Bates Wells & Braithwaite Wills, Trusts & Probate Services

Glenn Blair and Catherine Palmer are experienced in advising on and preparing documents for Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Trusts. They can also help in obtaining a Grant of Probate and conducting Estate Administration and in making applications to the Court of Protection.

See our Wills, Trusts & Probate Services below;

WILL TRUSTS AND PROBATE
Court of Protection

It is a commonly-held belief that it is not necessary to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) until it is needed – i.e. until someone loses the ability to deal with their own affairs. However, by that stage it is too late, as the individual will also have lost the ability (the necessary mental capacity) to sign an LPA.

If you have a relative who has lost mental capacity and you need to help them with their affairs, you will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their Deputy. At Bates Wells & Braithwaite, we can assist you with making your application to the Court, issuing the necessary Notices to specified individuals and obtaining a Deputy’s Bond, so that you can assume your role.

What will happen?

We will meet with you to discuss the process and the cost of applying for a Court of Protection Deputyship Order, explain to you the information which will be required, and complete the final forms for signature by you. We will also submit the request for a mental capacity assessment to your loved-one’s medical practitioner. We will then send all completed documents to the Court, together with your fee, and deal with any queries which the Court may have.

Once your application has been issued (accepted by the Court), we will issue Notices on your behalf informing relevant people of your application – this is a legal requirement.

Finally, once the Order is made, we will assist you in obtaining your Deputy’s Bond.

Fees

We charge an hourly fee of £205 plus VAT for this work. The Court automatically allows for a charge of £850 plus VAT, provided there is no extra or unusual work involved (which is usually quite rare) and providing there is no extra or unforseen work we will limit our fees to this level.  If there is extra work involved, the Court usually gives permission for Deputy’s to agree payment of a higher sum (if not agreed, costs will need to be assessed by the Court).  In the unlikely event that extra work is required a discussion on costs will be held at the earliest opportunity.

Various expenses may also be required such as (but not limited to) the following:

  • GP/Medical Professional Fee – can vary
  • Court Application Fee – £385
  • Other court fees (if required) – can vary (usually nothing extra is required)
  • Bond Fee (type of insurance that can be requested by the Court) – can vary
  • Ongoing assessment/supervision fees – vary depending on level of assests

Powers of Attorney

As people live longer, the chances of an individual reaching a point where they are unable to handle their own affairs increase. It is therefore important that you sign and register a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), giving another person or persons power to deal with your finances in the event that you become physically or mentally unable to do so. You can also make a Lasting Power of Attorney appointing someone to make decisions regarding your health and welfare. Both of these documents need to be completed whilst you (the Donor) still have the mental capacity to do so.

At Bates Wells & Braithwaite, we can explain exactly how to make, register and use Lasting Powers of Attorney. We can also advise on the appointment of suitable Attorneys and (usually) act as your Certificate Provider for the document – that is, sign to confirm that, in our opinion, you have the necessary capacity.

What will happen?

We will meet with you to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney in general and help you decide which document(s) you require. We will also explain the duties and responsibilities of an Attorney, to help you ensure that you are appointing suitable people.

When you sign the document, we will witness your signature and then send the LPA to your Attorneys for them to sign.

We will then arrange for the LPA to be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian and when this has been done, provide you with the necessary certified copies for your use.

Additional Services

We will store your original Lasting Power of Attorney in our strong room free of charge and provide further certified copies if required in the future (there may be a small charge for additional certified copies).

The Directors of Bates Wells & Braithwaite are prepared to be appointed as your Attorney, if there is no-one else whom you feel is appropriate. In these circumstances, we are precluded from acting as your Certificate Provider and someone else will need to be named in that role – if required, we can provide examples of the type of people who may be suitible to fulfill this role.

We can also deal with the registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney

Fees

Single LPA document – £420 + VAT
Double LPA documents – £600 + VAT
2 x double LPA documents – £900 + VAT

Prices of other combinations and registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney available on request.  A discount may be offered if you have new Wills and Powers of Attorney drawn up at the same time.

