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Wills & Probate

Our Probate Team

Our team has over 40 years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to private law including wills, probate and administration of estates.

We have four members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Manzoor Ahmad Shah, Principal and Head of Employment department at the firm.

Manzoor Ahmad Shah – Partner

Manzoor is the head of our team and has over 17 years’ experience in estate law including wills and probate, specialising in sharia’ compliant wills as well as contentious and non-contentious probate. Manzoor has been working in this area since he qualified and has assisted numerousdonors, testators, administrators and beneficiaries.

Manzoor completed his BSc from University of Kashmir (J&K, India), LLB (hons) and Sharia’ Law from IIUI (Islamabad, Pakistan). Manzoor qualified as a solicitor in 2003and gained experience in several law firms before opening his own comprehensive practice in 2008.Manzoorhas also completed several professional development courses in employment law.

Manzoor speaks fluent Urdu, Kashmiri, Hindi and Arabic.

Lubna Sabri – Consultant

Lubna qualified as a solicitor in 2004. She obtained her B.A Honours in Law from De Montfort University (Leicester) and completed her Legal Practice Course from the same University. Lubna has been working with us since May 2014. Lubna specialised in conveyancing and probate.

Lubna speaks fluent Urdu and Punjabi.

Naseer Ahmad Shah – Associate

Naseerobtained his LLB Hons from the University of Kashmiri (J&K, India) and qualified as a solicitor in 2013 upon completing QLTT. Naseer has been working with us ever since and has a comprehensive practice.

Naseer speaks fluent Urdu, Hindi and Kashmiri.

Burhan Malik – Trainee Solicitor

Burhanobtained his LLB (Hons) from University of Portsmouth. Burhan joined us whilst studying the Legal Practice Course and Master’s (LLM) at the University of Law. During his period of recognised training, Burhan has undertaken work in our employment, litigation and dispute resolution, corporate and commercial disputes, charity law andpersonal injury/clinical negligence department.

Burhan speaks, reads and writes fluent Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Kashmiri.

Tanweer Mohammed – Paralegal/Case Worker

Tanweer obtained his LLB (Hons) from University of Buckingham in 2014.Tanweer completed his LPC from University of West Minster in 2017.

Tanweer had been working with us since August 2019 and assists the firm and the employment team on a regular basis.Tanweer speaks fluent Urdu and Pahari.

 

Wills & probate:

The Cost of Dying Intestate

An estate is all of an individual’s property and financial assets and liabilities at the time of his or her death.

Intestacy is the condition of the estate of a person who dies without having in force a valid will or other binding declaration in respect of his estate. It follows, therefore, that if someone dies intestate then very often their family members have to deal with their estate, both assets and liabilities i.e. properties/money owned by the deceased at the time of death as well as any debts they owe to others.

And don’t forget – it’s not just about the possessions, assets, and cash that you leave behind. It’s about the debts and the payments too. They don’t stop being owed just because you’ve passed away. And if your next of kin gets everything, they’ll get that too.

Firstly, when someone dies without a Will, the next of kin must hire an expert probate lawyer to deal with probate. All banks and utility companies need to be contacted and, if family members are up for doing this themselves, they can save a fair bit of money – but it’s an emotional thing to have to do.

There may be demands from Utility, credit card companies and the likes of non-payment. At this point, the only way to deter some companies is to pay what is owed, which could be hundreds or thousands of pounds. This may in essence, be a tangible cost on top of the emotional upheaval. At least the court case will be dropped.

Now, what about the mortgage? Mortgage companies cannot correspond with anyone about specific cases. In order to make any changes you will need to be an administrator (requiring a grant of administration, which allows a living person to act on the behalf of a dead person). Without a will this process may take a considerable amount of time and during which late payments and penalties may stack up. Even if you are able to make the mortgage company aware of what has happened, they may still make on their system and send out repossession letters, which is frightening and unnecessary.

Our expert team can provide valuable assistance.

Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets: Probate (Uncontested)

This again depends on the complexity of the matter. For a straight forward matter without any complexity, our minimum charge is £2000 Plus VAT* of £400.00.

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 1 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are 2-4 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

Disbursements that may apply in addition to our costs are::

  • Probate application fee of £155.00 – VAT not applicable
  • £5-£7 Swearing of the oath (per executor) – VAT not applicable
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£1 per beneficiary) – VAT not applicable
  • £95.00 + VAT of £19.00 Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.

