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Wills & Probate


Having worked hard to make a secure future for yourself and your family in your later years, it is important that while you are able to do so, you consider planning for a time when you may not be able to manage your wealth as well as you can now.

In addition, you want to ensure that what you own will eventually pass to the people you care about, in the manner you desire. In our experience, most people have the same concerns.

These issues require careful thought and appropriate legal advice. That is why we offer a range of services to cater for the most common worries people have as well as being able to advise you about more complex and individual situations.


Why choose Ridley & Hall Wills & Probate Team?


Wills

Thinking about and planning for your own death can be extremely difficult. This may be the reason why many clients we meet have not yet got around to making a Will. In our experience however, making decisions about what is going to happen to your assets after you die, actually helps to put your mind at rest whilst you are alive.

If you do not make a Will, the people you would like to inherit your estate may not get what you want them to have. The intestacy rules which apply if you die without a Will do not recognise step children or “common law” spouses, and will pass your estate to the Crown if you have no living family at death. In some cases not having a Will may mean more inheritance tax is payable when you die.

It is particularly important that you make a Will if you have young or disabled children, a disabled spouse, or an unmarried partner.

Ridley & Hall can help you put together a Will which meets your needs and at the same time advise you on the tax implications connected to your estate.


Inheritance Tax planning

Inheritance tax is currently charged at 40% and affects many UK families, even those with modest wealth. This is mainly due to the rise in property values over the last few years and it is estimated that millions of UK homeowners may now fall within the clutches of this tax.

Proper inheritance tax planning could save your family thousands of pounds. Contrary to what you may think, inheritance tax is regarded as one of the most avoidable of taxes.

Ridley & Hall can provide you with an assessment of your potential tax liability on death and discuss with you proper planning to mitigate any tax due. If you want to address tax issues in your lifetime as well as in your Will, we can put you in touch with an independent financial advisor that will be able to help you.




Probate & Estate Administration

When a loved one dies it can be a very distressing time, and dealing with the administration of their estate can seem overwhelming. Consequently, dealing with the paperwork and technicalities involved may be the last thing you want to do. We are here to help you, offering as much support and assistance as you need.

Our experienced lawyers will offer you the highest level of client care and value for money within our various estate administration services. We believe that you will find this invaluable and will give you peace of mind at an already difficult time. There are many ways in which we can help, such as:

  • assisting with the registration of the death or helping with funeral arrangements
  • sorting out the paperwork in the estate
  • advising on the meaning of the terms of the Will or the relevance of the intestacy rules if there is no Will
  • explaining the tax issues connected to the estate
  • helping with the sale of any property


Intestacy Rules

Download our intestacy rules flowchart which explains what happens when someone dies intestate (without making a valid Will).


Our Pricing Structure


Estate Administration

GRANT ONLY – this involves us assisting you just in obtaining the grant of representation to allow you to deal with the deceased’s assets and distribute the estate

Our grant only service includes:

  • Meeting to take initial instructions
  • Contacting the financial institutions for information on the value of assets where appropriate
  • Preparing the short form inheritance tax return IHT 205
  • Drafting the application for a grant
  • Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration and sealed copies

Fees start from £800 plus VAT (£960) and disbursements HOWEVER where estates include any of the following:

  • A search is required to locate the Will
  • Tracing beneficiaries of the estate
  • Where the deceased was domiciled abroad or there are foreign assets
  • If IHT 205 is not appropriate and IHT 400 is necessary
  • Transfer of unused nil rate band for Inheritance Tax
  • Claiming residence nil rate band for Inheritance Tax

Fees start from £1,200 plus VAT (£1,440) and disbursements 

FULL ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

Where you want us to assist you with more than just obtaining the grant of representation on your behalf, and you want help dealing with the other aspect of the estate like gathering in the assets, paying the debts of the estate and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries, we will undertake this work for you on a time spent basis – so you pay for the time we spend carrying out the work on your matter. The hourly charge out rates vary between our professionals who will be assisting with your file.

