Private Client

The Private Client Department (otherwise referred to as The Probate Department) deals with various matters which include those that affect you both during your lifetime whether or not you have capacity together with planning for the future including after you have passed away and dealing with your estate thereafter. The areas covered include the following:

  • Estate administration including Inland Revenue enquiries, payment of Inheritance Tax, dealing with assets and liabilities and distribution of estate
  • Obtaining Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration
  • Preparing Deeds of Variation to Wills and Rules of Intestacy
  • Reviewing existing Wills, preparing basic and tax-planning Wills and Codicils
  • Advising on mental capacity issues including Deputyship applications
  • Preparing and registering Lasting Powers of Attorneys
  • Registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Elderly client advice including Asset Protection
  • Contentious claims against estates

The department consists of the following members of staff:

Susan Rosemary Stride:

Susan joined the firm upon qualification in 2001 and currently heads up the busy Private Client department. Susan became a Partner in 2011.

Susan specialises in all areas of private client work including preparation of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorneys, Tax Planning, Trusts, Administration of Estates and Court of Protection Applications.

Susan is also a member of The Law Society Probate Section.

Susan's interests are skiing, reading and theatre. Susan enjoys most sports albeit mostly as a spectator.

Yasmin Dalvi:

Yasmin joined the firm in 2006 as a Trainee Solicitor having previously worked in the City as a Paralegal. Given Yasmin's previous legal experience she was able to successfully obtain the full 6 months exemption from her training contract. Yasmin qualified as a Solicitor with Coldham Shield & Mace in 2008 and became a Partner in 2011.

Yasmin works in the Private Client department dealing with all aspects of work relating to this area. Yasmin in particular deals with drafting Wills, dealing with estate administration including Trusts, preparing Lasting Powers of Attorneys, registering Enduring Powers of Attorney, applying for Deputyship Orders via the Court of Protection and drafting Deeds of Variation.

Yasmin is also an Accredited Member of The Association of Lifetime Lawyers and a member of The Law Society Probate Section.

Yasmin's main interests outside of work include baking, travelling and socialising.

Further Department Information:

Any member of staff named above may work on your file and we can be contacted on the department direct number 020 8501 7018. If Susan and Yasmin are not available, please contact Johannah or Maire who will also be able to assist you in the first instance.

All fees mentioned below are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) at the prevailing rate. The current rate is 20%. Furthermore, we review our hourly rate on an annual basis on 1st January each year and we will advise you of any change at such time in writing.

Below we set out some of the main areas which we assist clients with on a day to day basis. Please note the list below is not exhaustive and should your circumstances not fall under a specific heading below, please do not hesitate to contact us to see if we are able to assist you. Every client matter is different and the department has many years experience in assisting clients in all stages of their life and thereafter.

Enduring Powers of Attorneys & Lasting Powers of Attorney:

Enduring Powers of Attorneys also referred to as EPA can no longer be prepared as these were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney in October 2007. However, if you currently have a valid Enduring Power of Attorney this may need to be registered in the future should you lose mental capacity.

Our set fee for assisting you or your Attorney/s if you have lost capacity from initial appointment taking your instructions, drafting registration forms together with submitting the registration application on your behalf to The Office of the Public Guardian and thereafter providing you with original registered Enduring Power of Attorney and 3 certified copies is £1,000.00 plus VAT and disbursements which in most matters is the registration fee of £82.00 (this registration fee is set by The Office of the Public Guardian).

Clients may also both wish to give consideration to the situation if you should become mentally incapable of managing your own affairs during your lifetime or you find as you are housebound that you need to rely on your family or friends more despite still having mental capacity. It is a good idea to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney to cover this situation in relation to your property and finances. There is also a second Lasting Power of Attorney in relation to health and welfare and you may wish for your family or friends to make decisions about your health or medical care for example when you are unable to do so yourself and also making decisions about life sustaining treatment.

