We are required to set out price and service information for dealing with uncontested probate.
Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets
Dependent upon complexity, probate will usually take between 12 and 25 hours at £300 plus VAT per hour. Where possible, work will be undertaken by a paralegal, trainee or junior solicitor (supervised by a senior associate) at £150 plus VAT per hour. On average costs are estimated between £3500 - £7500 plus VAT and from the outset we will discuss with you when we intend to bill our fees. We will keep you informed of our fees monthly and throughout the probate process. We handle the full process for efficiency and to avoid duplication. The exact cost depends on individual circumstances.
As part of our fees we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated, experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter.
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries.
- Accurately identify the type of probate application you will require.
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application.
- Complete the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms.
- Draft a legal oath for you to swear or affirm.
- Make the application to the probate court on your behalf.
- Obtain the grant of probate or grant of letters of administration in the case of intestacy (no Will or an invalid Will).
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate.
- Keep you well informed of time scale and progress. On average, estates are dealt with within 3-12 months. Typically, collating the information required to obtain a grant takes 2-6 months, obtaining the grant of probate takes 3-8 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 2-8 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2-6 weeks.
These are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. These are the same at every firm. We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Disbursements are added to the invoice as follows:-
- Probate application fee for Grant of Probate of £155 plus 50p per Office Copy, although the government is set to increase probate fees in the near future.
- £5 swearing of the oath per executor plus £2 per exhibit to submit with the oath.
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches are £2 per beneficiary.
- £69.50 plus VAT for what is known as a section 27 notice in The London Gazette which protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
- £90 to £110 plus VAT for a section 27 notice in a Local Newspaper which also helps to protect against unexpected claims.
Examples of what we have previously charged clients (with names and details changed)
Example 1: where there was one beneficiary and property in the UK, the estate was straight forward, we had prepared the Will and information requested from the client was provided promptly. The matter took 3 months from instruction to completion and costs were £3400 plus VAT plus disbursements.
Mrs Straightforward’s husband died with:
- a valid Will;
- a property held in joint names between Mr and Mrs Straightforward;
- 2 bank accounts, 1 joint and 1 in a sole name;
- no other intangible assets;
- no foreign assets;
- 1 beneficiary;
- no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets, no claims made and no potential for claims against the estate; and
- no inheritance tax payable and no full account to HMRC.
Example 2: where there was an intestacy, property with a mortgage, disposal of benefits payable under a pension policy within 2 years of their death and credit card debt, timescale was 7 months from instruction to completion and costs were £7500 plus disbursements.
Mr Typical’s daughter died with:
- no Will;
- a property in the UK in a sole name with a mortgage;
- 4 bank accounts and a building society account, all of which were unknown;
- no foreign assets;
- 2 beneficiaries requiring advice in respect of a Deed of Variation in consideration of inheritance tax planning;
- no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets, no claim made but potential for a claim against the estate;
- no inheritance tax due although borderline so formal market valuations undertaken; and
- no full account to HMRC.
Example 3: where there was a discretionary trust Will, multiple beneficiaries, property in the UK and overseas, multiple bank accounts, no liquidity, business assets, unknown assets, significant lifetime gifts, potential for dispute and claims against the estate, the timescale was 14 months and costs were 1.5% of the gross estate plus VAT plus disbursements.
Ms Complex’s father died with:
- a complex discretionary trust Will and a number of detailed letters of wishes;
- no information left for anyone in respect of his assets, incurring hours of investigation;
- lifetime gifts within 7 years of death incurring inheritance tax liability and thorough investigation of bank statements; and
- an urgent application for an interim grant to preserve estate assets and sell property.