Guide to Probate Fees
Guide to probate fees
Our costs will vary depending on whether you wish us simply to obtain the grant of probate, or letters of administration (if there is no Will) or to administer the whole estate.
Our fees are based upon the amount of work which is involved. The work will normally be carried out by Fiona Goode, the firm’s Principal and an experienced solicitor, who has been dealing with probate and wills for over 30 years. She is also the supervisor of the probate department. She charges for her work at a rate of £200 per hour plus VAT at 20% (ie £240 per hour including VAT).
Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration (only)
If you would like to carry out the estate administration yourself, and simply instruct us to obtain the grant of probate we anticipate this will take between 3-6 hours work at £240 per hour (including VAT at 20%) giving total costs estimated at £600- £1,200 which amounts to £720 – £1,440 (including VAT at 20%).
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is only one beneficiary and no property, the costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, and property and multiple bank accounts, the costs will be at the higher end.
In addition, there will be disbursements. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. The disbursements we anticipate incurring in obtaining the grant of probate are:
- Probate registry fees of £273 (no VAT is payable on this payment)
- £1.50 for each additional sealed copy of the grant (no VAT is payable on this disbursement)
Steps to be taken to obtain the grant of probate / letters of administration
These fees include:
- Meeting with you to take instructions.
- Preparing the probate application and arranging for you to sign the application form
- Submitting the completed paper work to the Probate Registry
- Sending out to you the issued grant of probate and sealed copies.
These fees are based upon: –
- There being no issue as to the validity of the Will or if no will all the beneficiaries under the intestacy are known and confirm their agreement to the proposed grant being issued
- You provide us with a schedule of the estate assets, how they are owned, and their value at the initial meeting or shortly thereafter
- You provide details of any declarable gifts made by the deceased during the last 7 years of their life at the initial meeting or shortly after that meeting
- The gross value of the estate including any declarable life time gifts does not exceed £325,000 or £650,000 when the deceased was a surviving widow/widower (and no part of the nil rate band has been utilised)
- The deceased was domiciled in England and Wales and did not own any foreign assets
- There is no dispute regarding the estate that we are to be involved with
- You deal with all other aspects of the administration yourself
- There are no enquiries by the DWP with regard to pension credit or other payments (any additional work will be calculated based on the time we spend working on this)
Once you have provided us with the information we need, we would hope to have prepared the probate application within one month and in general the probate registry will issue the grant of probate within 8 -16 weeks.
If you wish us to carry out any further work in addition to that set out above please discuss this with us.
Grant of probate/letters of administration and estate administration
If you wish we can assist with all aspects of the estate administration for you.
As a guide we anticipate this will take between 10 – 20 hours work at £200 per hour plus VAT at 20% which amounts to £40 VAT (charge per hour £240 including VAT). Our total legal fees estimated to be in the region of £2,000 – £4,000 plus VAT at 20% (£2,400 – £4,800 including VAT) plus disbursements (payments to third parties). This does not include any charges for the sale of property which will be charged in accordance with our normal conveyancing fees.
The exact costs will depend upon the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary, no property and only one or two bank accounts costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and many bank accounts, the costs will be at the higher end.
If inheritance tax is payable upon the estate our costs will be at the higher end of the range as additional work will be involved in completing the full IHT forms. If income is received during the administration of the estate there will be income tax returns to complete for which an additional fee based upon the time spent will be charged.
We will handle the whole process for you. The above indication of our costs is for estates where:
- Meeting with you to take instructions
- Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
- Obtaining ID from the executors and beneficiaries in compliance with the AML legislation
- Contacting the banks and financial institutions to obtain correct information about the value of assets at the date of death of the deceased
- Advising you on any inheritance tax liability
- Preparing the probate application and if required the Inheritance Tax forms and arranging for you to sign the application form
- Submitting IHT to HMRC and arranging for the inheritance tax to be paid out of the deceased’s bank accounts (if any tax is payable)
- Submitting the probate application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
- Notifying you once the grant of probate has been obtained
- Gathering in the assets
- Arranging for notices to be posted in the London Gazette and a local paper if required by you
- Paying any debts of the deceased out of the assets received
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
The above estimate includes us acting for you in the following key stages:
- There is a valid will or the beneficiaries under an intestacy (where there is no will) are a surviving spouse or children and all potential beneficiaries are in agreement with how the estate will be administered
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
- There are no more than 4 beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
- No claims are made against the estate.
Potential additional costs include:
- If there is no will time spent in ascertaining the beneficiaries
- If the estate includes any share holdings (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
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included
- Completing full Inheritance tax return and arranging the payment of Inheritance tax
- Completing HMRC income tax returns
The main disbursements payable in addition to our legal fees include: –
- Probate application fee which is currently £273 (no VAT is payable on this fee)
- Additional copies of the grant at a cost of £1.50 each (1 per asset) (no VAT payable)
- Land charges bankruptcy search £2 per beneficiary plus VAT at 20%, so £2.40 including VAT.
- Trustee Act notices in both the London Gazette and local newspaper. These depend upon the local newspaper used but for Oldham will be about £150 – £300 (including VAT at 20%)
- Indemnity fees if original share certificates are missing. We can give a more accurate quote once we have more information.
Disbursements are costs related to your 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.
How long will this take?
Assuming that everything proceeds smoothly we would normally expect in the position to meet with you to submit the application for probate approximately 2-3 months after our initial meeting where no inheritance tax is payable or 4-5 months after our initial meeting where inheritance tax is payable. We normally receive the grant of probate within 8 – 16 weeks of it being submitted to the Probate Registry.
Once we have received the grant of probate, we will collect the assets and pay any debts. It can take a further 3-6 months to conclude the administration of the estate and distribute the assets.
There may be factors which delay the completion of the administration including selling a property, negotiations with HMRC and delays in obtaining instructions either from beneficiaries or from the Department for Work and Pension. Where the deceased received pension credit, even if the estate is relatively small, the DWP will usually request a breakdown of the estate and this can add considerably to the length of time it takes to finalise the administration.
Key stages in dealing with the administration of the estate
- Providing you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter
- Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators (if there is no will) and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
- Obtaining relevant information and documents about the assets and debts of the estate required to make the application
- Completing the probate application and relevant HMRC forms
- Drafting the legal statement for you to sign
- Making the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- Collecting in the assets
- Paying any known debts
- Distributing the assets in the estate.