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Standstill Agreements

When is it okay to be out of time?

It is not unusual for parties and their legal advisers to agree, despite time limits set out in legislation, to disregard these time limits to give them an opportunity to try and agree their dispute without court proceedings. If they manage to do so they save significant sums on court fees and other associated costs of bringing the claim. If they don’t settle their dispute, they still have the option to pursue their claim, even if the time limits set out in the legislation has expired. Such agreements are referred to as ‘Standstill Agreements’.

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Changes to Probate Fees

April 2019 sees the introduction of the new sliding fee scale for probate fees in England and Wales. Prior to these changes, a fee of £215 was payable to obtain the authority to deal with the financial affairs of somebody who had died. If the estate (the deceased person’s assets) was worth less than £5,000 then no fee was payable and if a solicitor was appointed to deal with the estate the probate fee was slightly cheaper (£155).

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Probate: Range of costs (with fixed fee for additional work)

Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

The exact cost of this service 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. Total costs are estimated at £1298 – £2950 (+VAT).

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 two bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are two – three 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 included in this fee:

  • Probate application fee (£155)
  • Swearing of the oath (£7 per executor)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
  • Post in The London Gazette and local newsletter – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors (£300.15)

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.

As part of our fee we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Draft a legal oath for you to swear
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the Probate and securely send two copies to you
  • Collect and distribute all assets in the estate

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, they will cost £0.50 (1 per asset usually).
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 2-12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 6-16 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 8-12 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 6-8 weeks.

Contact us to discuss your probate requirements.

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Cohabitation Agreements – dealing with the fall out

Over the last 20 years, changing social attitudes have led to a shift away from traditional familial relationships towards more informal arrangements. As of November 2017, the unmarried cohabiting couple was the fastest growing type of family in the UK with over 3.3 million cohabiting couples in 2017 in comparison with 1.7 million in 1997 (1). Over a third of cohabiting couples also had dependent children in 2017 (2). Unfortunately, an increasing number of people are taking the decision not to marry without understanding that the relationship between unmarried cohabitants has no legal status in the UK. If the relationship were to break down, there is no body of law upon which the cohabitants can rely for their rights to be protected, unlike when a marriage ends.

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