Our Fee-Earners are members of professional organisations such as the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE). Both of these organisations offer a recognised standard of quality in good, technically sound advice to private clients.
We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Law Society (LS). We therefore follow best practice procedures to meet the highest standards of professional expertise and service.
Our Private Client Fee-Earners are:
- Julie Rowe
- Sarah Kirkham
- Sarah Gilbert
As a team we can offer a broad range of expertise combined with years of experience. We deal sympathetically and sensitively with the affairs of a person during their lifetime and after death providing a friendly, but practical, efficient and professional service.
If you would like to speak to a member of our Private Client Team to discuss any of the services which we provide, then please contact us by telephoning 020 8939 4000 or click here to complete an initial enquiry form.
Probate services provided by Carter Bells
We offer a broad range of expertise to meet individual client needs, no matter how complex. Our probate services can be tailored to meet the needs of our clients from advice on how to undertake a personal application to dealing with the administration in its entirety.
If you are an Executor/Personal Representative (PR) we can advise you and ensure you comply with your duties and obligations to all parties connected to the administration of the estate, e.g. the Revenue (HMRC) the Court (HM Court & Tribunal Services) and beneficiaries.
There is no charge for the initial meeting or discussion when we provide only guidance on the process, your options, likely timescales and an estimate of costs. If you do need specific advice and information in an initial meeting or discussion, unless we have advised to the contrary, we would charge a fee, calculated based on our hourly rate (further information given in the section headed LEGAL FEES AND THIRD PARTY EXPENSES (DISBURSEMENTS)).
Three Levels of Probate Service:
Full Estate Administration
We can provide a full administration service (including acting as your executors if required so that you know that your wishes will be carried out). A solicitor deals with the entire process.
A Grant of Probate is the document issued by the Probate Registry confirming who is entitled to administer the estate. A PR can use a solicitor to apply for a Grant to save time and access assets more quickly. The PR would do the majority of the work and our solicitors provide the legal expertise by, for example, completing the inheritance tax forms, and obtaining the grant from the probate registry. This service is appropriate if the estate is fairly straightforward, e.g. if there are not many assets. The value of the assets may not be relevant provided the estate is not complex.
Some PRs will have the knowledge and time to deal with some stages of the administration but not all of them. They may need legal support and advice on some aspects. For example, initial advice if someone has died without leaving a Will; interpretation of the provisions of a Will; duties and responsibilities of personal representatives.
We can advise and assist if the Will creates a Trust and provide information on the role of a Trustee and their duties and responsibility.
What does our service not include?
The below aspects will not be included in the displayed price and separate fee estimates will be provided on a case-by-case basis:
- Registration of the death and funeral arrangements
- Clearance, securing and insurance of property
- Preparation and settling pre-death Tax Returns
- Searching/Tracing Missing Beneficiaries
- Searching/Tracing Assets
- Dealing with overseas Assets and Beneficiaries
- Re-sealing Grants
- Advising on potential claims against the Estate
- Advising Trustees on their duties and responsibilities
- Advising on a Trust and preparation of Trust documents, e.g. appointment and retirement of Trustees; transfer of assets to the Trust
- Appropriation of Assets to beneficiaries
- Deed to vary the Will or an Intestacy
- A beneficiary not wanting to accept gift
- Sale of any Property (we would ask our residential conveyancing team to provide you with a quote)
- Claims against the Estate (i.e. contentious Probate)
- Disagreement between Executors and Trustees
- Disagreement between/with beneficiaries
- Searching for a Will
- Advice on property markets and investments
- Detailed enquiries from Government Agencies (e.g. Department for Work and Pensions)
- Identifying gifts for 7 year period prior to death, e.g. checking bank statements
- Taxation advice apart from the completion of any inheritance tax return and/or income/capital gain tax return
Probate (administration of estates)
Click below to view, print or download our guide to legal fees and third party expenses (disbursements):
The term Probate is commonly used shorthand to describe the administration of an estate for someone who has died. The people responsible for dealing with the administration of an estate are called Executors (also referred to as Personal Representatives (PRs)).
Administering an estate can be an emotionally daunting; challenging and time consuming task. The winding up of an estate can be a lengthy process and PRs have considerable responsibilities; duties are owed to creditors of the deceased, there may be tax to be paid and beneficiaries need to be satisfied that the estate has been dealt with correctly.
They must ensure they make all reasonable enquiries to identify all assets, liabilities and beneficiaries (if there is no Will or the beneficiary is missing). PRs must be able to provide the Revenue and the Court with a complete and accurate record of the estate. PRs have a duty to do what they can to preserve and maximise the value of the assets for the beneficiaries (e.g. insurance). If the PRs get it wrong by, for example, not providing the Revenue with a complete and accurate account of the Estate, they can be personally liable for any unpaid tax.
PRs therefore have many responsibilities including to:-
- Find out what assets and debts there are when the person died (making all reasonable enquiries)
- Value the assets and debts
- Give details of the assets and debts to the HM Revenue & Customs, by completing an Inland Revenue Account
(e.g. IHT205, IHT207, IHT400) and if necessary, pay any inheritance tax that is due UK – IHT
- Apply for a Grant of Probate UK – HMCTS Probate Registry
- Collect in the assets
- Pay debts, legacies and expenses
- Complete tax returns for the estate
- Provide a statement of account
- Distribute the estate to the right beneficiaries