Directors and Partners £260.00 to £300.00
Senior Solicitors £240.00
Senior Paralegals & Senior Legal Executives £200.00
Solicitors with more than 4 years PQE £200.00
Solicitors with less than 4 years PQE £185.00
Paralegals & Trainee Solicitors £150.00

We like to be as open and honest about costs as we can, but it can often be difficult to tell exactly how long it will take to administer an estate at the very beginning, as unforeseen issues can present themselves during the administration period. We will however do our very best to give you an accurate costs estimate at the outset (although this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout our time working with you and we do reserve the right to amend our estimate). If our fees are going to increase, we will discuss this with you before proceeding any further. No two estates are the same, so the estimated fees we provide will be specific to your circumstances for example the number of assets there are, the number of beneficiaries there are, whether or not there are any properties within the estate etc. All of these factors can affect how long it will take to administer the estate.

 


Full Estate Administration Examples

To give you an idea as to how much it will cost for us to carry out this work for you, we have tried to outline this for you below.

 

Administration of a simple estate

Administration of a simple estate – this can take between 15 and 30 hours, depending on individual circumstances

Typically, this service will include:

  • Meeting with you to take instructions
  • Valuing all the assets in the estate
  • Arranging payment of the funeral costs
  • Liaising with utility companies
  • Preparing the short form inheritance tax return IHT 205
  • Drafting the application for the grant
  • Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration (depending on whether there is a valid Will or not) and sealed copies
  • Collecting in the assets
  • Paying any known debts and liabilities
  • Reclaiming income tax
  • Arranging payment of all the legacies
  • Preparing estate accounts
  • Distributing the estate between the beneficiaries

Fees start from £3,000 plus VAT (£3,600) – but they are likely to be more than this and could be up to £7,800 plus VAT (£9,360) – and disbursements.

If, for example, an estate has a small number of bank accounts, one beneficiary and no property, our fees will be towards the lower end of this scale, but if there are lots of beneficiaries, a house to sell and various assets to gather in and debts to settle, it will be towards the upper end.

Administration of a larger / more complex estate

Administration of a larger / more complex estate – this is likely to take more than 30 hours of work to complete

Typically, these estates will include the same service as for a small estate and may also involve:

  • The deceased was domiciled abroad or the estate comprises foreign assets
  • Dealing with multiple properties within an estate
  • Business assets
  • Agricultural assets
  • Undertaking a will search
  • Identifying the beneficiaries in the estate
  • Preparation of IHT 400 (the more complicated Inheritance Tax form required by HMRC) and its accompanying schedules
  • Claiming the residence nil rate band
  • Application for the transfer of Inheritance Tax nil rate band
  • Completion of income tax returns
  • Capital gains tax advice and returns
  • Trusts

We must also advise you that where there is a property (or properties) to sell in the estate, that the conveyancing costs will be charged in addition to the estate administration fees. The sale fees are NOT included within our estimates. Quotes for the sale of the property can be given by our colleagues in the conveyancing department, and we can help you to obtain this.

Also, if the Directors of Ridley and Hall are appointed as the Executors of an estate there will be an additional charge applied to reflect the risks and responsibilities associated with our appointment. This charge would be 1% of the gross value of the estate, excluding the residence, plus 0.5% of the value of the residence if it is held in the sole name of the deceased and 0.25% of the value of the residence where it is held in joint names. This is based on usual probate practice and we can explain how it will apply in your case.


Disbursements

Disbursements are payments made by us to third parties on your behalf, for example:

  • Court fees for probate applications – £155
  • Sealed copies of the grant – £1.50
  • Placing s27 notices in newspapers (this protects Executors from unknown creditors) – £200 to £350
  • Bankruptcy searches – £2

This list is indicative, and not exhaustive. We may also ask for payment of disbursements on account.


