Estate Administration (Grant of probate & letters of administration)
Under the SRA’s Transparency Rules we are required to provide information concerning the price and service in respect of the probate work that we do. The intention behind this requirement is to provide potential clients with a good understanding of what is involved in this type of work, as well as an idea of the total cost and the type of steps needed to be taken during the process.
No two probate matters are ever the same and are thus unlikely to be identical in terms of cost, so please do call us to obtain from us a free quotation to enable our fee estimate to be as accurate as possible. We’re happy to work out a quotation based upon the information you give to us.
The basic steps involved in a probate
- Detailing of all estate assets and liabilities for which the grant will be
- Completion of all paperwork to submit to HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) for IHT (inheritance tax) purposes
- Completion of the application for the grant to be sent to Probate Registry
- Obtaining the grant of probate grant and to collect in the estate
- Settling outstanding liabilities and administration expenses, including any tax owing and due.
- Distribution of the estate to those beneficiaries entitled to receive
Often dealing with an estate can be highly complex and thus the above is a guide only.
The wide range of variables must be considered when providing you with a quotation.
There are frequently missing documents, businesses and more than one property in an estate. There are also many factors which could cause complications to the administration We charge by an hourly rate, to which VAT is added.
Estimated fees and disbursements
Presently only our partners handle Probate work. Such work is charged at £225 per hour plus VAT – our total hourly rate for probate work is therefore £270 inc.VAT. Please note that VAT is charged on all fees at 20% and on all relevant disbursements at 20%.
Our charges are calculated according to time spent in dealing with the estate and a “value” element. This is a percentage of the gross value of the estate, as the monetary value involved is one measure of the responsibility falling on the firm. According to Law Society Guidelines the value element of the charge is 1.5% of the gross estate, less the house plus 0.75% of the house.
Our average costs for a relatively simple estate with say one beneficiary and one or two bank accounts, but no property, is in the region of £1,750 plus VAT of £350 (total cost £2,100). This of varies depending on how simple the Estate is.
For a more complex estate which may have a number of assets and beneficiaries and a small number of electronically held shares, bank accounts, trusts and a residential property, the cost is more likely to be in the region of £4,850 plus VAT of £970 (£5,820). This of course varies depending on how complex the Estate is.
When we provide estimates, we make the following assumptions:
- There are no technical reasons why a grant cannot be obtained from the Probate
- There are no claims against the estate by creditors, relatives, or anyone else.
- Family assistance helps us quickly identify all assets and liabilities.
- We will be given all relevant contact details of all relevant parties to ensure smooth communication is possible.
- All beneficiaries are at least 18 years of age and able to understand and sign documentation as
- There is no inheritance tax to pay, and the executors do not need to submit a full account to
- You give us permission to instruct a third-party accountant (subject to you agreeing a quote for their charges) to complete tax returns where appropriate
- There are no material disagreements between the beneficiaries.
- There are no material disagreements between the trustees and beneficiaries.
- There are no questions raised by HM Revenue &
- There is no claim by the Department for Work and
Obviously if any of the above is incorrect or becomes incorrect, then we would need to provide you with a revised fee estimate and timetable for work to be completed.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. These are in addition to our own fees. We handle the payment of these third-party costs on your behalf as part of our service.
Typical disbursements in straightforward estate administration work include:
- Probate Registry application fee £155 (no VAT)
- Copies of the grant issued at the same time £5 to £10 (no VAT)
£1.50 per official copy and we usually suggest obtaining one per asset
- Bankruptcy searches, per beneficiary £2 (no VAT)
- Notices in the London Gazette and a local newspaper £225 (approx., including VAT)
which offers protection against unexpected claims and demands
Where these apply, we will price these for you and if qualified third-party advice is needed, we will consult with you and provide you with their cost estimates in advance of us instructing them.
How long does it take to complete a probate?
The time taken to complete the administration of an estate can vary significantly from estate to estate. Much depends on the variables like the number of assets and beneficiaries etc.
A “simple” estate can take three to four months to administer.
A “complicated” estate can take up to a year.
A “very complex” estate can take many years to complete (there may be properties to be sold and business to be wound up etc.)
These estimates are just a guide. We have many years of experience, but the best estimate can only be given to you once we know more about your particular case.
What is not included in your administration service
Should any work outside the scope of the ‘Full administration service’ be required, a charge will be made by reference to an hourly rate of £225 per hour. The rate you will pay depends on the seniority and expertise of the Solicitor that is helping you. For an accurate figure, please do not hesitate to contact us so we can advise further.
- Registering the death
- Arranging the funeral
- The administration of any assets situated outside of England and Wales.
- Work arising from gifts or other transfers e.g. into Trust made by the deceased during lifetime.
- The administration of an estate that is insolvent, i.e. where there are not enough assets in the estate to pay all the debts and liabilities of the estate
Work involved in finding missing beneficiaries or executors.
- Dealing with any disputes in connection with the estate. Examples of this are a claim against the estate by a creditor, a claim against the estate by an individual who believes adequate provision has not been made for them, a challenge to the validity of the Will by any party, any dispute arising between the executors, administrators, trustees or beneficiaries of the Will, any request for information made by, or claim brought by, the Department for Work & Pensions, any claim brought by HM Revenue & Customs.
- Conveyancing which includes dealing with the sale or transfer of any property or properties in the estate.
- Work that does not relate to the administration of the estate, but is work on behalf of another party. Examples of this are administration of any trust created under the Will or the administration or winding up of any lifetime trusts or Will trusts by which the deceased was a trustee, beneficiary or potential beneficiary.
- Work involving a business or company that is properly chargeable to that business or company.
- Work carried out to rectify or vary a Will or the intestacy rules for the purposes of obtaining a Grant of Representation, providing tax advantages or altering beneficial entitlement.
In cases where the full administration of the estate has been particularly straightforward by comparison to the value of the estate, then it may be appropriate to reduce our fees. We will review this at the end of the administration of the estate and any reduction in the fee will be entirely at our discretion.
There may be occasions when the full administration of the estate is likely to be unusually time-consuming for example where there are a large number of legacies or beneficiaries, farming or business interests or unusual assets. In this case, the fixed fees may not be appropriate and an alternative charging structure would be discussed and agreed with you at the earliest opportunity.
We also offer a more limited service, where you only require assistance with application for a Grant of Representation, as follows:
All prices exclude VAT
Limited service fixed fee
- Obtaining a Grant of Representation only - (To include completing the oath and HMRC ‘short’ (IHT 205) tax form using complete information supplied by you) - £950
- Obtaining a Grant of Representation only - (To include completing the probate application and HMRC ‘short’ (IHT 205) tax form and claiming transferable nil rate band using complete information supplied by you) - £1,250
- Obtaining a Grant of Representation only- (To include completing the probate application and HMRC ‘long’ (IHT 400) tax form using complete information supplied by you) - £2,500
- Obtaining a Grant of Representation only - (To include completing the probate application and HMRC ‘long’ (IHT 400) tax form and claiming transferable nil rate band and/or residence nil rate band and/or transferable residence nil rate using complete information supplied by you) - £3,500
Please note our Limited Service is execution only using complete information supplied by you. Should any work outside the scope of the service be required a charge will be made by reference to an hourly rate details of which will be supplied by the person helping you.