Probate

We offer three services to those administering a deceased person’s estate – our Premier Service, Standard Service and our Advice Service.

Premier Service

Costs

This service is appropriate when you ask us to take on the full administration of a deceased person’s estate. This will involve our establishing the assets, liabilities and background of the deceased person, preparing inheritance tax (‘IHT’) (the tax sometimes payable on estates) papers and arranging payment of any such tax, applying for the grant of representation, collecting and distributing the assets and preparing estate accounts.

You will appreciate that, as no estate is the same, it is incredibly difficult to provide an accurate indication of fees. However, the quote below is for estates where:

  • there is a valid will
  • there is no more than one property and no more than 4 bank or building society accounts
  • there are no other intangible assets
  • there are between 1 and 5 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 is no IHT payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
  • there are no claims made against the estate
  • the deceased person was domiciled in England & Wales

On the basis of the above, most estates tend to take around 20 and 30 hours work at £245 per hour. This generic cost indication gives rise to figures of around £5,000 and £7,500 plus VAT and disbursements (see below).

However, the exact cost of this service 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.

Our work is charged by reference to hourly rates, which are recorded below. We will give a costs guideline (i.e. the total costs we will charge within a defined range) once we have more information from you. We will also estimate any IHT liability at that time, or as soon as possible once we have sufficient information about the estate.

Disbursements

We can handle the payment of disbursements (costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees) to make things easier for you. They are payments payable from the estate in addition to our fees. The usual disbursements on the administration of an estate are:-

  • Probate application fee of £155 plus £0.50 per copy
  • £7 Swearing of the oath (per executor), until oaths are phased out in favour of Statements of Truth
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
  • Approximately £160 to place a Notice to Creditors in the London Gazette and local newspaper. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • Approximately £160 to an unclaimed assets register search. This is to locate any lost or forgotten assets

Example Costs Summary

Estate Lower Range Estate Higher Range
£ £
Our Fees 5,000 7,500
VAT 1,000 1,500
Disbursements 485.50 485.50
Total 8,485.50 9,485.50

What is included in this service

  • Providing you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive to work on your matter
  • Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • If necessary, registering the death and organising the funeral
  • Accurately identifying the type of probate registry application you will require
  • Draft an oath for you to swear or Statement of Truth to sign
  • Identifying and valuing the assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Finding all the beneficiaries named in the Will
  • Explaining what information and documents are required from you to make the application
  • Completing the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Correctly calculating and arranging for payment of any inheritance tax, capital gains tax or income tax liabilities arising on death or during the administration period, including submitting the appropriate tax returns (but not lifetime taxes, see below)
  • Applying for a grant of representation to the Probate Registry (by the executors or administrators). A grant of representation is a document confirming who is able to deal with estate assets. ‘Probate’ and ‘Letters of Administration’ are examples of types of grant.
  • Encashing assets and paying all liabilities and estate administration expenses
  • Paying all legacies, including interest where it applies
  • Preparing estate accounts

Potential additional costs

Circumstances some times lead to extra work and therefore an increase in fees. Below you will find examples of work not covered by our fee quote. In some cases, the work could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.

  • Where there is no will or concerns that a will may have been misplaced
  • Where the estate consists of numerous share holdings (stocks and bonds)
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate
  • If the deceased person was in receipt of means tested benefits, the Department for Work & Pensions can sometimes raise an enquiry, this is likely to lead to further unforeseen work
  • Dealing with disputes between executors and/or beneficiaries
  • Uncovering evidence of financial irregularities, such as financial abuse
  • Dealing with income tax issues (tax during someone’s lifetime), such as non-submission of Self Assessment tax returns, or late payment of tax
  • Advice on post-death variations and disclaimers
  • Advice on the Intestacy Rules

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 4 to 12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 8 to 16 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 4 to 12 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 4 to 20 weeks. However, do bear in mind that we are not in control of the timescales of third parties, such the Probate Registry or the buyers of a property in the estate and, in addition, we will rely on you to provide us with information in a timely manner.

Hourly Rates

Richard Bates                   £245 plus VAT

Michele Henderson        £220 plus VAT

Standard Service

Costs

For our Standard Estate Service, we will tell you want information we need and then prepare the IHT form and probate application based on the information you provide to us. We will then provide you with the grant of representation, allowing you to deal with the remainder of the estate.

The cost of this service will depend upon the size and nature of the estate, as this has a direct bearing upon the forms required to be submitted and the research required by us to properly apply for a grant of representation.

  • Where an estate less than £325,000, there is no IHT to pay and HM Revenue & Customs (‘HMRC’) and the Probate Registry will accept form IHT205, the price for this service is likely to be in the region of £500 to £800 plus VAT.
  • Where estate greater than £325,000 then IHT issues may arise. In such a case, please ring for a fixed quote as there are many variables. However, the price likely to be in the region of £800-£1,500 plus VAT depending on whether IHT is payable, whether it is necessary to find out information about a deceased spouse and the number and nature of the assets.

Disbursements

We can handle the payment of disbursements (costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees) to make things easier for you. They are payments payable from the estate in addition to our fees. The usual disbursements on the administration of an estate are:-

  • Probate application fee of £155 plus £0.50 per copy
  • £7 Swearing of the oath (per executor), until oaths are phased out in favour of Statements of Truth

Example Costs Summary

Estate < £325,000 Estate Mid Range Estate > £325,000
£ £ £
Our Fees 500 800 1,500
VAT 100 160 300
Disbursements 164.50 164.50 164.50
Total 764.50 1,124.50 1,964.50

As part of this service we will:

 

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive to work on your matter
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identify the type of probate registry application you will require
  • Explain what information and documents are required from you to make the application
  • Complete the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Draft an oath for you to swear or Statement of Truth to sign
  • Make the application to the Probate Registry
  • Obtain the Probate and send two copies to you

Potential additional costs

This is a fixed-fee service for the preparation of the IHT and probate papers, based on information you have provided. If you require assistance with any work not covered by the above, we will be pleased to assist, but will provide you with a guideline as to our likely additional fees. Ouir hourly rates are recorded below.

How long will this take?

Typically, a grant of representation can be obtained within 8 to 12 weeks of receiving your instructions. However, do bear in mind that we are not in control of the timescales of third parties, such as the Probate Registry and, in addition, will rely on you to provide us with information in a timely manner.

Hourly Rates

Richard Bates                   £245 plus VAT

Michele Henderson        £220 plus VAT

Advice Service

If you are an executor or administrator, the amount of help you want or need to administer an estate will depend on a number of factors, from the complexity of the estate to the time you have available to perform your duties.

Things could be very straightforward, and you may need nothing more than some initial assistance with defined aspects of the administration, leaving you to deal with the remainder yourself.

Of course, you may want to hand over all or part of the process to us and you may wish to review our Premier Estates and Standard Estates services.

As this services is available to offer ad hoc advice, we are not able to give you a cost estimate, indication of timescales. This work is done by reference to our hourly rates, as below. We always seek to scope the work required and therefore the cost at the start of the matter and keep you updated throughout.

Hourly Rates

Richard Bates                   £245 plus VAT

Michele Henderson        £220 plus VAT

Contact

Lucy Tarrant
Solicitor & Managing Director