Making a Will and planning what happens with your home, investments and personal possessions can be a difficult thing to think about. Talk to us and we will help you put in place well-thought out wills and probate plans for you and your loved ones. Our friendly, experienced team can also support you if disputes arise.

We will also be there for you if you need advice about probate (the management of someone’s affairs after their death).

  • Preparation of Wills to help you set out your wishes
  • Estate planning to ensure you have the planning in place that you want
  • Probate and estate administration following the loss of a loved one
  • Trust advice to protect you and your loved ones
  • Probate and trust disputes which are causing problems
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney and living Wills putting you in control of what happens
  • Inheritance tax/capital gains tax planning/care home fee planning to give you peace of mind

Worried about care home fees? You can protect your home

Are you in a couple worried that one of you may need long term care in the future? You may have already talked about what might happen to your home if one of you dies and how your children can be looked after.

Free legal advice on how to protect your assets

  1. Protecting Your Assets through a Property Protection Trust Will
  2. Protecting Your Assets through a Flexible Life Interest Will

Or contact us to talk about your concerns or planning for your future. We offer a range of other services including Court of Protection and Deputyship, financial planning and dispute resolution.

Received a letter from Hillyer McKeown about your Will?

We are in the process of writing to a number of our clients whose Will we are safely storing. This is being done to ensure we are holding your most up-to-date contact details.

If you receive a letter from Ruth Heap, please complete and return the form in the Reply-Paid envelope or call 01244 987 220 – the dedicated telephone number we have set up to manage these enquiries.

If your contact details need updating but you haven’t received a letter from HM, please call the same number to update our records.

Worried about the effect of the coronavirus crisis on drafting documentation? We can reassure you that we can still help you sort out your affairs and complete your wishes while continuing to follow the right legal process. 

For full details, read the feature in Today’s Wills and Probate, from Ruth Heap – Head of Wills, Trusts & Estates and Private Client Services, discussing how the team have responded to drafting documents during the coronavirus crisis.

RightWill, making a will, updating a willHillyer McKeown is one of the first firms in the UK to partner with RightWill, a nationwide network of law firms which work together and share resources for the benefit of private clients. As part of the partnership we stay in regular contact with clients, provide updates to make sure they are up to date with any changes which night affect them.

To find out more, visit the RightWill website.

STEP, Society of Trust and Estate PractitionersSociety of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP)

As members practising in England and Wales we abide by the STEP Code for Will Preparation. Will writing is not a regulated activity in England and Wales, so in 2014 STEP introduced a Will Writing Code – a set of ethical principles that demonstrate openly the standard of transparency, service and competency clients can expect from a STEP member when preparing their will. A copy of this code is available on request.

Hillyer McKeown, Service Level GuaranteeOur Wills & Probate service

The price for our service depends on how complex the matter is and therefore which expert will be best placed to help you. Some set costs are the same regardless of which company you choose. Our advice is to make sure that when you get a quote that all the costs are clearly set out so you know exactly what you are paying for, and which are the standard set fees you will pay wherever you go.

Examples of our costs

New Wills and updating Wills

When people ask us: how much will my Will cost? The answer is that we need to know more about you before giving you a fixed price. We first need to understand how simple or complicated your Will might be.

We offer a free quote service so please email us or call our team and we will get back to you as soon as we can. From there we will provide you with a cost and how long it is likely to take. You are under no obligation to use our services once you receive this quote. And if you are unsure of anything, we are here to explain what is involved.

Fixed fees for Extraction of Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration (+ VAT will be charged)

  • Extraction of Grant (simple inheritance tax return) = £800 plus Commissioner’s fee and Probate Registry fee.
  • Extraction of Grant (simple inheritance tax return and claim for transferable nil rate band) = £900.
  • Extraction of Grant (complex inheritance tax return) = £1,000 – £1500 depending on the complexity.
  • Deed of Variation = £600.

The cost of disbursements are added to any matter and for the three items below no VAT is charged.