Wills

Wills are an important document and necessary to ensure that your estate, after your death, is dealt with in the way you would have wanted. Producing a Will is a service many organisations offer. However, by providing proper advice about the content and implications of dealing with things in a certain way professional regulated bodies such as Bates Wells & Braithwaite Solicitors can ensure that your aims are achieved.

Making a Will at any age can be seen as a daunting process, but Glenn and Catherine will do their best to make the process as simple and worry free as possible.

If you already have a Will and wish to discuss updates or amendments this may be possible via the use of a Codicil rather than a full new Will, this is something that Bates Wells & Braithwaite can advise on and prepare for you if needed.

What will happen?

We will meet with you face to face to discuss your circumstances and wishes, provide you with advice to suit your needs, including advice on Inheritance Tax if required.

A draft document is then prepared and sent to you for approval along with a detailed letter explaining the clauses used (in plain English).

We will then oversee the signing and witnessing of the final document

Additional Services

We can meet with you at our offices or at your home*

We can arrange for the safe storage of your documents, free of charge

After your death we offer to meet with your executors to ensure they know what is required of them, this is a no obligation meeting and is usually free of charge.

Fees

For simple Wills this firm operates a fixed cost approach as follows:

Single Will – £200 + VAT

Mirror Will – £300 + VAT (a pair of wills that is broadly on the same terms as each other)

For more complicated Wills or advice, the fee will be discussed with you before work is conducted (usually at the end of the first meeting) and will either be charged at a higher fixed fee (usually in £50 increments)  or based on an hourly rate of £205 + VAT per hour.

Codicils start at £150 + VAT for a single codicil or £200+VAT for mirror codicils, but final price is confirmed after the initial meeting and depends on the amount of advice given and the number and nature of the changes being made from your original Will.

Please note that depending on the level of changes you are seeking to make, or number of codicils you already have we reserve the right to refuse to offer a Codicil as an option.

If you are making Wills at the same time as Lasting Powers of Attorney a reduced “package” fee might be offered.

*home visits need to be pre-arranged and additional fees may apply

Trusts

Whilst Trusts in a general sense are not as useful as they may have once been, they can still have uses and depending on circumstances be the best way to achieve your aim.

We can advise on and assist with the setting up of various different trusts including but not limited to trusts created by a Will, Trusts for Disabled Beneficiaries, and Trusts for Bereaved Minors.

We can discuss with you the tax implications of various trusts including Inheritance Tax consequences to your own estate for paying money into a trust as well as any on-going Inheritance tax liabilities of the trust itself, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax*

We can also discuss the wider issues with regards setting up trusts such as Deliberate Deprivation of Capital or the consequences of giving assets away.

* Whilst we can advise on what taxes may apply and when, we may not be able to provide you with exact calculations and complete tax returns for you and may recommend you speak to an independent accountant for these aspects.

Fees

We charge an hourly rate of £205 + VAT.

If the matter is complicated or under time restraints we may charge £215 per hour + VAT.

Probate

Certain things in life are inevitable and unfortunately one of those things is death. Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be hard enough anyway but it is at this time that we are often forced into learning a whole new system of dealing with deceased’s assets and liabilities which often includes applying for a Grant of Probate (or Letter of Administration if there is no Will).

Glenn Blair and Catherine Palmer are on hand to offer advice and assistance to suit your needs which can be in simply explaining the process, completing the forms to obtain probate or in doing all the work in administering an estate.

Guidance

Following a death we can hold a meeting with you to discuss various options and ways forward. Our aim is for you to understand the process and work involved so you can make an informed decision about how you would like to proceed.

We can also help you plan for what work is essential and what is not so you can focus on those matters that really concern you in the early days following a death such as the funeral.

If the deceased held a Will with this firm, or following the meeting we receive instructions for further work then this meeting is usually free of charge although if it is not you will be advised before the meeting and costs will be capped at £205 + VAT.

Grant of Probate

We can help you in obtaining a Grant of Probate. This work is usually done as a fixed fee for “simple” cases – smaller estates where an IHT205 needs to be completed we charge £600 + VAT.