Lasting Powers of Attorney can be drafted on behalf of a client referred to as the "Donor" i.e. the person giving the authority to a named Attorney or Attorneys and they are able to do so whilst they still have mental capacity to provide instructions.

Our fee for preparing one Lasting Power of Attorney on your behalf is £425.00 plus VAT. You may also wish for us to complete the registration process on your behalf with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) so the Lasting Power of Attorney is valid to use once registered; the registration fee of £82.00 is set by the OPG. Whilst the registration fee is optional, we do recommend each Lasting Power of Attorney is registered at time of drafting the Lasting Power of Attorney on your behalf.

If at the same appointment you decide to give instructions for us to draft both Lasting Powers of Attorney on your behalf in relation to both property & finances and health & welfare, we charge a set fee of £650.00 plus VAT (a discount of £225.00 plus VAT) if you provide instructions for both Lasting Powers of Attorney at the same initial appointment. As before the optional registration fee of £82.00 for the OPG is for each Lasting Power of Attorney you require us to register on your behalf.

Whilst the timescales in drafting documentation can be done relatively quickly if you have provided all the information required. For the document to be registered the OPG can take up to 3 months to register.

There can be times when existing Enduring Powers of Attorney and Lasting Powers of Attorney may no longer be valid and new Lasting Powers of Attorney need to be drafted. At such time, we may need to assist you with preparing Deeds of Revocation to revoke such documents and we are able to advise further regarding any additional fees in relation to the same.

Deputyship Orders:

There may come a time when you no longer have mental capacity and are therefore unable to provide instructions to make a Lasting Power of Attorney on your behalf. A Deputyship Order application at The Court of Protection can be applied for in such circumstances by those caring for you on a day to day basis. The main difference between the Deputyship Order and the Lasting Power of Attorney is that with the latter you have control over who you appoint to assist you in managing your affairs when you are unable to do so.

Our fees for assisting those who are making the Deputyship Order on your behalf are set by the Court and currently these are £950.00 for a straightforward application process. If the application involves more work for example, the application is contested by someone else then we reserve the right to ask for our costs to be assessed by the Court if in excess of the basic costs set by the Court.

The initial Court of Protection fee for submitting the application is £400.00 and again this fee is set by the Court so is subject to change. Unlike Enduring Powers of Attorney and Lasting Powers of Attorney, Deputyship Orders once granted by the Court have ongoing obligations each year including further Court disbursements which are different in each matter and your appointed Deputies i.e. those looking after your affairs will be advised of these additional disbursements at such time. The additional Court disbursements will include Court Supervision Fees and Security Bonds to be in place.

The timescales in receiving the initial Deputyship Order from The Court of Protection can take up to 1 year.

There are additional Orders that can be applied for after the initial Deputyship Order has been issued by The Court of Protection. As each client's circumstances are different, any additional fees will be advised should further Court of Protection Orders be required.

Wills & Codicils:

Our set fees for a simple single Will is £350.00 plus VAT and a pair of simple mirror Wills is £550.00 plus VAT where spouses or partners both provide instructions at the same appointment with the same wishes.  For Wills which each require tax planning Trusts our set fee is £1,750.00 plus VAT.

Sometimes you may only require simply changes to an existing Will we have prepared and providing the change does not relate to the residuary estate clause in your Will i.e. your main beneficiaries that will inherit your estate after debts etc have been paid out, our set fee for amending a Will is £250.00 plus VAT.

Please note that if you require an appointment at short notice for example because you are going on holiday and not made a Will until the last minute, we reserve the right to charge an additional set fee of £150.00 plus VAT.  This additional fee is only incurred in such circumstances.

If the Will is complicated and requires additional work or any additional meetings then our charges will be based on an hourly basis of £285.00 plus VAT (which is reviewed annually) and our fees will be calculated by reference to the time spent dealing with your matter.

Our set fees include the initial appointment to take instructions, the drafting of the Will, sending to you for approval and once approved we prepare the final draft Will ready for signing.  We aim to send you a draft Will for approval within 7 days of taking your instructions on the basis you have provided all the information required for us to draft your initial Will.