  • The Probate Registry fee is a set fee of £155 + 50p per sealed court copy.
  • The Commissioner’s fee for a Probate Application is £7 per proving executor (no codicil).
  • The Commissioner’s fee for an application for Letters of Administration is £5 per proving administrator.

Estate administration

No two estates are the same. Some estates which at first appear simple can become complicated as the administration progresses. Some estates are complex because Inheritance Tax is payable, or other elements such as the estate contains foreign or business assets.

Our prices are an hourly rate plus VAT and range from £185 – £280. More complicated matters require more experienced legal support. As a guide, the average hourly rate is £234 + VAT. A simple estate with no complexities can take between 10-20 hours work.

Members of our Wills & Probate team

Ruth Heap – Partner

Ruth is the head of our team and has over 15 years’ experience in private client work, specialising in wills, powers of attorney, court of protection matters and probate and estate administrations. Ruth has been working in this area since she qualified and has helped numerous families and individuals.

Ruth qualified as a solicitor in 2005 after gaining a history degree from the University of York. She obtained commendations in both the PGDL and the LPC at the College of Law in York. She completed her training contract at Steggles solicitors in Chester and worked there for 7 years before moving on to join HM in 2010. She became the Head of the Department in 2013 and was made a Partner in 2015.

Ruth has been a fully qualified member of STEP (The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners) since 2015.

Jonathan Korff – Consultant Solicitor

Jonathan was the head of the Wills, Trusts & Estates team (now the Wills & Probate department) until he retired as a partner in the firm in 2009, and he now works part-time as a consultant. He has over 40 years’ experience in private client work, specialising in wills, probate, trusts and tax planning. Jonathan has been working in this area since he qualified as a solicitor and has helped thousands of families and individuals.

Jonathan qualified as a solicitor in 1977 after completing his training at Mason & Moore Dutton and periods of study at the College of Law in Guildford and in Chester. He joined Hillyer McKeown in 1978 and became a partner in 1982.

Jonathan keeps updated on changes in the law by attending professional development courses, reading extensively and by subscribing to on-line legal publications.

Wendy Randall – Senior Associate Solicitor

I am a law graduate of the University of Nottingham and qualified as a solicitor in 1988. Throughout my legal career I have specialised in private client work and personal tax. Since qualifying as a solicitor I have gained a wealth of experience in administrating estates and trusts of varying complexities.

I joined Hillyer McKeown LLP in 2014 as an Associate solicitor and became a Senior Associate of the firm in 2016. From 2017 I have headed up the Administration of Estates and Trusts team of Hillyer McKeown’s Private Client Department.

Arian Hamilton – Senior Legal Assistant

I graduated from the University of Chester with an LLB in Law in 2015. Shortly after finishing my degree, I began working as a Paralegal at a local Chester firm. I now have over 3 years’ experience working in a Private Client role.

I recently graduated from the University of Law in Christleton where I completed the Legal Practice Course and obtained a Masters in Professional Legal Practice.

I joined Hillyer McKeown in December 2017 as a Senior Legal Assistant in the Wills, Trusts and Estates department, and work closely with the head of department on a range of matters from Will drafting and Lasting Powers of Attorney to Estate Administration.

What clients think about our service

Thank you for everything you have done to make this difficult stage of things run smoothly. I was quite daunted when faced with the issues concerning the Will and House Deeds being retained, but not administered as expected, by the original law firm.

Your very kind attention, helpful advice and professional approach have been much appreciated.” Wills Client

“I would like to thank you for the friendly and professional way you dealt with my Uncle David’s estate.” Probate Client

“Our request was made at short notice and Ruth and her team worked with us to deliver updated Wills in a week. This was achieved through good knowledge, flexibility and creativity.” Mr & Mrs L

“We would like to thank our solicitor for her kindness and sensitivity during the process of reviewing our Wills. She made a difficult moment in our lives a lot easier.” Mr and Mrs J, Wills Client

“Our solicitor has a calm and pleasant manner, which I found reassuring. Her advice was sound and this is just what I wanted. I feel very satisfied with the outcome.” Private Client

“Thank you once again for your professional and efficient service.” Mrs M, Wills Client