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 sometimes be overwhelming and confusing. Having compassionate, experienced legal advice can make this difficult situation much easier on you and your loved ones.
Where the deceased person left a Will or where there is significant wealth and property involved, the sense of burden can increase. Where there is a Will 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 or the Will is invalid, or it does not specify the Executors, an Administrator will usually 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 emotion, and that the processes and legal requirements involved can be complex.
We will give you an expected time frame of how long probate should take based on the size and complexity of the Estate 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.
Our services and fees
The fees involved in a probate matter can vary and this will depend on the individual circumstances involved.
We offer two services in relation to the Administration of Estates:
- Grant only Application
- Grant and administration of the Estate
Grant only applications
This will involve the preparation of the IHT account (based on figures provided by the executors), the Grant application and dealing with the Probate Registry. For this service we work on a fixed fee basis which is dependent on which Inheritance Tax account is required:
For the IHT205 we charge a fixed £300.00 + VAT
For the IHT400 we charge a fixed £500.00 + VAT
Full Administration of an Estate
We will undertake all the necessary steps required in the administration of the Estate. Our fees for the full administration are based on two factors, a time element and a value element.
You will be charged on a time spent basis at an hourly rate, which ranges from £133.33 - £160.00 + VAT.
1% of the gross estate passing under the Will, up to a value of £500,000 and 0.5% on the gross estate over £500,000 + VAT.
Our fees vary from case to case, as no two estates are the same.
The range of fees will depend on issues such as:
- Whether there is a valid will or intestacy
- Size and capacity of the estate
- The nature of the assets
- The number of beneficiaries
- Whether Inheritance Tax is payable, or requires a full HMRC account
- Whether there are any claims made against the estate. Such claims may be referred to our litigation department as a separate matter.
Example 1 - a simple estate
- First to die of a married couple
- The deceased owned half share in the family home
- 2 bank accounts in their sole name
- Whole estate gifted to their spouse in the Will.
- No Inheritance Tax is payable
Our fees would be in the region of £1,000 - £2,000 + VAT and disbursements.
Example 2 - A more complex estate
- Unmarried with no children
- Deceased owned their home
- Several bank accounts
- Various stocks and shares
- Estate valued at £500,000
- Estate gifted to various relatives and charities in the Will.
- Inheritance Tax is payable
Our fees would be in the region of £5,000 - £10,000 + VAT and disbursements.
Disbursements (For both options)
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
Land Registry Search fee (per copy)
Bankruptcy Search fee (per beneficiary)
Post in the London Gazette and local newspaper (circa)
Valuer's fees (for both real estate; chattels; business) these are very specific to each case.
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 cannot 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
The cost of selling or transferring a property is not included in this price, if you require this service, please let us know and we will provide you with an estimate in that regard.
Our fees are fixed and 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.
On average, probate for the typical estate will take between 6 – 18 months. Generally, the time taken to obtain the Grant of Probate will take between 3 - 6 months, followed by the collection of assets and distribution of the assets which can take between 4 -12 months.
If any complications arise, this could take longer than anticipated. Where we need to liaise with third parties, we are somewhat reliant on their turnaround times. We will keep you up to date and inform you if we anticipate any delays.
With every transaction there are key steps which will be undertaken, which may vary according to individual circumstances.
- Locating and obtaining the original Will;
- Valuing the Assets in the Estate and details of any debts owed;
- Prepare a full schedule of assets and debts in the estate of the deceased valued at the date of death;
- Identify the beneficiaries under the will or Intestacy rules;
- Prepare the appropriate inheritance tax return and the application for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
- Collect in the assets including dealing with the sale of any assets;
- Settles any liabilities;
- Produce estate accounts;
- Distribute the estate;