The benefits of using a regulated practitioner.

All of our team are happy to be contacted for a “no obligation” chat. We want you to feel comfortable with who you are instructing before you commit.

Why you should choose to use a regulated practitioner like Fitzhugh Gates Solicitors

Our firm is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). There are many benefits of instructing a qualified and regulated practitioner. These include our adherence to core principles which require us to:

  • uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice;
  • act with integrity;
  • not allow our independence to be compromised;
  • act in the best interests of each client;
  • provide a proper standard of service to our clients; 
  • behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in us and in the provision of legal services;
  • comply with our legal and regulatory obligations and deal with our regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner;
  • run our business or carry out our roles in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles;
  • run our business or carry out our roles in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity; and
  • protect client money and assets.

Clients of SRA regulated organisations are also protected against negligence and dishonesty by firms and individuals through professional indemnity insurance and compensation arrangements.

Our Private Client Services and Fees

Please note that all our services are subject to VAT at the current rate of 20%.

Probate and Estate administration

Our Probate services include:

1. Actions typically carried out before obtaining a grant 

  • Verifying the fact of death and registering the death with the Registrar (where no family available to register the death).
  • Arranging funeral where no family available/willing to make arrangements.
  • Verifying the identity of clients.
  • Advising on the meaning of the Will/the implications of the intestacy rules if the deceased died without a Will.
  • Advising personal representatives on their duties and responsibilities.
  • Arranging insurance (at cost) for deceased’s property and potentially other assets or liaising with deceased’s existing insurers to maintain cover.
  • Contacting life and pension companies.
  • Arranging payment of funeral invoice direct with deceased’s bank.
  • Preparation of any renunciations of executorship or notices to co-executors.
  • Arranging a Will and asset search (at cost) if requested by clients.
  • Contacting asset holders and creditors.
  • Collating information about assets and liabilities.
  • Arranging valuations of assets for inheritance tax purposes.
  • Advising on the appropriate inheritance tax account to be completed.
  • Obtaining inheritance tax reference where required.
  • Completing and submitting inheritance tax return to HMRC (due within 12 months after the end of the month of death).
  • Completing claim forms for inheritance tax allowances including any transferable allowances.
  • Paying some or all of the inheritance tax due (interest runs on inheritance tax from 6 months after the end of the month of death).
  • Registering complex estates with HMRC online estates register.
  • Liaising with DWP to ensure benefit and pension claims are settled.
  • Liaising with council regarding council tax and dealing with utility companies.
  • Preparation of oath and filing probate application. 

This stage is usually completed within 6 months of death often earlier.

Factors that may delay this stage include delay in receiving instructions following death, estates where there is a coroner's inquest, probate disputes, insolvent estates, estates containing assets that are difficult to value (such as private company shares which may require specialist valuation) or where there are difficulties in raising funds to pay inheritance tax.

2. Actions typically carried out after the grant issues

  • Arranging notices to protect clients from deceased’s “unknown creditors”.
  • Sending sealed copies of grant to asset holders.
  • Providing client account facilities to remove need for executors to open a specific executor account to handle estate funds.
  • Discharging liabilities.
  • Finalising income and capital gains tax liabilities up to the date of death and any liabilities arising during the administration.
  • Finalising inheritance tax affairs. 
  • Verifying identity and solvency of beneficiaries prior to distribution.
  • Advising on timing of distributions and making payments of specific legacies and arranging payment of interim distributions of residue (as appropriate)
  • Preparation of estate accounts, obtaining client and beneficiary approval and final distribution of the estate. 

This stage is usually completed within a year of death or shortly afterwards.

Factors that may delay this stage include problems in selling assets (e.g. selling property in a slow market), difficulties in identifying beneficiaries, probate disputes, and finalising liabilities with HMRC (for example in complex estates or where there are overseas assets).

Our Guide for personal representatives and bereaved families provides more information about the process which you can read here 

3. Exclusions from standard probate service and fees

(Please ask us to prepare a bespoke quote if any of the points below apply).

  • Estates with overseas assets.
  • Insolvent estates.
  • Estates with more than 10 beneficiaries.
  • Estates with more than 10 assets.
  • Estates with intangible assets e.g. goodwill, patents or copyrights.
  • Estates including significant business or agricultural assets.
  • Taxable estates i.e. subject to inheritance tax .
  • Where a long form inheritance tax account must be delivered even if the estate is not taxable e.g. significant lifetime gifts were made or there is a claim to transfer part of the inheritance tax allowances of a predeceased spouse or civil partner.
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