For larger estates where an IHT400 is required (which is in all cases where Inheritance Tax might be due) we charge £215 + VAT per hour and estimate that between 5 and 8 hours of time will be required.

We would advise you of any increased costs as soon as it became clear that any additional unusual work was required.

Please note that these fees are on the assumption that all figures and information required are provided to this firm without additional correspondence from the firm required.

Administration of Estate

We can complete all the work in the estate on your behalf including:

  • Liaising with third parties to close accounts and obtain all information required for a probate application
  • Calculating/Arranging for payment of Inheritance Tax
  • Obtaining Probate
  • Closing Accounts/Selling Assets
  • Paying debts/liabilities
  • Distributing estate according to the Will
  • If required, we can also act as the Executor’s attorney and do all the work on their behalf without needing on-going signatures or input from the Executor.

Estate administration work is conducted at an hourly rate of £205 + VAT for simple matters or £215 + VAT for complicated matters.  If inheritance tax is due or an IHT400 has to be completed in an estate the higher hourly rate will apply.

As an example, a medium sized estate (assets below the standard Inheritance Tax thresholds, including a property and a number of bank accounts and investments) usually costs between £2,000 and £4,000.

A larger estate (assets above the standard Inheritance Tax thresholds but below £2 million) costs would usually be between £3,500 and £5,500.

Please note the term “standard Inheritance Tax Threshholds” do not include the additional Residence Nil Rate Band.

Please note that the value of the estate is not necessarily an indicator of the work involved and small estates can sometimes cost more to administer than large and vice versa depending on a number of factors including type of assets involved, where they might be held and number of beneficiaries.

An official costs estimate is provided once an overview of the work involved can be ascertained.

Court of Protection

It is a commonly-held belief that it is not necessary to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) until it is needed – i.e. until someone loses the ability to deal with their own affairs. However, by that stage it is too late, as the individual will also have lost the ability (the necessary mental capacity) to sign an LPA.

If you have a relative who has lost mental capacity and you need to help them with their affairs, you will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their Deputy. At Bates Wells & Braithwaite, we can assist you with making your application to the Court, issuing the necessary Notices to specified individuals and obtaining a Deputy’s Bond, so that you can assume your role.

What will happen?

We will meet with you to discuss the process and the cost of applying for a Court of Protection Deputyship Order, explain to you the information which will be required, and complete the final forms for signature by you. We will also submit the request for a mental capacity assessment to your loved-one’s medical practitioner. We will then send all completed documents to the Court, together with your fee, and deal with any queries which the Court may have.

Once your application has been issued (accepted by the Court), we will issue Notices on your behalf informing relevant people of your application – this is a legal requirement.

Finally, once the Order is made, we will assist you in obtaining your Deputy’s Bond.

Fees

We charge an hourly fee of £205 plus VAT for this work. The Court automatically allows for a charge of £850 plus VAT, provided there is no extra or unusual work involved (which is usually quite rare) and providing there is no extra or unforseen work we will limit our fees to this level.  If there is extra work involved, the Court usually gives permission for Deputy’s to agree payment of a higher sum (if not agreed, costs will need to be assessed by the Court).  In the unlikely event that extra work is required a discussion on costs will be held at the earliest opportunity.

Various expenses may also be required such as (but not limited to) the following:

  • GP/Medical Professional Fee – can vary
  • Court Application Fee – £385
  • Other court fees (if required) – can vary (usually nothing extra is required)
  • Bond Fee (type of insurance that can be requested by the Court) – can vary
  • Ongoing assessment/supervision fees – vary depending on level of assests

Powers of Attorney

As people live longer, the chances of an individual reaching a point where they are unable to handle their own affairs increase. It is therefore important that you sign and register a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), giving another person or persons power to deal with your finances in the event that you become physically or mentally unable to do so. You can also make a Lasting Power of Attorney appointing someone to make decisions regarding your health and welfare. Both of these documents need to be completed whilst you (the Donor) still have the mental capacity to do so.

At Bates Wells & Braithwaite, we can explain exactly how to make, register and use Lasting Powers of Attorney. We can also advise on the appointment of suitable Attorneys and (usually) act as your Certificate Provider for the document – that is, sign to confirm that, in our opinion, you have the necessary capacity.