Trusts

Trusts can be set up in a person’s lifetime. They can also arise on death under the terms of a Will or, if there is no Will, under the intestacy rules if any beneficiary is under 18 years of age. The rules introduced by the Finance Act 2006 are complex and have wide ranging effect on trust structures both old and new.

If you want to set up a lifetime trust to manage your assets for someone else’s benefit, you should choose an experienced solicitor to write the deed of trust on your behalf and also advise on the tax and administration implications connected to it.

Ridley & Hall can assist you with choosing the right kind of trust within your Will, setting up the correct trust in your lifetime, and your duties if you have been appointed as a trustee under an established trust.

In addition you can appoint one or more of our partners to act as trustee for any trust you wish to set up.

What is a trust?

A trust is a legally enforceable arrangement, set up either in your lifetime or on your death (normally) by a written trust deed.

On creation of a lifetime trust you hand over some of your assets (eg money or property) to be looked after by someone else, known as a trustee, for the benefit of another person or persons, known as the beneficiaries.

Once you hand over the assets you cannot benefit from them again unless you have nominated yourself to do so under the terms of the trust deed. There are tax implications connected with being a beneficiary of your own trust.

A trust arising on death does not come into effect until you die. It will either arise under the terms of your Will, but can arise under the intestacy rules (where there is no Will) and any of the beneficiaries entitled to benefit are under 18 or come within the special rules applicable to a spouse.

A written trust deed (either created in your lifetime or under your Will) allows you to specify how you want the trust to be administered. For instance you can say when beneficiaries are entitled to the assets in trust. Many people leave money in trust for children, and nominate them to receive it once they reach a certain age.

There are many different types of trust. There are also tax and other issues arising from the Finance Act 2006 which you need to carefully consider before deciding whether a trust is right for your circumstances.

Reasons to set up a trust

Common reasons for setting up a Trust are:
1. To reduce inheritance tax for your family or to reduce your own tax burden
2. To pass assets on your death without the need for a Grant of Probate
3. To take care of assets for the benefit of children, or to pay for their school fees or education

4. To shield assets for the benefit of another who is too disabled, sick or old to look after them personally, or who may be in local authority funded care

Trustees duties

You need to choose trustees to manage the trust. If land is to be put into trust you will need at least two trustees. You should choose someone who is not too old, who you trust to carry out your wishes and who agrees they have the time to dedicate to the work involved. Trustees can retire when they no longer wish to act, and a replacement be appointed for them.

You can decide in the trust deed who has the power to appoint a new trustee when this happens. The duties of a trustee are fairly wide. A brief overview of their role can be summarised as the need to:

– Meet regularly to discuss issues connected to the trust and keep written records (minutes) of those meetings
– Manage the trust assets and ensure that yearly accounts are drafted.
– Invest the trust assets in accordance with the law governing this area. The trust deed can widen the powers given at law
– Make payments in accordance with the terms of the trust. Sometimes trustees have a discretion as to whether to make payments and they should ensure this discretion is exercised when dealing with distributions.
– Open the trust at the Inland Revenue, prepare yearly tax returns and pay the right amount of tax due on time
– Deal with the sale and reinvestment of the trust assets as and when necessary

You can appoint one or more of the Partners at Ridley & Hall to act as trustee(s) for your trust if you wish. Alternatively, existing trustees can appoint Ridley & Hall as agents for them to assist with their duties as summarised above, or to obtain independent advice about those duties.


The Legal 500 – The Clients Guide to Law Firms

The Legal 500 Says:

“Ridley & Hall advises on the full range of private client matters including will writing issues, estate planning work, lasting power of attorney mandates, deputyships, Court of Protection work and trust administrations; the group also has notable expertise in estate administrations and contentious probate matters involving missing people and elder financial abuse. Jill Waddington and Lynsey Bashforth head up the Huddersfield and Pontefract teams respectively.”


