wills probate & power of attorney

Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful times in anyone’s life. Don’t just assume that your loved ones will benefit from your Estate. Making a Will is something everyone should do and keep under review. If you die without a valid Will it could be difficult for your family to sort out your affairs. Your Estate will be shared out according to the rules of Intestacy. Under these rules, only married partners, civil partners and certain close relatives can inherit your Estate. If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership then your partner won’t have the right to inherit your Estate even if you are living together. It is important to make a Will if you own property, have a business, have children, have savings, investments or insurance policies.

Making a Will without using a Solicitor can result in mistakes or something not being made clear. Mistakes in your Will can even make it invalid.

You will need to think about who your Executors will be. Executors are people named in your Will who will carry out your wishes after you die. They can be family or friends but you should ask them first if they are willing to take on this role as it involves a lot of responsibility. Most people have two Executors but you can have up to four. You should at least have a second Executor in case your main one is unable to act on your behalf.

Your Will is only valid if two witnesses watch you sign it. You must ensure that your Executors know where your Will is kept. We do not charge for storing Wills.

You should review your Will every five years to make sure that it is up to date. This is especially important if your circumstances change, for example:

  • If you get married or enter into a civil partnership which will automatically cancel any existing Will.
  • Buy a new property.
  • Buy an expensive asset.
  • Divorce or separate from your partner.

Our charges start from £175 plus vat for a straight forward Will for one person and £300 plus vat for mirror Wills or in other words two Wills that are almost identical. If you would like to discuss how we can help you then please contact a member of our team.

Probate & Administration of Estates

All Estates are different. If a person dies leaving a Will then the Executors may need to obtain a Grant of Probate. If a person dies without leaving a Will then they die intestate and the Administrators may need to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration. Our usual fee when we are asked to obtain a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration only when no full inheritance tax return has to be completed and the Executors or Administrators supply all of the financial information required is in the region of £500 plus vat.

Administering someone’s Estate can be complicated, time consuming and inheritance tax may be payable. We are able to guide you through the process. Our usual fee for obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration when a full inheritance tax return is required is charged at an hourly rate of £203 per hour.

Disbursements which are payable on an Application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration are as follows:-

Probate Court fee £155
Cost of copies of the original Grant of Probate/ Letters of Administration £1.50 a copy
Creditors Notices/Local Newspapers and the London Gazette £300 - £400 approx
Land Registry fee which depends on the value of any property ranging from £30 - £400
Land Registry Search fees £3.00
Land Charges Search against each Beneficiary £2.00

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as your Attorney’s) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.

There are two types of LPA

  • Property and Financial Affairs
  • Health and Welfare

The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to authorise people to make decisions concerning your assets and personal property.

An LPA for Health and Welfare allows your Attorney’s to make decisions about things such as your daily living routine or moving to a care facility. You can also give your Attorney’s the power to provide or withhold consent for life sustaining medical treatment.

When creating an LPA you will need a Certificate Provider to countersign your Application to ensure that you have the mental capacity to make the LPA and that you were not acting under any pressure or undue influence. Provided that this is the case we are able to act as your Certificate Provider.

Should you wish to discuss LPA’s further please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.

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Claire Coates
Head of Department

Claire completed her training with Meikles and qualified as a solicitor in 2000...

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Lyanne Steinberg

Lyanne qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and deals with a wide range of legal issues ...

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Elizabeth Forrest

Elizabeth became a partner in 2002 and has significant experience...

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Claire Haigh

Claire completed her training with Meikles, qualifying in June 2001 and becoming...

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Vicky Johnson

Vicky graduated with a first class honours degree in law from Durham University and...

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Holly Naylor

Holly joined the firm in August 2022 as a Solicitor in our Sedgefield....

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Amy Dodds

Amy qualified as a solicitor in March 2021 and is currently based at our...

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