Probate Pricing

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 will 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 Executor, an Administrator will need to be appointed.

Why Us

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.

We are proud to hold Lexcel Accreditation, issued by the Law Society. This involves the firm undergoing a rigorous audit process which ensures we maintain high levels of client care.

Our Estate Administration Service:

We can provide a comprehensive service to the Personal Representatives of a deceased’s estate for which our services are charged based upon the time we spend. Unlike many other organisations we do not charge a percentage of the value of the estate.

Our standard service for an estate that falls below a single Nil Rate Band (£325,000) and comprises, for example, of a property, 3 or 4 bank accounts, a single credit card or loan agreement and between 4-6 beneficiaries would include:

  • One of our experienced Solicitors will meet with you to discuss the Estate and identify the persons responsible for dealing with the estate and advise upon the process that will need to be followed;
  • Advise you on the terms of the Will or the Intestacy Rules if there was no Will;
  • Liaise with you and/or the respective organisations to ascertain the assets and liabilities of the estate at the date of death;
  • Advise on the steps that can be taken to protect the Personal Representatives from personal liability by instigating searches and notices and undertake the steps required;
  • Prepare a Schedule of Assets and Liabilities as at the date of death;
  • Prepare the Inheritance Tax papers and arrange signature by you;
  • Draft the Probate Papers for the Executors or Administrators and assist with arrangements for you to sign the same;
  • Apply to the District Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration (“the Grant”) to be issued;
  • Once the Grant has been issued, register the Grant with the various asset holders and organisations;
  • Collect in the assets of the deceased and arrange payment of the liabilities of the estate;
  • Arrange payment of any pecuniary legacies and transfer of any specific bequests;
  • Make interim distributions (if required) to the residuary beneficiaries, pending finalisation of the estate;
  • Finalise the deceased’s Income Tax position to the date of death with HMRC;
  • Finalise and calculate the estate administration Income Tax position;
  • Prepare final Estate Accounts for approval by the Personal Representatives;
  • Make final distributions to the residuary beneficiaries; and
  • Provide the residuary beneficiaries with Certificate of income paid and tax deducted for their own tax affairs.

Pricing and Timescales

We would anticipate that this would take between 10 and 15 hours of work and depending upon the member of the team handling your matter whose hourly rates vary between £190 and £215, this would give an estimated cost of between £1,900 and £3,225 plus VAT.

We would expect, on average for such an estate to take between 6-10 months. 

Where there is a property involved, this can be dependent upon a sale being agreed.  Our indicated charges do not include dealing with the conveyancing aspect of the sale or transfer of the property but we would be pleased to provide an estimate in that regard.

This estimate is on the basis that there are no disputes between the beneficiaries or Personal Representatives and that there are no third party claims made against the estate.

Disbursements are costs that are related to the matter and are payable to third parties, for example Court fees.  Such costs during an estate administration may include:

  • Probate Court Fee of £155 plus £0.50 for each additional copy of the Grant
  • Land Registry Office Copy Entries £3 plus VAT per Title
  • Bankruptcy Searches of £2 plus VAT per beneficiary (provided they are in the UK)
  • Statutory Advertisements to protect against unknown creditors approximately £180
  • Will Search to try and locate a missing or more recent Will, between £114 and £238.80
  • Dormant Asset Search of £135 plus VAT

Complex Estates

Where an estate is more complex, perhaps due to one or more of the following reasons, the time the estate will require will be longer and therefore our costs will be higher.  Our solicitors will however provide you with an estimate of the costs at the initial meeting.  These reasons may be;

  • The Will is unclear in its terms and require clarification by the Court.
  • Not all the beneficiaries of the Will or Intestacy are known and need to be traced.
  • Additional Tax reliefs need to be claimed from the spouse of the deceased who died previously.
  • There are assets in the estate that may qualify for special tax reliefs, such a Business Property or Agricultural Property.
  • The deceased has been actively tax planning prior to their death and has made lifetime gifts within the last 7 years or created trusts within the last 14 years.
  • The deceased had been making gifts out of income during their lifetime which need to be accounted for to HMRC.
  • The estate exceeds the allowances available and we therefore need to calculate the Inheritance Tax due and assist in arranging  payment of the tax due to HMRC;
  • The estate comprises of more complex or numerous assets, for example stocks and shares, bonds, business interests or foreign property.
  • The deceased was a beneficiary under a Trust (perhaps under their spouse’s estate), we will need to advise on the tax implications of this.
  • There are a large number of beneficiaries entitled under the terms of the Will or Intestacy.
  • Sometimes beneficiaries wish to vary the provisions of a Will or Intestacy, for personal reasons or to improve the tax efficiency of the distribution of the estate.  We can provide advice in this regard.
  • Where there are minor beneficiaries or Trusts created under the terms of the Will, additional advice will be required in relation to the future administration of those Trusts.

Fixed Fee Service:

Sometimes Personal Representatives want to deal with the estate administration themselves but need assistance just to obtain the Grant of Representation from the Court. 

We offer a fixed fee service for this of £800 plus VAT and this applies where;

  • The estate is straightforward and does not result in an Inheritance Tax liability due to being below the single Nil Rate Band threshold of £325,000.
  • The Personal representatives can provide us with all the necessary information relating to the estate’s assets and liabilities and other details required to complete the HMRC Inheritance Tax returns and Probate papers.

This service would include:

  • One of our experienced Solicitors meeting with you to discuss the Estate and identify the persons responsible for dealing with the estate and advise upon the process that will need to be followed;
  • Explaining to you the information required to be provided to us confirming the assets and liabilities of the estate at the date of death;
  • Explaining the other information required from you for us to complete the Inheritance Tax forms and Probate papers.
  • Prepare the Inheritance Tax papers and arrange signature by you;
  • Draft the Probate Papers for the Executors or Administrators and assist with arrangements for you to sign the same;
  • Apply to the District Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration (“the Grant”) to be issued;
  • Once the Grant has been issued, provide this to you to enable you to continue dealing with the administration of the estate.

Timescales for fixed fee service

We would normally expect this service to take between 4-6 weeks from being provided with all of the necessary information for the forms to be completed.

Additional Costs

Disbursements are costs that are related to the matter and are payable to third parties, for example Court fees.  In this instance we would expect the disbursements to be;

  • Probate Court Fee of £155 plus £0.50 for each additional copy of the Grant

If the estate is more complex, requiring either payment of Inheritance Tax or the claiming of additional Inheritance Tax reliefs such as, transferrable Reliefs from a previous spouse or Business Property or Agricultural Relief, the costs would be higher but we would be pleased to provide an estimate once more information is available.

Inheritance Tax

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

Exclusions

Our fees are fixed and include items detailed above, however there may be factors which would typically increase the cost of the fees involved. Where there is likely to be any additional cost, 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

Key Milestones

With every transaction there are key milestones, which may vary according to individual circumstances. They may be as follows:

  • Applying for Grant of Probate
  • Obtaining Grant of Probate
  • Settling Liabilities
  • Collecting funds ready for distribution
  • Distributing funds
  • Producing Estate accounts