In order to make our Probate fees as clear as possible, we have broken our pricing down into two key services – Grant Only and Full Estate Administration.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property, multiple bank accounts and any shares held, costs will be at the higher end.
Our pricing is based on estates where:-
- There is a valid Will
- The Will is uncontested (not disputed by any beneficiary or third party to the Will)
- All assets are within the UK
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than three bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are 1-4 beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets
- There is no Inheritance Tax payable and Executors do not need to submit a full account to HM Revenue & Customs (but see below for further details)
- There are no claims against the estate
If disputes arise, this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
This service is where you would like to instruct us to obtain the Grant of Probate only. You will deal with the subsequent administration of the estate. This is dealt with on a fixed fee basis.
Fixed Fee – £1,000 plus VAT.
In order to do this we will require you to provide us with all the necessary details of the assets and liabilities of the estate, as at the date of death, to enable us to prepare the Grant application.
What does this cost include?
- Drafting the paperwork required to apply for the Grant of Probate
- Attendance upon you for signature of the Probate and tax papers
- Advice to you regarding your personal liability as an Executor and the steps you can take to mitigate your exposure to risk
- Implementation of searches and checks as required or as instructed by you
- Application to the Probate Registry for the Grant
Grant Only Timescale
On an average matter, the overall timescale, from initial instruction to our receipt of the Grant, and where the estate is not complex and no complications are found within the estate, is between two and four months.
Grant Only Disbursements
Disbursements are fixed costs relating to the 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. Some costs are required in all cases, others may not be applicable and some may vary depending on other circumstances.
The most common disbursements are as follows:-
- Certainty Will Search – £95 plus VAT at 20%
- Probate Court fees – £155 (due to rise shortly, becoming related to value of estate at date of death)
- Office copies of the Grant – £0.50 per copy
- Creditors Notices, including in the London Gazette – £200 (approximately)
We can do a Grant only application where we communicate with asset and liability holders to establish the date of death values. In this case, our hourly rate will apply. The hourly charging rates (excluding VAT) in relation to probate matters are as follows:-
- Solicitor – £175
- Partner – £200
We will deal with the full administration of the estate. We will liaise with the Executors on the day to day administration, and with third parties on closing accounts. We will collate funds, inform creditors and distribute funds to the beneficiaries. This is dealt with on an hourly rate basis. Any invoices raised will be settled from Estate funds, meaning Executors do not pay these personally.
Although we work on an hourly rate, all Fee Earners provide a full cost estimate for the estate. These prices assume that the estate is uncontested (not disputed) and that all assets are situate within the UK.
By Simple Estate we mean an estate where the value is either below the £325,000 Inheritance Tax threshold, or it is above that threshold but the deceased leaves everything above that threshold to a spouse, civil partner, charity or community amateur sports club. Simple Estates also include those where sufficient Nil Rate Band is available from the estate of a previously deceased spouse or civil partner to mean that there will be no Inheritance Tax liability.
Fees for our administration of a Simple Estate tend to be between £2,000 – £3,500 plus VAT.
By Medium Estate, we mean an estate where the Residence Nil Rate Band/s (RNRBs) can be claimed, meaning to such an extent that there is no liability to Inheritance Tax.
We will deal with the application for RNRB and deal with the Government regarding the exception from Inheritance Tax.
Fees for our administration of a Medium Estate tend to be between is £3,500 – £6,000 plus VAT.
By this we mean an estate where Inheritance Tax is payable, even though RNRB/s may apply and there may be Nil Rate Band/s transferrable from another estate.
The fees for our administration of a Complex Estate tend to be between £6,000 – £12,000 plus VAT.
What Do These Costs Include?
- Making initial enquiries to enable us to value the estate assets and liabilities
- Conducting Certainty search for Will (if instructed)
- Drafting paperwork required for Grant application
- Dealing with HM Revenue & Customs in relation to the Inheritance Tax position
- Attendance upon you for signature of the Grant and Tax papers
- Advising you regarding your personal liability as an Executor and taking steps to mitigate your exposure to risk
- Implementing searches and checks, as required, or as instructed by you
- Submitting the Grant application
- Collecting in the assets
- Settling liabilities, including pecuniary legacies (cash gifts) and specific legacies (gifts of specific items)
- Drafting Estate Accounts
- Liaising with HM Revenue & Customs regarding Income Tax position up to date of death, and during the administration period, unless particularly complex
- Identifying all named beneficiaries
- Distributing the estate according to the Will
Full Estate Administration Timescale
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within eight to eighteen months. Typically, obtaining the Grant takes three to six months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between two to four months. Once this has been done, liabilities must be settled. Finally, we can distribute the assets, which normally take two to four weeks. We can only do this once the Estate Accounts have been approved by the Executors of the estate and all residuary beneficiaries, and we hold identity documentation and clear bankruptcy searches on the beneficiaries.
Elements which can prolong the administration of an estate include selling a property, dealing with shares and dealing with HM Revenue & Customs.
Additional disbursements payable by the estate where we are dealing with full administration are bankruptcy searches on each beneficiary. These cost in the region of £3.00.
Potential Additional Costs
If there is no Will or the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to 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.
If we are appointed as Executors for the estate, it is our responsibility to preserve the value of the estate assets, including any property. Depending on the circumstances, we would therefore have to charge the estate for any costs we incur as a result of this obligation. This could include, for example, changing the locks to ensure access to the property is limited. If we are sole Executors we will need to visit the property, which will add to the time we have to charge for.
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in the fees estimate.
LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY (“LPAs”)
We charge fixed fees for these as follows:-
- one LPA for one person = £500 + VAT
- one LPA for two people/two LPAs for one person = £650 + VAT
- two LPAs for two people = £900 + VAT
If a home visit is required, our charges for time spent travelling are two-thirds of the normal hourly rate of £175 per hour plus VAT, equalling £116.00 per hour plus VAT. Our charge for mileage is 45p per mile. If you live in Ludlow and are unable to attend the office due to mobility or health problems, we may visit you at home without charging you for the time spent travelling.