Legal Services for

Wills, Probate and Administration

The position of executor or administrator (generally called “a personal representative”) of an estate can be time consuming and onerous and the work to be undertaken to wind an estate up, quite difficult at times. It is important that any work to be carried out is undertaken with a considerable amount of care and attention to avoid the personal representative being personally liable.

We have over 100 years experience in Wills and Probate Administration. We can help you whether you require our full estate administration service or just simply some advice and assistance. We explain below our charges taking into account the degree of attention which must be given to ensure that a personal representative does not become personally liable for any claims against the estate.

How the bill is made up.

The bill is likely to comprise three elements:-

i Our Costs – in other words the charge we make for the work that we do

ii Vat – the tax imposed on our costs and on some of the expenses paid on behalf of the estate

iii Expenses – the fees that we have to pay to others, such as to the probate registry for obtaining the grant of probate or administration, to an expert for valuing certain assets which form part of the estate or to an accountant for completing business accounts.

How we charge for our work.

The basis on which we charge for our work will vary depending upon the complexity and value of the estate.

i Estimated costs – where the estate is quite simple, and the work is likely to be straightforward, we will be able to estimate what our costs are likely to be. You will appreciate that an estimate can only ever be an approximation based on the work that we expect to do, and cannot be binding. If unexpected matters arise, or the work becomes more onerous than expected then this will affect the costs that we charge.

ii Complex matters – where the work is more complex it may be difficult to estimate, with any degree of accuracy what the likely costs might be. Our charges are assessed on the time we spend in dealing with the estate, its complexity, the urgency to a particular client and the value involved. The basis of these charges is in accordance with the Law Society guidelines.

On request our Accounts department can provide you with a list giving details of the categories of staff that may have responsibility for undertaking the work involved, the rates at which time is charged, and the cost of routine letters and telephone calls. These rates do not include VAT.

Our rates are reviewed in April of each year and if the winding up of the estate is still proceeding at that time you may request a revised list from our Accounts department.

When are the costs due?

Legal costs are not usually taken until the administration of the estate has been completed.

Before the assets of the estate are distributed to the beneficiaries an Estate Account is prepared. This presents a complete financial picture of the estate and its administration, including the cost of the work we have undertaken on behalf of the personal representatives.

The Estate Account will be given to the personal representatives for approval before the estate is fully and finally distributed.

If the personal representatives have any questions concerning our charges then these can be referred to the member of staff who dealt with the administration of the estate, or with the Probate Partner.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (Property & Affairs) is your written authority for someone else to do things for you, and to handle your money and property, even if you become mentally incapable of doing these things yourself. An ordinary Power of Attorney is of no use to you in this sort of situation. It becomes invalid if you become mentally incapable.

How can it help me?

If you are having difficulty or become incapable of managing matters for yourself then someone else can do it for you. They can manage your property, pay your bills, take decisions for you and so on.

If you don’t appoint someone to act on your behalf in this way then you may have to face all sorts of practical difficulties.

It may become necessary for someone to apply on your behalf to the Court of Protection so that a Deputy can be appointed to look after your affairs.

This can be quite an expensive and lengthy process, something which is likely to cause a considerable amount of stress to your family.

If you sign a Lasting Power of Attorney before you become unable to manage your affairs, then the need to make an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy can be avoided.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is only valid when you sign it when you are fully capable of understanding what you are doing.

Before it can be used it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, which is the administrative arm of the Court of Protection.

If you leave it too late you will not be able to authorise someone to act on your behalf. They will have no choice but to refer the matter to the Court of Protection.

Who should I appoint?

You can appoint anyone. Most people prefer to appoint someone from their own family.

You can appoint two people if you like, and you can insist that they can only exercise the power if they act together.

What happens if I change my mind?

If you are still capable of understanding what you are doing, you can revoke the Lasting Power of Attorney and manage things by yourself.

Can a Lasting Power be limited?

Yes. You can limit what it can be used for; if your family are concerned about how it is being used they can ask the Court of Protection to investigate.

What should I do now?

If you want more information call at our office, write or telephone us and we will be pleased to help you. An appointment can be made with one of our experienced solicitors, who will give you more information, discuss your requirements and prepare the necessary documentation.

You may also wish to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (Health and Welfare). This would allow your Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf concerning your health and welfare when you are no longer able to make these decisions yourself. It can include authority for your Attorneys to consent to or refuse life-sustaining treatment for you. Once again, the Lasting Power of Attorney (Health and Welfare) must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used and it can only be used if and when you are no longer able to make these decisions for yourself.

Making and registering either or both types of Lasting Power of Attorney is a relatively simple procedure and we are happy to help you with the same.

Contact:

Guy Goodings guygoodings@aldersonlaw.co.uk| Fiona Grogan fionagrogan@aldersonlaw.co.uk
Chris Thompson cthompson@aldersonlaw.co.uk

 

Contact Us

Telephone Blyth: 

01670 352293

Telephone Morpeth:

01670 519714

Telephone Whitley Bay:

0191 2533509

Visit our social media to like, share and follow us...

SRA number 402010

Alderson Law LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under company number OC307338.
Registered office: Pethgate House, Castle Square, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 1YL

Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under SRA ID number 402010.

ICO No. Z729984X

FCA No. LS 596109

Equality & Diversity Survey

Chris was originally a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives from 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

He has over 25 years experience in private client work comprising Wills, Trusts, Probate, Powers of Attorney and other Court of Protection Work such as Deputyship applications. Chris has been a Partner in several firms in the North East, being Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

He brings a wealth of experience to his role and works closely with clients, providing them with a service tailored to their needs

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East in 2012 to study at Northumbria University undertaking the M Law Exempting (BPTC) course (the only undergraduate course in England and Wales which incorporates the Bar Professional Training Course), graduating in 2016 with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Prior to joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm, before moving to another firm to work as a Family Law Paralegal.

In 2018 she joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal, and whilst working full time, undertook a two year Legal Practice course at Sunderland University, qualifying as a Solicitor in November 2021. In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach, watching live music and looking after her pet rabbit.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Anderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family, his faithful sprocket spaniel, and practising Tai Chi and Tang Too Do (Korean karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blythe offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.