When making a Will, the individual will name executors who are appointed to carry out the deceased’s wishes in accordance with the instructions contained within the Will. This can be a complex and time consuming job and as such, many executors choose to instruct a firm of solicitors to assist them with the administration of the estate in order to ensure their obligations are met. We are obliged to provide you with cost information in respect of our Probate services and we will endeavour to set out the basis of our charges below.The information provided is a guide only and we would be more than happy to arrange a free initial consultation in order for us to provide you with an accurate estimate of costs and disbursements after which there would be no obligation to instruct us.
- Our legal fees for administering estates are usually charged for on a time spent basis at the hourly rates of the team members involved in running your file. In addition to this we charge a value element of between 0.25% – 1.5% dependent upon the level of assets and element of risk involved. An exception to this standard rule is where we are asked to assist you only with the application for the grant of probate in which we will endeavour to agree a fixed fee with you as detailed below.
- We use the same pricing structure whether the executors are partners in this firm or individuals.
- Our team members will always discuss and agree the overall fee with you prior to commencing any work.
- Please note that each probate matter is unique and it is therefore not possible for us to use a ‘one size fits all’ fixed fee, however there are common features to all cases and as such, we have detailed below some broad cost information for a range of scenarios which we commonly experience. Please note that the costs associated with the sale of any property are additional to the costs referred to below.
- Unlike many of our competitors, we offer the first 30 minute meeting on a no cost; no obligation basis and we would therefore recommend that for a full and accurate quote you contact our Team so as to explain your specific circumstances.
Grant of Probate Application onlyWhat our service includes:
- We will calculate the size of the estate and any tax liabilities based on the valuations provided to us by you;
- We will complete the Inheritance Tax Forms;
- We will prepare theStatement of Truthto send to the Probate Registry with the application for the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration;
- We will obtain the Grant of Probate or the Grant of Letters of Administration and provide you with copies of the same so that you are able to deal with the distribution of the estate.
Our Legal Fees – £750 plus VAT and disbursements*It is important to note that the above is based on the estate not being subject to Inheritance Tax. It is not always possible to provide a fixed fee estimate where the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax as the cost will depend upon the specific facts of the case. Where an estate is subject to Inheritance Tax we would usually base our legal costs on an hourly rate plus a % element of the gross value of the estate of between 0.25% – 1.5%.
This is discussed in more detail below. Examples of factors which would be taken into account when agreeing a cost estimate in respect of a taxable estate are whether you are claiming any Inheritance Tax reliefs, the number of assets within the estate, whether any gifts have been made by the deceased during their lifetime and the complexity of the assets within the estate. As a guide, we would estimate that our legal fees in such matters would be in the region of £1000 and £1500 plus VAT (£1200 – £1800). The disbursements* would remain the same. There are other situations where the above price would increase however, we would always advise you of this at the outset of the matter. Please find some examples listed below;
- Investigation into the estate by the Department of Work and Pensions;
- Missing assets;
- Issues with the valuations of the assets which you have obtained;
- If we are required to obtain valuations in respect of the assets in the estate;
- Disagreements between executors;
- The assets within the estate are complex i.e foreign or company assets.
Full Estate AdministrationWhat our service includes:
- We will write to all of the asset/liability holders with a view to valuing the assets and liabilities in the estate;
- We will complete the Inheritance Tax Forms and advise you of any Inheritance Tax liability;
- We will prepare the Statement of Truth to enable the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration to be obtained;
- We will obtain the Grant of Probate and/or the Grant of Letters of Administration;
- We will collect the assets of the estate;
- We will settle any debts and liabilities of the estate;
- We will prepare estate accounts for approval; and
- We will distributethe estate to the beneficiaries.
Our Legal Fees;£2500 – £5500 plus VAT (£3000 – £6600) and disbursements* plus the value element referred to above for simple UK estates where there is a valid Will, less than 5 beneficiaries and an estate value of less than £200,000 spread across less than 5 institutions.
£5500 – £10000 plus VAT (£6600 – £12000) and disbursements* plus the value element referred to above for simple UK estates where there are estate funds in excess of £200,000 spread across more than 5 institutions.
We anticipate costs in excess of £10000 plus VAT and disbursements* plus the value element referred to above where there is an Inheritance Tax liability to pay, business assets, more than one property, relief claims, foreign assets and/or beneficiaries who are overseas or non UK domiciled.
There are a number of issues or additional elements of work which could arise that we cannot always envisage from the outset and which can affect both cost and timescale. If any of these points arise during the course of the matter, we will make contact with you to agree costs and timescale prior to proceeding. Some examples of scenarios where the price would increase are as follows:
- If the Department of Work and Pensions decide to investigate the estate;
- If there are missing beneficiaries;
- If there are missing assets;
- If there are disagreements between executors or beneficiaries;
- If there are complex tax issues;
- If there are variations or alterations to the terms of the Will;
- If there is a claim made against the estate;
- If the there is more than one residential property;
- If there are foreign assets;
- If there are trust provisions contained within the Will.
Disbursements *We may have certain expenses which we have to pay to various third parties during the administration; these are referred to as disbursements. The disbursements likely to arise are;
- Probate Court Fee – £155
- Additional copies of the probate – £1.50 per copy
- Land Registry Title documents – £3 per title document
- Missing asset search – £135 plus VAT
- Certainty Will search – £95 plus VAT
- Legal Notices to creditors – approx. £200 plus VAT
- Bankruptcy searches – £2 per search