Thank you for looking at our probate services. Coping with the death of a loved one can bring a mixture of emotions and often, at a time of grief and high emotion, the legalities that follow can be overwhelming and confusing. Having compassionate, experienced legal advice can make this difficult situation much easier.
Our experienced team 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 administering an Estate. They have the legal and technical expertise to resolve issues as they arise, in a professional and efficient manner, while making sure everything you need to know is explained as clearly as possible. They will take care of the important legal details and remove any confusion and uncertainty from the process. We understand that communication is key, so a member of the team will be available to speak with you when you need clarity or reassurance at any stage in the process, and ensure you are kept up-to-date. We want you to feel assured that your matter is being handled effectively and is given sufficient priority.
We are proud to hold the 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.
The fees involved in a probate matter can vary and this will depend on the individual circumstances involved.
We offer both fixed fees and an hourly rate charging rate, whereby you will be charged for each hour of work undertaken.
If the Estate is straightforward and there is no Inheritance Tax payable (and the Executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC), we can help you by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf for a fixed fee. This will not, however, including the collecting and distribution of assets (administration of the Estate). Included in the fixed fee we will:
- Identify the legally appointed Executor/s or Administrator/s;
- Complete the Probate Application and relevant HMRC Forms;
- Draft a Statement of Truth;
- Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf; and
- Obtain the Probate and securely send two copies to you
Fixed Fee to obtain the Grant
Added to this amount will be any disbursements.
Hourly Rate (applying for the Grant, collecting and distributing the assets)
Our fees are charged at an hourly rate ranging from £195 to £250 plus VAT. The hourly rate is dependent upon who is undertaking the work (their level of qualification and experience), and upon individual circumstances; particularly complexity and whether there are any trusts in the Will, whether there are claims made against the Estate, whether there are missing beneficiaries etc. The exact cost will depend on the amount of work involved, for example if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range, whereas if there are multiple bank accounts, shares and property, and multiple beneficiaries, the costs will be at the higher end of the range.
We anticipate for a simple, low to moderate value, estate that our fees would range between £3,000 and £6,000 plus VAT (£3,600 to £7,200) and disbursements. This assumes there is a valid Will, no more than one property, only a handful of bank accounts / savings / investment bonds and similarly the number of beneficiaries is small (1-5). Also, that there are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise, this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.
For a more involved matter, for example there is no Will or the Estate consists of multiple financial accounts and shareholdings, there are numerous beneficiaries (possibly including Charities), and there is Inheritance Tax payable, there will be additional costs that 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.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Probate Registry fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
The usual disbursements (subject to VAT where stated) associated with the administration of an Estate will include: -
- Probate Application Fee - £155.00
- Additional copies of the Grant - £1.50 per copy
The following disbursements are not applicable to fixed fee matters
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department Searches - £2.00 per beneficiary
- Trustee Act Notices* advertised in the London Gazette and local newspaper - £200 to £300 inc. VAT
- Land Registry Title Documents - £3.00
- Bank Transfer Fees - £15 to £40 plus VAT
*These prices may be subject to change. *These Notices help to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
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 Estate’s 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 or the estate consists of any share holdings (Stocks and Bonds), there is likely to be an additional cost that could range significantly depending on the Estate and how it is to be handled. We will discuss this with you in detail and advise of any additional fees.
The cost of selling or transferring a property is not included. If you require this service, please consult the relevant (freehold or leasehold) pricing page.
There may be factors which would typically increase the level of 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
On average, the administration of a typical Estate will take between 6 and 18 months*. In some circumstances, complexities can arise and a longer timescale will be required. Generally, the time taken to obtain the Grant of Probate will take between 3 and 6 months, followed by the collection and distribution of the assets which can take between 3 and 12 months. The range takes into account handling everything from straightforward estate through to more complex estates.
*The Law Society Protocol does recommend that an estate should not be distributed before 10 months have passed after the Grant of Probate is obtained. This is the period within which a claim against the estate may be brought.
Stages of the Process
With every transaction there are key milestones, which may vary according to individual circumstances. They may be as follows: -
- Applying for Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration;
- Obtaining the Grant;
- Settling Liabilities;
- Collecting funds ready for distribution;
- Distributing funds;
- Producing Estate accounts;
Our team has a great depth of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all property-related transactions. We have three members of the Probate team (whose profiles you can view on our website), and all of whom will be supervised by Tracey Smith, the Managing Partner.
|Nicholas Wharton||Senior Partner|
|Sarah Curtis||Consultant Solicitor|
|Catriona Popple||Probate Administrator|