the estate.

We are very experienced in dealing with estates from the relatively straight-forward to the highly complex of significant value. We are regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and have suitable professional indemnity insurance for all such work.

OUR PROBATE TEAM

  • Mark Prest is our Senior Partner and Head of Private Client. Mark has over 20 years’ experience of assisting clients with the administration of estates.  His hourly rate is currently £300 + VAT. Mark is a Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning.

  • Gregory White is a Partner in the firm and an experienced Probate Practitioner with 15 years+ experience of assisting clients.  His hourly rate is currently £280 + VAT. Gregory is a member of STEP.

  • Beverley Thompson-Haughton is a very experienced Probate Solicitor with in excess of 20 years experience. Her hourly rate is currently £280 + VAT.  Beverley is a member of STEP.

  • Frances Brickwood is a recently qualified Solicitor who trained with the firm and is bringing the firm’s ethos into her career as a Solicitor.  Her hourly rate is £230 + VAT. Frances is an affiliate member of STEP.

Whichever Solicitor from our Private Client Department is handling your file he or she will generally be assisted by a trainee Solicitor. Their hourly rate is currently £190 + VAT.

OUR CHARGES

Our charges will depend on the complexity of the estate and therefore the amount of time spent on the file. We set out below an indication of the fess and disbursements payable. This is assuming all of the assets are in the UK and there is no dispute concerning the estate.

APPLYING FOR THE GRANT, COLLECTING AND DISTRIBUTING THE ASSETS

A very straight forward estate might take 20 hours to administer and generate charges in the region of £4,000-£5,000 plus VAT and disbursements.


One of the most complex estates that we have had to deal in recent years involved the Solicitor dealing with the file and his trainee spending approximately 210 hours of time with charges slightly in excess of £50,000 plus VAT and disbursements.


A typical estate which in the Richmond area might be an estate in the region of £1m-£2m might involve 60-70 hours of work resulting in fees in the region of £14,000-£17,000 plus VAT and disbursements.


The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. Even a typical estate may have factors or issues which make it more complicated. The examples given above are purely illustrative. Once we have a clear overview of the assets of the estate and any issues relating to the Will or intestacy we will provide you with a detailed estimate of the likely charges.


We review our hourly rates at the end of March of each year.


You can find out more about the work involved in administering an estate here.

 

FACTORS THAT WILL ASSIST AND SIMPLIFY THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ESTATE:

•    There is a valid Will
•    There is no more than one property
•    There are a limited number of Bank or Building Society accounts
•    There is no large Portfolio of investments
•    There are only a few beneficiaries
•    There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes 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
•    There are no claims made against the estate.

 

FACTORS WHICH ARE LIKELY TO ADD TO THE COST OF ADMINISTERING THE ESTATE:

•    There is no Will
•    The Will contains complex trust provisions
•    There have been a large number of lifetime gifts made by the deceased in the 7 tax years prior to his or her death.
•    There is a large Portfolio of investments
•    There are a large number of beneficiaries
•    There is more than one property
•    There is a dispute between the beneficiaries
•    There is no relative or friend who can register the death and make the funeral arrangements.

 

HOW LONG WILL THE ADMINISTRATION TAKE?

In the case of a straight forward estate the administration of the estate can generally be dealt with within 6 months. Typically, obtaining the Grant a Probate takes 3 months.  Collecting in the assets may take 2-4 weeks. Once this has been done we can distribute the assets which normally takes once again 2-4 weeks.


In the case of a typical estate referred to above this may take 6-12 months to administer. In the case of this estate obtaining the Grant of Probate generally takes 3-5 months. Collecting in the assets is likely to take a further 1-2 months.  Distributing the assets normally takes a further 1-2 months but this can be delayed for example if there is any difficulty over selling the property in the estate.


In the case of a complex estate it is likely to take at least 6 months to obtain the Grant of Probate. Collecting in the assets is likely to take 1-2 months. The administration of the estate can be completed within 2 months. However, if there are assets which prove difficult to dispose of or if there are disputes arising in connection with the administration of the estate then this can delay completing the administration by as much as a further 6-12 months.

 

DISBURSEMENTS

In addition to our bill there will be disbursements. They would be the same at any firm.  They are made up of;
•    Probate Application fee of £155;
•    Fee of 50p for each sealed copy of the Grant of Probate;
•    Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department Searches (£3.85 inc VAT per beneficiary);
•    £79 plus VAT post in The London Gazette – to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors;
•    £116.13 plus VAT post in a Local Newspaper – this also helps protect against unexpected claims.


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Court Fees. We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.