What will happen?

We will meet with you to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney in general and help you decide which document(s) you require. We will also explain the duties and responsibilities of an Attorney, to help you ensure that you are appointing suitable people.

When you sign the document, we will witness your signature and then send the LPA to your Attorneys for them to sign.

We will then arrange for the LPA to be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian and when this has been done, provide you with the necessary certified copies for your use.

Additional Services

We will store your original Lasting Power of Attorney in our strong room free of charge and provide further certified copies if required in the future (there may be a small charge for additional certified copies).

The Directors of Bates Wells & Braithwaite are prepared to be appointed as your Attorney, if there is no-one else whom you feel is appropriate. In these circumstances, we are precluded from acting as your Certificate Provider and someone else will need to be named in that role – if required, we can provide examples of the type of people who may be suitible to fulfill this role.

We can also deal with the registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney

Fees

Single LPA document – £420 + VAT
Double LPA documents – £600 + VAT
2 x double LPA documents – £900 + VAT

Prices of other combinations and registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney available on request.  A discount may be offered if you have new Wills and Powers of Attorney drawn up at the same time.

Wills

Wills are an important document and necessary to ensure that your estate, after your death, is dealt with in the way you would have wanted. Producing a Will is a service many organisations offer. However, by providing proper advice about the content and implications of dealing with things in a certain way professional regulated bodies such as Bates Wells & Braithwaite Solicitors can ensure that your aims are achieved.

Making a Will at any age can be seen as a daunting process, but Glenn and Catherine will do their best to make the process as simple and worry free as possible.

If you already have a Will and wish to discuss updates or amendments this may be possible via the use of a Codicil rather than a full new Will, this is something that Bates Wells & Braithwaite can advise on and prepare for you if needed.

What will happen?

We will meet with you face to face to discuss your circumstances and wishes, provide you with advice to suit your needs, including advice on Inheritance Tax if required.

A draft document is then prepared and sent to you for approval along with a detailed letter explaining the clauses used (in plain English).

We will then oversee the signing and witnessing of the final document

Additional Services

We can meet with you at our offices or at your home*

We can arrange for the safe storage of your documents, free of charge

After your death we offer to meet with your executors to ensure they know what is required of them, this is a no obligation meeting and is usually free of charge.

Fees

For simple Wills this firm operates a fixed cost approach as follows:

Single Will – £200 + VAT

Mirror Will – £300 + VAT (a pair of wills that is broadly on the same terms as each other)

For more complicated Wills or advice, the fee will be discussed with you before work is conducted (usually at the end of the first meeting) and will either be charged at a higher fixed fee (usually in £50 increments)  or based on an hourly rate of £205 + VAT per hour.

Codicils start at £150 + VAT for a single codicil or £200+VAT for mirror codicils, but final price is confirmed after the initial meeting and depends on the amount of advice given and the number and nature of the changes being made from your original Will.

Please note that depending on the level of changes you are seeking to make, or number of codicils you already have we reserve the right to refuse to offer a Codicil as an option.

If you are making Wills at the same time as Lasting Powers of Attorney a reduced “package” fee might be offered.

*home visits need to be pre-arranged and additional fees may apply

Trusts

Whilst Trusts in a general sense are not as useful as they may have once been, they can still have uses and depending on circumstances be the best way to achieve your aim.

We can advise on and assist with the setting up of various different trusts including but not limited to trusts created by a Will, Trusts for Disabled Beneficiaries, and Trusts for Bereaved Minors.

We can discuss with you the tax implications of various trusts including Inheritance Tax consequences to your own estate for paying money into a trust as well as any on-going Inheritance tax liabilities of the trust itself, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax*

We can also discuss the wider issues with regards setting up trusts such as Deliberate Deprivation of Capital or the consequences of giving assets away.

* Whilst we can advise on what taxes may apply and when, we may not be able to provide you with exact calculations and complete tax returns for you and may recommend you speak to an independent accountant for these aspects.

Fees

We charge an hourly rate of £205 + VAT.

