Our team has over 25 years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to wills and estate administration. The team has expertise in both average and high value estates and inheritance tax matters.
We have three members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Hazel Heptinstall, Senior Partner and Head of Probate and Estate Administration.
Hazel Heptinstall, the head of our team, has over 15 years’ experience in private client work, specialising in Wills and Probate, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Contested Probate. She has been working in this area since she qualified and has assisted numerous families and individuals throughout her career.
Hazel Heptinstall qualified as a solicitor in 2006 after gaining a Law degree (LLB) at Anglia Ruskin University (formerly Anglia Polytechnic University). She went on to gain a distinction in her Graduate and Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course. She completed her training contract at Hunt & Hunt Solicitors in Romford. She left Hunt and Hunt Solicitors in April 2010 to establish HSH Solicitors initially as the sole principal running the business herself from the ground floor offices at 98-102 North Street, Romford and subsequently as a partnership in 2011. During a time when numerous solicitors firms are being forced to merge or make extensive cuts HSH has continued to grow organically and is no longer confined to the ground floor but has filled the top floor of the premises as well. Under Ms Heptinstall’s stewardship and with the continued ethos of focusing on and working for the local community in a range of areas at reasonable cost tailored to our client base the firm continues to grow and expand. The firm now employs 4 solicitors and one trainee paralegal as well as support and administration staff.
Gail Thompson, also a partner for the firm deals mainly with Lasting Powers of Attorney as well as estate administration. She qualified as a solicitor in 2002. She also attended Anglia Ruskin University (formerly Anglia Polytechnic University) obtaining a Law Degree (LLB) where she also undertook her Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course gaining a commendation. She completed her training contract at Budd Martin Burrett in Chelmsford. She left in 2011 and after working for several niche family (general) practices moved to join HSH Solicitors initially as a Solicitor in 2013. She became a partner in 2014.
Anne Tappenden initially studied French and German obtaining a Diploma in Languages at Anglia Ruskin University (formerly Anglia Polytechnic University). She then went on to work with the Senior Partner of De Pinna Notaries (formerly De Pinna Scorers & John Venn) in London. During her employment with them she attended evening classes studying law and qualifying as a Legal Executive before studying full-time for her Post Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice at Anglia Ruskin University. She qualified as a solicitor in 2008. She has worked at several Essex based firms predominantly undertaking litigation work before joining HSH Solicitors in 2017.
She has been working in our probate team providing advice and services in relation to wills and estate administration since she began working for HSH Solicitors.
Applying for the grant
The fees outlined below relate to work for uncontested cases where all the assets are in the UK.
It is the firm’s practice to charge a fixed fee of 1% plus VAT of the gross value of the estate plus disbursements up to obtaining of the Grant whether the estate is required to pay inheritance tax or if no inheritance tax is payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC.
The fixed fee is for estates where:
•There is a valid will
•There is no more than one property
•There are no more than 6 bank or building society accounts
•There are no other intangible assets
•There are between 1-4 beneficiaries
•There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.
•There are no claims made against the estate
Disbursements included in this fee:
•Probate application fee of £155 plus 50p for each sealed copy of the Grant required. We usually suggest that at least 5 sealed copies are obtained;
•£7 swearing of the oath (per executor)
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. We may advise other disbursements are required (some but not limited to those referred to below) should we also be instructed to deal with the collecting in and distributing of assets after the Grant has been obtained.
Potential other additional costs (not intended to be exhaustive)
•If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
•Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
•Any inheritance tax payable. You may wish to consider the potential inheritance tax liable in relation to the estate by visiting the government online inheritance tax calculator.
Collecting and distributing the assets after the Grant
If the firm are instructed to collect in and distribute the assets after receipt of the Grant of Probate this will include discharging the liabilities and dealing with distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries.
Our costs for dealing with the administration of the estate following receipt of the Grant will be charged at the hourly rate of £210 plus VAT (Partner) or £195 plus VAT (Solicitor) and disbursements. However, our costs will be dependent upon a number of factors – number of beneficiaries, amount of assets (eg where these are held – bank accounts, shareholdings, savings bonds, ISAs etc) and the amount and nature of any liabilities. We will be able to provide you with our likely costs for dealing with this part of the administration of the estate should you wish to instruct the firm.
•Bankruptcy – only - Land Charges Department searches - £2 for each beneficiary
•£96 inc VAT fee for placing a notice in The London Gazette – this protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
•£144 - £410 fee for placing a notice in a Local Newspaper – this also helps to protect against unexpected claims (plus VAT)
Other potential costs (not intended to be exhaustive):
•Inheritance tax (where payable)
•Preparing and filing tax returns
The above prices shown are those quoted as standard but these may be subject to amendment in the event that the estate becomes complex and/or there are additional unexpected or un-anticipated requirements from you or third parties.
How long will this take
On average obtaining the Grant is likely to take between 2-6 months although this is very much dependent on any delays with HMRC where inheritance tax is relevant and the Probate registry.
Should the firm also be instructed to deal with the full administration – collecting and distributing the assets - this will take on average between a further 4-6 months. However, this is dependent on how complex the estate is and/or additional unexpected or un-anticipated requirements from you or any third parties.