Please note that we offer a free onsite storage facility for storing your Will and no charge is made for storing your Will provided you remain a client of the firm.  If you decide to move to other solicitors, then we charge a set fee of £20.00 plus VAT to cover cost of releasing the Will and photocopying and postage charges.

Probate & Estate Administration:

When a person passes away their estate may not need a solicitor to assist in the estate administration.  Some estates can be simple to administer whilst others can be very complicated and this depends on a number of factors such as the assets and their values, liabilities, the available Inheritance Tax allowances and conflicts between beneficiaries to name a few.

The main 2 types of Grants are a Grant of Probate where a Will has been made or Letters of Administration where there is no Will and estate passes under the Intestacy Rules.  Both Grants are also often referred to as Grant of Representation and below we refer to these as Grant.  Please note there are other types of Grants where an estate requires an additional Grant application to be made and this is for example where the initial person/s named on the Grant have passed away or lost mental capacity not having completed the estate administration.

In general when assisting in the estate administration the work includes the following:

  • After the initial appointment, contacting the various institutions to ascertain the gross and net values of assets and any debts owing by the estate;
  • Arranging for property and contents valuations including motor vehicles and jewellery;
  • Preparing the appropriate Inheritance Tax forms such as IHT205 and also IHT217, where applicable when estate is under the basic Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band and no Inheritance Tax due to H.M. Revenue & Customs.  Alternatively completing the IHT400 Account and corresponding Schedules in circumstances such as when the additional Residence Nil Rate Band is being claimed, Inheritance Tax is due to H.M. Revenue & Customs or the gifts made by deceased during their lifetime requires the full IHT400 Account to be completed;
  • Arranging payment to H.M. Revenue & Customs of any Inheritance Tax due plus interest accrued if payment is being made after 6 months from date of death.  Please refer to Government website Inheritance Tax - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) in relation to Inheritance Tax allowances;
  • Complete the Court application for applying for the Grant;
  • Complete various institution closure authorities to cash in or transfer liquid assets based on instructions from beneficiaries and lodge Grant;
  • Settle any liabilities owing by the estate;
  • Settle any third party disbursements incurred by the estate.  Please note that such third party disbursements include Court fee of £155.00 plus £1.50 per sealed copy of the Grant, obtaining each Land Registry Title Register at £3.00 each to check property ownership, Statutory Notice (Section 27 Notice), independent Accountant's fees for finalising all estate taxes position including final Tax Returns with exception of Inheritance Tax and any other third party disbursements incurred on behalf of the estate will be in addition to our fees.  Please further note that all third party disbursements are set by the third party and are subject to change at any time;
  • Arranging of any pecuniary legacies in the Will and / or distribution of any specific legacies named in the Will;
  • Arranging interim payments to beneficiaries whilst estate administration ongoing;
  • Prepare estate accounts for Executor's approval;
  • Arranging final distribution payments and return of original legal documents.

Our charges for administering the estate are calculated partly by reference to the time spent dealing with correspondence, charged at £285.00 plus VAT per hour (letters / emails sent are charged at one sixth of the hourly rate, and letters / emails received are charged at one twelfth of the hourly rate) and partly by reference to the value of the assets in the estate.  As mentioned each estate is different so it is very difficult to provide an estimate for correspondence cost without knowing all the estate details including all the assets, liabilities and number of beneficiaries of an estate.

For a straightforward estate with say no Inheritance Tax payable correspondence estimate can be approximately £4,000.00 plus VAT. For complicated estates where Inheritance Tax is due or there are a number of assets and / or beneficiaries to deal with, then correspondence costs can vary between £5,000.00 to £7,000.00 plus VAT. In any event a more precise estimate will be given and personalised to each estate once all estate details are known and you will be given the personalised estimate at the either the initial telephone call requesting a quote or initial appointment providing approximate asset values are known.

