Thank you for looking at our probate services. Coping with the death of a person can bring a mixture of emotions and the legal side of dealing with a person’s death can often be overwhelming and confusing. Having compassionate, experienced legal advice can make this difficult situation much easier on you and your loved ones.
Whether the deceased person left a Will or whether there is substantial wealth and property involved, the sense of burden can increase. Where a Will is in existence the Executors may need to apply for the Grant of Probate which will give them the legal right to administer the estate. Where there is no Will in existence, the Will is invalid, or it does not specify Executors, an Administrator will need to be appointed.
We have an experienced team who can assist you with every aspect of the probate process, reducing the administrative burden and advising sensitively on key decisions which need to be made when managing an estate. We are aware that administering an estate comes at a time of grief and high emotion, and that most people do not know the processes and legal requirements involved.
We will give you a clear time frame of how long probate should take and will keep you and any beneficiaries advised throughout.
You will have the confidence that you are our priority, with our aim being that any member of the team is available to speak with you when you need some clarity and certainty at any stage in the process. We feel this provides reassurance and gives you an outlet for any concerns that you may have. Fees are generally paid out of the estate, so there may not be a need for you to fund the administration.
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The fees involved in a probate matter can vary depending on a number of factors, for example the number and extent of the assets and liabilities to be dealt with, whether there are any foreign assets, the number of residuary beneficiaries and legatees, whether there is Inheritance Tax to pay, whether there are any reliefs/exemptions to be claimed, whether tax returns are required to be completed etc
Each estate is very individual and we will provide you with an estimate of the likely costs and disbursements at the outset of the matter.
We offer both fixed fees (Grant only) and an hourly rate charging rate (for estate administrations), whereby you will be charged for each hour of work undertaken depending on what we are instructed to do.
Range of Costs for an estate administration based on the example estate below:
Our legal fees for the example estate below only will range between £2,250 to £4,500 plus VAT and disbursements. This is based on a time estimate of between 10 to 20 hours at our current hourly rate of £225 per hour plus VAT.
We will handle the full process for you and this estimate is 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 assets;
- There are no more than 5 beneficiaries;
- Whether any beneficiaries do not have capacity under the Mental Health Act or a minor;
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise this will lead to an increase of costs;
- There are no trusts in the Will;
- There are no foreign assets;
- There are no missing beneficiaries;
- There is no inheritance tax payable;
- There are no claims made against the estate.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, our costs will probably be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, our costs will probably be at the higher end.
Range of Costs for obtaining the Grant of Probate (where there is a Will) only
If you are an Executor and you just want our help with obtaining the Grant of Probate only, so that you deal with all other aspects of the estate administration and distribution yourself then we will be pleased to assist you.
If we are instructed to obtain the Grant of Probate only then we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced solicitor/legal executive or other suitably qualified member of staff to work on your matter;
- Identify the legally appointed Executors;
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require;
- Obtain relevant documents required to make the application;
- Complete the relevant HMRC forms;
- Draft a legal Oath for you to swear;
- Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf;
- Obtain the Grant of Probate and send you the number of court sealed copies you require.
Legal Fees for Grant of Probate only and applying on HMRC form IHT205 are from £750 plus VAT and disbursements
Legal Fees for Grant of Probate only and applying on HMRC form IHT400 are from £1,375 plus VAT and disbursements
There will be additional costs for applying to transfer Nil Rate and Residence Nil Rate Bands from £250 plus VAT and disbursements for each claim
If you require a different type of Grant, for example if there is no Will then our costs may be more than quoted above as the matter may be more complex. We will provide you with an estimate when we have further details.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees or court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Anticipated Disbursements (payable on top of our costs)
- Probate application fee of £155 (due to increase in April 2019) plus 50p for each additional copy of the Grant required;
- Swearing of the oath £7 (per Executor);
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches £2 per beneficiary;
- Statutory advertising notices in the local newspaper and in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors £160 approximately.
There are various factors that will affect any Inheritance Tax due on an estate, including the size of the estate and any measures that were put in place by the deceased to limit the estates tax liability.
We do not believe that it would be sensible to attempt to provide at this stage an estimate of any tax that may be payable. We would advise you to look on the HMRC Website to calculate Inheritance Tax which may be due, the calculators can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hmrc-tools-and-calculators#inheritance-tax-and-bereavement
In the event that there is no Will, and/or if the estate consists of share holdings or if there are foreign assets there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be distributed. We will discuss this with you in detail and advise you of any additional fees.
The cost of selling or transferring a property is not included in this price, if you require this service, please let us know and we will provide you with an estimate in that regard.
We will provide you with an estimate of our costs at the outset of the matter. However, there may be factors which come to light as matters progress which may increase the costs.
Where there is likely to be any additional costs, we will make sure you are informed of this at the earliest opportunity and a clear estimate of those extra costs will be provided.
Additional services that will require the assistance of a third party at additional cost include:
- Tax advice;
- Valuations for property, savings, investments or other assets;
- Company Registrar fees for the sale of shares.
It is very difficult to provide an estimate of how long an estate administration will take as this will depend on a number of factors. Plus we are often reliant on others replying to us, for example HMRC, accountants, banks, building societies etc
Generally, the time taken to obtain the Grant of Probate, if we have to ascertain the assets and liabilities, will be between 4 - 6 months, followed by the collection of assets and distribution of the assets, which can take a further 4 - 6 months. This timescale is often beyond our control, especially if we are waiting for an estate property to sell or awaiting clearance from HMRC. We will keep you updated throughout the process.
Please note that some estates can be administered much sooner if they are more straightforward.
With every transaction there are key milestones, which may vary according to individual circumstances. They may be as follows:
- Applying for the Grant of Probate;
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate;
- Settling Liabilities;
- Collecting funds ready for distribution;
- Producing Estate accounts;
- Distributing funds.
Please note that the above is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but a basic outline of what is involved.