Wills and Estate Planning

Making a will is just one part of effective estate planning – the management of all your property and assets. The objectives can be expressed quite simply: managing risks, maximising returns, minimising tax.

Of course, in reality, no two situations are the same and we know that no two clients are the same. We offer highly personalised, 'bespoke', advice. SWLaw in Devon offers the combination of expertise and experience needed to help you to find the solutions that are right for you.

If you are retired, or approaching retirement, you may be looking to:

  • maximise the benefit of your pension arrangements (pension)
  • invest for additional income retirement (investment)
  • reduce exposure to higher rates of tax (tax planning)
  • preserve wealth for your family (estate planning)
  • provide for a disabled family member (specialist disabled trusts)
  • limit the risk of assets passing out of the family (Wills, Trusts, Asset Protection)
  • save inheritance tax (IHT planning)
  • choose who should manage your affairs if you are unable to do so (LPA)

You may also be looking after elderly parents or other relatives and may need:

  • authority to manage their property and financial affairs or their health and welfare (LPA)
  • help in managing their property and financial affairs (conveyancing, investment)
  • advice about care costs (legal and/or financial)
  • help in administering an Estate or Trust (Probate & Estate administration, Trust administration)

If you are in business, there are additional considerations :

  • Relationships with your partners or fellow shareholders (partnership / shareholder agreements)
  • Extracting profits tax effectively (tax planning for business owners: pensions, VCTs, dividend vs. salary)
  • Exit strategy and minimising tax on a business transfer (business tax planning)
  • Managing risks such as unexpected illness, injury or death (Wills, 'business' LPAs, Insurance)

Our fees in Estate Administration

Our charges depend on the time spent in dealing with the Estate. We do not charge any additional value-related fee such as a percentage of the asset value.  Of course every Estate is different and the amount of work involved  - and therefore the cost - will reflect those differences.

A simple Estate may comprise a small number of assets all passing to one beneficiary without any liability to Inheritance Tax.

Another Estate may be far more complex comprising a large number of assets, accounting for Inheritance Tax, distributing to a large number of beneficiaries and perhaps dealing also with some Trusts arising under the Will.  

There will be information to gather before will be in a position to give meaningful indication of the likely fees;  what are the terms of the Will,  what assets are comprised in the estate, what  is the Inheritance Tax position.

If an estate is reasonably straightforward, there is likely to be a valid Will, perhaps an interest in a residential property, a handful of savings / investments, a small number of beneficiaries and no exposure to Inheritance Tax. Fees may be in range of £3000 to £5000 plus VAT. There are also payments (disbursements) made on behalf of the estate such as

  • Fee on Probate Application £155 (plus £1.50 for every additional copy of the Grant that is required)
  • A bankruptcy search that is made against each beneficiary of £2 per beneficiary
  • Fees to place a notice in the London Gazette to protect against claims from unknown creditors and a fee for a similar notice in a local newspaper
  • Fees for professional valuations of assets in the estate: property, jewellery, objets d’art etc

Additional fees may be charged for extra work such as

  • dealing with the sale or transfer of any property
  • dealing with the pre-death income and capital gains tax affairs of the deceased if these are not up to date
  • dealing with any Deed of Variation .


The members of our team who may be dealing with your transaction are :


Charge Rate Code

Charge Rate Description


Charge Rate Value


Senior Solicitor and Director

Eric Cowsill

£250.00 p/hour


Solicitor / FILex  >5  years


£220.00 p/hour

SWL 2a

Solicitor / FILex  <5  years

Victoria Hillman

£175.00 p/hour


Private Client Executive

Casey Shenton-Hill

£150.00 p/hour



Thomas Gordon

£125.00 p/hour


Legal Assistant


£90.00 p/hour


Legal Administrator


£75.00 p/hour

Contact Us

Call us without obligation on 01752 205202 or make a free enquiry online. We are in the South Hams, next to the A38 Devon Expressway.