A Midlands lawyer is warning people about the dangers of DIY wills, amid an increase in contested...
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 usually 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, 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 to hold 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 a fixed fee where Personal Representatives ask us to obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (collectively known as a Grant of Representation) for them in simple estates, so they can then deal with the administration of the estate themselves.
Otherwise, we offer an hourly rate charging rate, whereby you will be only be charged for the time spent on the matter.
Grant of Representation only
Fixed Fee for grant of representation only, where the IHT205 is required (the short form of the IHT Return)
Legal Fees for Grant of Representation only, where the IHT 400 is required (the long form of the IHT Return)
The above fees are for applications where the Personal Representatives are providing the necessary details of the assets in the estate.
Dealing with the entire estate
We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Representation on your behalf and then continue to administer the estate on your behalf. As part of our retainer we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced Probate solicitor to work on your matter
- Identify the legally appointed executors, administrators and beneficiaries
- Obtain the necessary valuations of the assets and liabilities in the estate
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
- Provide and complete the relevant Probate and HMRC forms required to make the application
- Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
- Obtain the Grant of Representation
- Collect in all assets in the estate and settle the liabilities
- Finalise the deceased’s income tax affairs for the tax year to the date of death
- Distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will
- Prepare a detailed account of the estate for the Executors and Residuary Beneficiaries
The range of 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, shares and based on the number and value of any property.
We will handle the full process for you and give the following range of costs based on estimated time required. Please note that the term Property includes real property passing under the terms of the Will. So, if the deceased held a property jointly with their spouse, which passes directly to their spouse by survivorship on death, we would treat that estate as being one where there is no property to be dealt with.
Legal Fees for Estate administration
Total inc. VAT
Estate value of up to £50,000 without a property and up to 4 accounts (based on 7 – 10 hours of time)
£1,800 to £2,600
£360 to £520
£2,160 to £3,120
Estate Value between £50,000 to £100,000 without a property and up to 6 accounts (based on 9 to 16 hours of time)
£2,600 to £4,200
£520 to £840
£3,120 to £5,040
Estate Value £100,000 to £325,000 to include a property and up to 12 investments (based on 16 to 30 hours of time)
£4,200 to £7,800
£840 to £1,560
£5,040 to £9,360
Estate value £325,000 to £650,000 to include a property and up to 16 investments (based on 20 to 38 hours of time)
£5,200 to £9,900
£1,040 to £1,980
£6,240 to £11,880
Estate value £650,000 to £2,000,000 to include a property and up to 30 investments (based on 28 to 120 hours of time)
£7,300 to £32,000
£1,460 to £6,400
£8,760 to £38,400
Estate value over £2,000,000 costs by agreement.
Note: Values stated refer to the gross value of the estate
Our hourly rates
Partners and Consultants - £230 to £260 + VAT
Associates - £185 to £235 + VAT
Assistant Solicitors - £175 to £190 + VAT
Paralegals - £125 to £180 + VAT
Trainees - £110 + VAT
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.
Office Copies for the Grant of Probate, per copy (1 per asset usually)
Land Registry Search fee
Post in the Local Newspaper
Post in the London Gazette
The cost of selling or transferring a property is not included in the above prices. If you require this service, please let us know and a quote can be provided by our conveyancing team.
There may be additional disbursements if we have to deal with tracing a lost Will, tracing lost assets or replacing lost share certificates.
In some circumstances it may be necessary to pay a premium for an indemnity insurance policy, for example if beneficiaries can’t be traced.
If the estate is subject to IHT then it is likely that there will be additional disbursements for the cost of obtaining valuations for property, possessions and shareholdings.
Our fees usually fall within the ranges shown however there may be factors which would typically increase time spent and 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.
In addition to the fees detailed above, an additional fee may be charged if the Estate involves any of the following:
- Sorting through numerous old papers
- Missing title deeds or share certificates
- Beneficiaries having to be traced e.g. because their contact details are not known
- There are trusts in which the deceased had an interest which need to be considered
- Agricultural or business property
- Private company shares
- Foreign assets
- Specialist assets e.g. private collections
- The estate is subject to Inheritance Tax or there are complex tax issues
- Threatened, anticipated or actual litigation or disputes between beneficiaries
- The renunciation of an executor
- A Will where the terms are unclear
- Tax advice
- Deeds of variation or disclaimer
- Other unusual or complex situations
On average, dealing with a typical estate will take between 3 – 12 months. Generally, the time taken to obtain the Grant of Probate will take up to 3 months, followed by the collection of assets and distribution of the assets which can take a further 1 -9 months. Some complex estates involving IHT considerations can take up to 2 years to settle. The range takes into account handling everything from straightforward estate through to more complex estates.
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
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 in accordance with the terms of the Will
- Producing Estate accounts