Our People

Lynsey Bashforth

Partner
Lynsey Bashforth is a Solicitor who joined Ridley & Hall in July 2019. Lynsey was the sole director of Bashforth-Young Solicitor until it was acquired by Ridley & Hall in 2019. Bashforth-Young Solicitor was a boutique specialist Wills & Probate firm located in South Elmsall Pontefract. Lynsey still works out of the South Elmsall offices where she established the practice and where all services of Ridley and Hall can now be provided to the community....

Deborah Kaye

Associate Solicitor
Deborah Kaye joined the firm’s Private Client Team in July 2019, to contribute to the growth of that department. She brings with her a wealth of experience, having worked in this area of the law for over 20 years. Deborah previously had strong connections in the Holme Valley where she practised for many years and has welcomed the opportunity to work again in Huddersfield, having spent a few years working for a large multi-discipline firm in Bradford most recently....

Thomas Grice

Solicitor
Tom is a solicitor who joined Ridley & Hall in May 2021. Tom has joined Ridley & Hall from a multi discipline firm in Wakefield, having previously worked in Knaresborough and at a nationwide firm in Wakefield.  Previous to this Tom undertook his Law Degree at the University of Bradford and the Legal Practice Course at BPP Law School, achieving a Distinction....

Melanie Pickering

Solicitor
Melanie Pickering joined the firm’s Wills & Probate team in April 2021, helping to expand the department. She has over 5 years’ experience of experience in this area of law and qualified as a solicitor into this field in 2017. Although always based in Yorkshire, Melanie has worked with clients based all around the country, and internationally....

Lucy Pickles

Trainee Solicitor
Lucy began life at Ridley and Hall as a Care Paralegal in August 2018. In July 2019, she began her training contract, with her first seat being in the Care Team. ...

Ann Silver

Personal Assistant
Ann Silver is Personal Assistant to the firm’s Private Client Team. She joined Ridley & Hall in 1999 and over the years she has helped many hundreds of clients through the Will making process and supported many more through the distress of the death of a loved one and the Probate process...


Frequently Asked Questions

Making a will is the only way to be certain that the people you wish to benefit on your death do so. Did you know that if you do not make a will then all your assets will be distributed in accordance with a complicated set of legal rules? This may result in some people benefitting that you did not wish to do so and other important people missing out.

The rules for making a will are complicated and it is important to obtain specialist legal advice from a qualified legal advisor who can ensure that:
• Your will is completed correctly and is a valid legal document
• You distribute all your assets
• You avoid the State inheriting your estate if you have no family
• You make clear your wishes in the event that one of your named beneficiaries dies before you do
• You receive advice on how to avoid paying unnecessary inheritance tax
• You receive advice on how to protect assets for your family
Badly drafted wills are responsible for a number of damaging probate disputes each year. Expensive litigation is the last thing you want to leave your loved ones.

Don’t worry if you can’t produce everything – bring as much as you can with you!
1) Your full name, address, telephone number and date of birth.
2) Documents to verify your identity and address. We require documentary proof of identity e.g a passport, bus pass or photocard driving licence and proof of address e.g a recent utility bill or bank statement less than 3 months old.
3) Full names and addresses of anyone you intend to name in the will.
4) A copy of your existing will.
5) Details of your estate – An idea of what you own and how much it is worth.
6) Any additional factors we need to take into account such as an estranged child, a dependant relative or someone who you wish to provide for who has physical or mental needs.

When a person dies with a Will, with (generally) more than £5,000.00 as any one asset, that asset is frozen and cannot be accessed without a court document called a “Grant of Probate”. The executors, appointed under the deceased’s Will apply for a Grant of Probate at court, after completing certain paperwork.

A trust is a legally enforceable arrangement, set up either in your lifetime or on your death (normally) by a written trust deed.
On creation of a lifetime trust you hand over some of your assets (eg money or property) to be looked after by someone else, known as a trustee, for the benefit of another person or persons, known as the beneficiaries.
Once you hand over the assets you cannot benefit from them again unless you have nominated yourself to do so under the terms of the trust deed. There are tax implications connected with being a beneficiary of your own trust.