Thank you for looking at our probate services. 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 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 and any beneficiaries advised throughout. You will have the confidence that you are our priority.
We are proud to hold Lexcel and LawNet Accreditations, 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 primarily fixed fees for our probate services, but some complex matters may necessitate an hourly rate whereby you will be charged for each hour of work undertaken.
In arriving at an agreed fee, the following factors will be taken onto account:
- Whether or not there is a valid Will
- Whether or not any executors have died or refuse to act
- The number of properties and their values
- The number of other assets and their values
- Whether there are any complex assets
- Whether there is inheritance tax payable
- The number of beneficiaries
- Whether any beneficiaries do not have capacity under the Mental Health Act or are minors.
- Whether there are any missing beneficiaries
- Whether there are any disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise this will lead to an increase of costs
- The prospect of any claims against the Estate
- Whether there are any trusts in the Will
- How many meetings may be required (usually two)
The administration of an Estate may include the following:
- Providing you with a dedicated and experienced lawyer to work on your matter
- Identifying the legally appointed executors, administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identifying the type of Probate application you will require
- Identifying assets, liabilities and other relevant information required to make the application
- Preparing the Probate Application and relevant HMRC Forms
- Making the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- Placing Statutory Notices
- Collecting in the assets
- Preparing Estate Accounts for approval
- Distributing the estate
Although the fixed fee quote we provide is tailored to your specific requirements, we have set out below some typical examples of our fees. These examples are for illustrative purposes only and it should be noted that factors affecting each Estate can vary considerably.
Estate 1 –
- Property with a value of up to £150,000,
- Cash assets of up to £50,000
- Investments of up to £100,000
- One executor acting
- We are only required to obtain the Grant of Probate
Our Fees: £900 to £1,200*
Estate 2 –
- Property with a value of up to £150,000 where the executor is happy to deal with house related matters such as utility bills, property checks and council tax themselves;
- Cash assets of up to £100,000 spread between 3 different banks
- One executor acting
- Three adult beneficiaries
Our Fees: £3,000 to £4,000
Estate 3 –
- Property with a value of up to £500,000 where we are required to look after all property related matters;
- Cash assets of up to £200,000 split between two different banks
- Investments worth up to £200,000 split between three companies
- Tax mitigation advice required
- Two executors acting
- Two adult beneficiaries
Our Fees: £7,000 to £12,000*
*All prices are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees or court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Standard disbursements are as follows:
|Additional Office Copies for the Grant of Probate||£1.50 each||N/A||£1.50|
|Bankruptcy Search fee (per beneficiary)||£2 (UK resident)||20%||£2.40|
|Statutory Notices(Local and London Gazette)||£150 to £250||20%||£180-300|
|Estimated total Disbursements||£456.90-576.90|
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
Potential Additional Costs
In the event that there is no Will or the estate consists of any complex assets or there are complex tax considerations to be dealt with, 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 at the outset and advise of any additional fees. Sometimes these kinds of complications only become apparent later on down the line however, in which case we will notify you of any such complications as soon as they have been detected.
Similarly, if the estate involves the creation or winding up of a trust, this will incur additional charges and we will have a discussion with you about these additional costs and your options once the circumstances of the trust have been investigated.
Our fees are usually fixed and include the standard items detailed above; however we do exclude certain unusual matters from our fixed fees.
In the event that any of these excluded matters arise, we will discuss with you whether or not you wish us to assist you with them. 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.
The cost of selling or transferring a property is not included in our fixed fees. If you require this service, please let us know and we will provide you with an estimate in that regard. You can find information on our residential sale charges here.
Third Party Services
Additional services that will require the assistance of a third party at additional cost include:
- Specialist tax and accountancy advice
- Valuations for property, investments or other assets
- Property Clearance
- Certain services involving foreign assets
On average, probate for the typical estate not subject to inheritance tax usually takes between 6-24 months depending on complexity.
If an estate is subject to inheritance tax, it is more usual for the process to take between 18 and 36 months.
These timescales depend largely on whether there is a property to sell, whether or not there are stock-based investments in the estate which have an impact on the estate’s tax returns, and the length of HMRC’s backlogs in dealing with correspondence at any given time.