If the matter is complicated or under time restraints we may charge £215 per hour + VAT.

Probate

Certain things in life are inevitable and unfortunately one of those things is death. Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be hard enough anyway but it is at this time that we are often forced into learning a whole new system of dealing with deceased’s assets and liabilities which often includes applying for a Grant of Probate (or Letter of Administration if there is no Will).

Glenn Blair and Catherine Palmer are on hand to offer advice and assistance to suit your needs which can be in simply explaining the process, completing the forms to obtain probate or in doing all the work in administering an estate.

Guidance

Following a death we can hold a meeting with you to discuss various options and ways forward. Our aim is for you to understand the process and work involved so you can make an informed decision about how you would like to proceed.

We can also help you plan for what work is essential and what is not so you can focus on those matters that really concern you in the early days following a death such as the funeral.

If the deceased held a Will with this firm, or following the meeting we receive instructions for further work then this meeting is usually free of charge although if it is not you will be advised before the meeting and costs will be capped at £205 + VAT.

Grant of Probate

We can help you in obtaining a Grant of Probate. This work is usually done as a fixed fee for “simple” cases – smaller estates where an IHT205 needs to be completed we charge £600 + VAT.

For larger estates where an IHT400 is required (which is in all cases where Inheritance Tax might be due) we charge £215 + VAT per hour and estimate that between 5 and 8 hours of time will be required.

We would advise you of any increased costs as soon as it became clear that any additional unusual work was required.

Please note that these fees are on the assumption that all figures and information required are provided to this firm without additional correspondence from the firm required.

Administration of Estate

We can complete all the work in the estate on your behalf including:

  • Liaising with third parties to close accounts and obtain all information required for a probate application
  • Calculating/Arranging for payment of Inheritance Tax
  • Obtaining Probate
  • Closing Accounts/Selling Assets
  • Paying debts/liabilities
  • Distributing estate according to the Will
  • If required, we can also act as the Executor’s attorney and do all the work on their behalf without needing on-going signatures or input from the Executor.

Estate administration work is conducted at an hourly rate of £205 + VAT for simple matters or £215 + VAT for complicated matters.  If inheritance tax is due or an IHT400 has to be completed in an estate the higher hourly rate will apply.

As an example, a medium sized estate (assets below the standard Inheritance Tax thresholds, including a property and a number of bank accounts and investments) usually costs between £2,000 and £4,000.

A larger estate (assets above the standard Inheritance Tax thresholds but below £2 million) costs would usually be between £3,500 and £5,500.

Please note the term “standard Inheritance Tax Threshholds” do not include the additional Residence Nil Rate Band.

Please note that the value of the estate is not necessarily an indicator of the work involved and small estates can sometimes cost more to administer than large and vice versa depending on a number of factors including type of assets involved, where they might be held and number of beneficiaries.

An official costs estimate is provided once an overview of the work involved can be ascertained.

Our team of specialist wills, trusts & probate solicitors have extensive knowledge and experience which will enable us to deal with all aspects of your enquiry.

Call us on 01787 880440 or complete our online enquiry form so that we can arrange to speak to you.

Glenn Blair

Glenn joined Bates Wells & Braithwaite in 2009 and gained experience across the firm before qualifying as a solicitor in November 2015. He has a law degree from the University of East Anglia and took the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law, London.

Glenn is part of the firm’s Wills, Trusts and Probate department and specialises in wills, powers of attorney and the administration of estates including advice on inheritance tax, estate planning and trusts.

Glenn lives locally with his young family and takes a keen interest in watching and playing various sports and is a long-term season ticket holder at Colchester United.

Catherine Palmer

Catherine is a specialist lawyer working in our Wills, Trusts and Probate Department.

Catherine began her legal career as a secretary with a large regional firm of solicitors before undertaking her legal training through distance learning.

She became a Graduate of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 1999 before moving on to work, mostly as a locum, in firms all over East Anglia.

She joined Bates Wells & Braithwaite in 2016 and specialises in Wills, Powers of Attorney, Estate Administration, Court of Protection work and elderly client advice.

In her spare time, Catherine enjoys classical singing, gardening and walking with her dog.

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