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 an Executor, an Administrator will need to be appointed.
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 informed 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 that our team includes members of the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners, who have attained the TEP qualification. Members undertake rigorous exams in order to reach the required level to obtain the qualification. Further information about STEP can be found at https://www.step.org/for-the-public.
Key Milestones and Timescales
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
On average, probate for the typical estate will take between 3 – 12 months. Generally, the time taken to obtain the Grant of Probate will be between 3 - 6 months, followed by the collection of assets and distribution which can take a further 3 - 6 months, on average. The range takes into account handling everything from straightforward estates through to more complex estates.
Our hourly rates range from £155 – £345 (+20% VAT) depending on the complexity of your case and the individual circumstances.
Range of Costs with Estimated Fee for Additional Work
Our legal fees will start from £1,500 plus VAT when applying for a Grant of Probate only. The fees will vary and are dependent upon individual circumstances and the estate.
In relation to the administration of estates we charge our fees based on the hourly rate of the fee earner which is usually £155 – £345 plus VAT. In some cases, to act fairly, this hourly rate will be reduced by 16.66% and a percentage such as 1% based on the gross value of the estate will be added to the cost of the time recorded to reflect the level of responsibility undertaken by us. This will exclude any residence in which the deceased resided where the rate will be ½% of the gross value of the deceased’s interest in that residence.
The fees will depend on issues such as the number of beneficiaries and whether the estate includes any property. Probate fees will also typically increase, depending on whether there are multiple bank accounts, investments, shareholdings and the number and value of any property.
Where we will be instructed to obtain probate and administer a simple estate for you, our charges could be in the region of £4000.00 + VAT, based on hourly rates as outlined above, this estimate is for estates where:
- There is a valid Will
- There are no executors who have died or refuse to act
- There is no more than one property
- There are a small number of bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are a small number of beneficiaries
- If any beneficiaries do not have capacity under the Mental Health Act or if there is a minor interest then this could incur additional work and charges
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries (or Executors) on the division of assets. If disputes arise this will lead to an increase of costs
- If there are any trusts in the Will we will quote for any further work involved
- There are no missing beneficiaries
- There is inheritance tax payable and the executors need to submit a full account to HMRC
- There are no claims made against the estate
For larger and more complex estates which could include assets abroad we will provide a more detailed quotation once we are aware of the full facts and complexities of the estate.
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.
Probate Fee - £273
Office Copies for the Grant of Probate - £1.50
Land Registry Search fee - £3+VAT
Bankruptcy Search fee (per beneficiary) - £2+VAT
Post in the Local Newspaper (estimate) - £129
Post in the London Gazette (estimate) - £69.50
Electronic ID Check (per person) - £10+VAT
Our fees 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
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