The correspondence estimate provided gives a guideline when then also looking at the additional value element which is charged.  The value element is in accordance with the Law Society guidelines, the value of the assets in the estate will result in the following charges:-

Option 1:

Where Coldham Shield & Mace Solicitors LLP are sole or joint Executors or Administrators:

Value of gross estate less residence   1½%

Value of residence   ¾%

OR

Option 2:

Where Coldham Shield & Mace Solicitors LLP are not Executors or Administrators:

            Value of gross estate less residence    1%

            Value of residence   ½%

The percentage value element charges cover time spent in meetings with yourself and others, advising, dealing with paperwork, drafting and reading documents and telephone calls etc.

Please note in the case of any residence owned jointly by the deceased and any other person(s), only the proportion owned by the deceased will be subject to the guideline percentage.

Please note that the above charges do not include our fees for other work over and above that mentioned previously.  For example, where a further Grant needs to be applied for during the estate administration where say a sole Executor / Administrator is unable to complete the estate administration, assisting with any Trust work relating to estates where the Will included a Trust to be set up on death, drafting of a Deed of Variation or Executor's Deeds of Renunciation is required, then these will incur additional fees to those mentioned above.

Please also note that all conveyancing related work undertaken in respect of the estate will also incur separate fees in addition to the fees mentioned above.  For further information, please also refer to the Property Department's fees.

Furthermore, if a member of staff needs to undertake any travel when dealing with the estate then either public transport expenses will be claimed or alternatively car mileage at H.M. Revenue & Customs' current rate of 45p per mile will apply.

In relation to timescales, it can take up to 1 year from being instructed to act to finalising the estate.  This time estimate is normal and can sometimes be longer if for example, a property is still to be sold or the estate is disputed.  Please note that if the estate is disputed for example, a Will is contested this will delay the estate administration and additional fees will be incurred as the Litigation Department will assist in estate administrations where disputes occur.

Applying for Grant Only:

When you make initial contact with us it may transpire that you only require us to assist you with applying for the Grant only on your behalf under our set fee below on the understanding that you will provide all date of death balances from various institutions in form of letterhead produced after date of death so we can complete the Grant application only.  Once the Grant has been issued by the Court, this is released to you to enable you to complete the estate administration including handling all estate monies.

Our set fee includes the initial appointment to take instructions and once all date of death balances documentation issued after date of death is supplied then to prepare the Grant application on your behalf.  If the IHT205 and if applicable, IHT217 are only required to be drafted then the timescale for the Grant to be issued by the Court is between 6-8 weeks.  However, if the IHT400 Account together with corresponding Schedules is required the process can take 8-12 weeks for Grant issue; however, it takes longer for H.M. Revenue & Customs to issue their Clearance Certificate.

The Clearance Certificate is strongly recommended as it gives Executors reassurance that H.M. Revenue & Customs have resolved all their enquiries into the Inheritance Tax position in an estate.

Our set fee for applying for the Grant under the IHT205 and if applicable, IHT217 is £1,250.00 plus VAT.  If applying for the Grant using the IHT400 Account and corresponding Schedules are to be completed then our set fee is £2,500.00 plus VAT if no Inheritance Tax is payable or £3,000.00 plus VAT if Inheritance Tax is payable.  Additional third party disbursements as mentioned above are charged in addition to our set fee and such disbursements when acting under these set fees include the Court fee of £155.00 plus £1.50 per sealed copy of the Grant and obtaining each Land Registry Title Register at £3.00 each to check property ownership, if applicable.

Please note once the Grant is issued by the Court it is released to you so that you complete the estate administration including handling all estate funds.  You will also be responsible for ensuring all institutions including government bodies are contacted including H.M. Revenue & Customs to arrange finalising the other remaining taxes with the exception of Inheritance Tax.  Acting under a set fee for you is restrictive in that we are simply limited to preparing the Grant application, submission of the application and then releasing the Grant to you once issued by the Court.

If you would like to discuss your needs in respect of any legal work we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact the department direct number 020 8501 7018 and we will be happy to assist further. Alternatively, please send an email to probate@csmlaw.co.uk.