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

Potential additional costs

  • If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
  • If any additional copies of the grant are required.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
  • S27 Trustee Act Notice in the London Gazette £78 plus VAT of £15.6.
  • Please note that there may be inheritance tax to pay and this can only be established once we know the value of the estate.

Typical timescales and key stages:

Identifying estate property, establishing a summary of the deceased’s assets as at the date of death including a valuation of the deceased’s assets and liabilities for estate and tax purposes and preparing the appropriate HMRC inheritance tax account: 3-6 months from instruction.
Establishing the basis for testamentary or other dispositions, preparing the relevant Oath for the personal representatives and submitting the application for the Grant to the Probate Registry of the High Court: 3-6 months.

Collection of estate assets, payment of estate liabilities and testamentary legacies and distribution of residuary estate: 6-9 months.
Estate accounts: 6-12 months.

Work Included:

  1. Reviewing information provided by you in relation to all the assets and all the debts or liabilities of the deceased. We will rely on the information provided by you and treat it as full and complete
  2. Assess the value of the deceased’s estate by writing to banks, building societies and other asset/liability holders we are aware of to ascertain the correct market value of any accounts, holdings and assets as at the date of the death
  3. Make enquiries of and ascertain the proper beneficiaries of the estate
  4. Arrange completion of the appropriate HM Revenue & Customs Inheritance Tax form(s) on your behalf
  5. Prepare an executor’s Oath
  6. Provide you with draft Inheritance Tax forms and executors Oath for review.
  7. Once approved we will arrange for you to swear the Oath
  8.  Submit the Will Oath and Inheritance Tax Form(s) to Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate/Grant of Letters of Administration
  9.  Deal with any enquiries raised by HMRC in relation to the Inheritance Tax return
  10. Once the Grant has been obtained deal with the collection of all the assets and discharge all liabilities of the deceased
  11. Ascertain the balance of the estate and distribute it or hold it in trust under the terms of the Will or the rules of intestacy
  12. Prepare Estate Accounts setting out full details of the administration
  13. Time spent will include meetings with you; considering, preparing and working on papers; routine letters, e-mails and telephone calls made and received. Other letters, e-mails and telephone calls will be charged for on a time basis.

Work NOT Included

  1. The sale of a property
  2. If further assets are discovered after the submission of the appropriate HM Revenue & Customs forms, this information must be reported to HM Revenue & Customs, Inheritance Tax, BX9 1HT. This is your responsibility. If this occurs after the completion of the administration of the estate, we can assist you and a separate client care letter will be sent to you
  3. Negotiations with HM Revenue & Customs as to the valuation of any assets
  4. The Deceased’s Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax affairs prior to death
  5. The estate’s Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax affairs
  6. Claims made against the estate
  7. Legal disputes between beneficiaries, for example on the division of assets
  8.  Disclaimers and Deeds of Variation
  9.  A Partner of the firm acting as an Executor or Trustee or Court appointed Administrator
  10.  Anything else not specifically identified under Work Included above.

 It is your obligation to employ appropriately qualified third parties to obtain such additional advice as may be needed.

Complexities which could increase the time involved in dealing with the matter

  • Foreign property
  • Domicile issues
  • Interests in Trusts or other estates
  • Claiming a Transferable Nil-rate band
  • Claiming the Residence Nil-rate band
  • Claiming the Transferable Residence Nil-Rate band
  • Intangible assets such as digital assets or intellectual property
  • Investigations into missing family members
  • Determining appropriate parties in intestacy
  • The complexity and range of assets and debts
  • The Form or Tax Return to be submitted for Inheritance Tax
  • The amount of assistance the beneficiaries require of us
  • The number of beneficiaries we need to communicate with
  • Unforeseen complications
  • The speed at which third parties respond to our request for information
  • Issues raised by Inland Revenue which may cause extra work to be undertaken and so lead to increased charges
  • Assets in foreign jurisdictions

However, we will charge hourly rate as mentioned above if the probate is complex but uncontested. Usually, the costs incurred in such cases depend on the complexity of the case, however, the likely costs are to be £5000.00 + VAT* of £1000.00.

Drafting of Wills:

Our minimum charge for a straight forward Will is £250 plus VAT. If the Will is complex, we will charge on the hourly rates as set above. For Sharia’ compliant wills, please see our services section for more information.
*VAT is calculated at the rate of 20% at the time of publishing.

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