Wills & Probate Costs

Probate Costs

Introduction

As part of our professional rules, we aim to ensure that anyone wishing to use our services has the information they need to make an informed choice of legal services provider, including understanding what the costs may be.

About our fees

Obtaining a Grant of Representation and dealing with an administration of an estate can be complicated; it can take several months, and in complex cases can take over a year to ensure everything is done properly. Every estate is different, and so it can be very hard to quantify probate costs. The work can vary from very straightforward estates with only one or two small value assets and one beneficiary, to complicated estates where there is inheritance tax to pay, multiple beneficiaries and assets held with numerous organisations as well as property and land to sell or transfer. However, to assist our clients, we have set out below an indication of the likely costs involved in probate and administration of estate matters along with an indication of the potential timescales.

Estate Administration: Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

What the service includes

We will:
• Provide you with a dedicated and experienced Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners qualified caseworker to work on your matter
• Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
• Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
• Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application and liaise with all relevant organisations
• Complete the Probate Application forms and the relevant HMRC forms
• Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
• Obtain the Probate and provide you with copies
• Deal with closure of accounts, collect in estate funds, transfer assets to beneficiaries if required and pay any liabilities
• Prepare a final estate account and distribute legacies to beneficiaries

Anticipated charges and expenses

As we have stated earlier, it is difficult to be precise about the anticipated costs as the exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. Therefore, we have set out below the estimated costs of a typical, straightforward transaction. For this example we have assumed:
• There is a valid will
• An estate in which there are no more than three bank accounts;
• No more than one property in the sole name of the deceased;
• No debts;
• No likelihood of the estate being insolvent;
• No significant lifetime gifts;
• No shareholdings;
• No trusts to be established;
• No dispute between the beneficiaries on the division of the assets;
• No Inheritance Tax payable and the Executors do not need to submit a full IHT return to HMRC;
• No requirement to use the transferable nil rate band or residence nil rate band;
• No other intangible assets;
• No claims made against the estate;
• No agricultural or business element to the estate;
• No foreign element to the estate.

Administration of estates work is normally charged on a time spent basis.
Estimated time required 16 hours
Hourly rate £200.00 per hour (Probate Executive)
Our fees £3200.00 excl. VAT
VAT at 20%: £640.00
Total £3840.00 + disbursements (see below)

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. Disbursements in addition to the above fees include:
• Probate court fee of £155.00
• Office copies of the Grant of Probate at £1.50 per copy
• Bankruptcy search fee £2 per beneficiary
• Section 27 Trustee Act notice fee (this protects the Trustees against creditors) c. £300.00 - £400.00
• Land Registry fees £30.00 - £400 depending on the value of the property and whether it has been registered before. Higher valued unregistered property can cost up to £680 and over £1M even more
• Land Registry search fees £15.00 plus VAT
• Copy Death Certificate and any other Certificates required £11.00 per Certificate.

Factors that would increase the costs of your matter
• The work is conducted by a Partner-Solicitor (£250.00/hour)
• Not having all of the paperwork available or having incorrect information that needs investigation and correction;
• Third parties not corresponding to our communications promptly;
• Dealing with unusual, foreign or complex assets or items;

Potential additional costs

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 to be dealt with. Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in the above costs.
In our experience, our charges rarely exceed 2.5% of the total value of the estate and if our charges are likely to exceed this we will let you know. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.

How long will this take?
It is difficult to estimate with any precision how long a Probate matter will take as it will be influenced by many factors, some of which are outside of our control. However, on average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6-9 months.


Application for Grant of Probate only

What the service includes
We will:
• Provide you with a dedicated and experienced Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners qualified caseworker to work on your matter
• Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
• Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
• Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
• Complete the Probate Application forms and the relevant HMRC forms
• Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
• Obtain the Probate and provide you with copies

Anticipated charges and expenses
We can help our clients through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on their behalf. Our typical costs below assume that we are instructed to seek Grant of Probate only, that no full Inheritance Tax Return requires to be completed and submitted to HMRC, and all financial information is supplied by the Executor.
Fixed fee: £650.00 excl. VAT
VAT at 20%: £130.00
Total £780.00 + disbursements (see below)

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. Disbursements in addition to the above fees include:
• Probate court fee of £155.00
• Office copies of the Grant of Probate at £1.50 per copy

Our typical costs for an application for Probate where a full Inheritance Tax Return is required to be submitted to HMRC is as set out below.


Fixed fee: £800.00 - £1,000.00 excl. VAT
VAT at 20%: £160.00 - £200.00
Total £960.00 - £1,200.00 + disbursements (as above)

Please note the above indicative figures are for obtaining a Grant of Probate only and do not include the administration of the estate.

How long will this take?
It is difficult to estimate with any precision how long such a matter will take but, on average, such applications are dealt with and finalised within 8-12 weeks.