We offer a choice in relation to our probate service to suit your needs and your budget. From a full service where we deal with every aspect of the estate administration to a ‘pay as you go’ option.
The second option is appropriate where you are dealing with administration yourself, but you would like access to legal expertise and support as required.
These options are set out in more detail below:
Full service probate
This option is suitable for you if you would like us to deal with every aspect of the estate administration from start to finish, no matter what the size or nature of the estate; or
You have started dealing with the estate administration yourself but would now like to hand the administration over to us to complete.
How we charge:
We only charge you for the time that we spend working on your behalf, using the following standard hourly rate as appropriate:-
|Partners, consultants and departmental heads||£255 plus VAT|
|Associates/senior sols/legal execs||£235 plus VAT|
|Other solicitors and Legal Executives||£225 plus VAT|
|Trainee Solicitors||£160 plus VAT|
|Partners, consultants and departmental heads||£275 plus VAT|
|Associates/senior sols/legal execs||£260 plus VAT|
|Other solicitors and Legal Executives||£240 plus VAT|
|Trainee Solicitors||£165 plus VAT|
Our clients have access to the services of a Professional Executor when required.
We will provide a best estimate of fees based on the information provided by you as to how much work will be required to complete the estate administration. If the administration takes less time than we estimated, then that is all that you pay for.
If the administration takes more time than we estimated, we stop any further work to avoid exceeding the estimated cost and a revised estimated will be provided.
We usually issue a bill when probate has been obtained and at reasonable intervals thereafter so you can always keep costs under control.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.
By way of an example, a straightforward estate will attract a fee of between £1530-£2040 plus VAT for estates where:
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible or digital assets
- There are no more than 5 UK beneficiaries
- There are no overseas assets
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
- There are no claims made against the estate
- There is no family or any other ongoing trust
- The testators tax affairs are settled to the end of the last tax year before death
Our full-service probate is suitable for any estate. Let us take over the worry and paperwork on your behalf.
The work undertaken will usually include but not limited to:
- Registering the death with the relevant Authorities.
- Assessing the value of the Estate including all assets and liabilities and identifying any potential problems.
- The preparation of estate accounts.
- Determining whether inheritance tax is payable and preparing the appropriate Inheritance Tax Account.
- Applying for a Grant of Representation either a Grant of Probate (where there is a Will) or a Grant of Letters of Administration (where there is no Will).
- Sending copies of the Grant to the respective financial institutions in order to collect in the estate monies from which we can then pay the debts and any legacies under the Will.
- The final stage involves obtaining confirmation from the HM Revenue that no further income tax or inheritance tax is due, finalising the Estate Accounts for the executors and residuary beneficiaries’ approval and distributing the residue to the residuary beneficiaries.
- Provision of Estate Income (R185) forms.
Potential additional costs – complex estates
If an estate has any of the following features it is likely to be more complex than a straight forward matter. This is likely to result in more time being spent of the issues and therefore the costs are likely to be more than the example provided above:
- There is no will
- Professional executors are appointed
- The estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds)
- The estate includes foreign assets
- The estate includes a family or other ongoing trust
- The estate is taxable and requires the submission of a full inheritance tax account.
- The testator is non-UK domicile
- Any one or more of the beneficiaries are non-UK domicile
- There is more than one property
- Property is unregistered
- The property is not local
- The estate comprises a business
- The estate includes agricultural property
- Where property and/or land is subject to an existing tenancy.
- There are charitable beneficiaries
- There are intangible or digital assets
- There are disputes between the beneficiaries on division of assets.
- The are claims against the estate
- The estate is insolvent
We will provide you with a more accurate quote once we have more information regarding the nature of the estate.
These are sometimes called disbursements. These are additional 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.
Some of the most common types of disbursements in probate matters are as follows:
- Probate application fee of £155 plus 0.50p for each additional sealed office copy of the Grant of Probate (usually one per asset)
- Bankruptcy- Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary) plus VAT
- Statutory Advertisement of between £180 – £200 plus VAT (The London Gazette – and a local newspaper) to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
- Land Registry fees (for dealing with the sale or transfer of property)
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
How long will this take?
On average, straightforward estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 4-6 months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 1-2 months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 3-4 months to allow formal clearance of the tax position for the period of administration and dependant on any delay as a result of a backlog at HM Revenue & Customs.
This is suitable for you would like to deal with most of the estate administration yourself; or
You would like to have a go at dealing with the estate administration and see how you get on before deciding whether to use our full-service probate; and
You would like access to our legal expertise as and when you need it.
How we charge:
We charge for the time that we spend working on your behalf, using our standard hourly rates listed above.
You can leave it open-ended or you can agree a budget with us in advance for each piece of work that we do for you. We will bill at intervals to be agreed for work completed on your behalf, so you can always keep costs under control.