We offer two levels of support for clients - a Grant only service and a full estate administration service.
If you choose to instruct us, we will issue a Letter of Engagement which will set out our range of costs that we believe we could incur when dealing with the estate. When an unforeseen complexity arises or where the way in which you ask us to proceed means additional work, we will inform you of this and provide revised costs information.
For a simple estate (where no inheritance tax is payable), our Grant only service obtains a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration). The information is provided by the executors, who will be responsible for dealing with the estate once the Grant has been received.
Where a simplified estate form (IHT205) is submitted, our fees will be from £2,250 plus VAT. Where a full estate form (IHT400) is submitted our fees will be from £4,000 plus VAT. There will also be Probate Court fees of £273 per application, with a further £1.50 for each official copy.
VAT is currently charged at 20%.
On average, this process will take 10-14 weeks.
In addition to the legal fees, there is a disbursement of £50 per client and beneficiary for ID compliance checks. These checks are a regulatory requirement.
Most of our clients prefer to use our expertise throughout the entire Probate process. Our full service can include:
• Providing initial advice • Obtaining the relevant documents required to make the Probate application• Preparing the appropriate Probate papers including the tax returns • Making the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf and obtaining the Probate• Collecting in the estate assets• Paying tax, liabilities and legacies• Dealing with HMRC and obtaining appropriate tax clearances• Preparing full estate accounts and tax returns• Distributing the remainder of the estate to relevant beneficiaries
The exact cost will vary depending upon the type of assets involved, the size and complexity of the estate and the terms of the will. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property and no disputes and no inheritance tax payable, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, multiple properties and/or multiple other assets, costs will be at the higher end. If the deceased dies intestate the cost will also be greater.
Therefore, please note that the information provided below does not amount to and should not be treated as a definitive estimate. We will need further information before we can provide a bespoke estimate or fixed fee quote.
As a guide, our full estate administration fees start from £3,000 - £5,000 plus VAT for a very straightforward estate. For complex estates, fees can exceed £20,000 plus VAT. We charge on a time-spent basis. In some instances, we may agree a fixed fee or fee based on a percentage of the Estate value.
Disbursements may include*: Probate court fees of £273 per application, with a further £1.50 for each official copy, bankruptcy Land Charges Department searches (£10 per beneficiary), an estimated £150-£200 plus VAT to place a notice in The London Gazette & other relevant publications (to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors), valuation fees (VAT is chargeable), if selling a property, stockbroker/registrar fees (VAT is chargeable), if selling or transferring shares and/or investments, the costs of any insurances required, the fees (VAT is chargeable) to finalise tax to the date of death. There is a disbursement of £50 per client and beneficiary for ID compliance checks. These checks are a regulatory requirement.
*This is not an exhaustive list.
Any fees and disbursements, debts and inheritance tax payable is paid from the assets of the estate.
VAT is currently charged at 20%.
On average, estates are dealt with within 18 months. Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes 16 weeks. The collection of assets can take between 8-10 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 4 weeks. Please bear in mind that each case is different and in some cases these timescales may be extended. The more complex the estate, the longer the administration will take.
Where we can, we offer Wills on a fixed fee basis. Where a fixed fee is not appropriate, we will provide you with an estimate at the commencement of the work.
In both cases, we will be in a position to confirm our fees once we have reviewed your information and taken your instructions. The exact cost varies considerably as it will depend on the circumstances of the matter and the complexity of any tax advice sought.
In addition to the legal fees (which will be subject to VAT at 20%), there is a disbursement of £50 per client for ID compliance checks. These checks are a regulatory requirement.
Where we offer Wills on a fixed fee basis, we require our invoice to be settled in advance. This means that the money you pay our firm is received directly into our firm’s business account and, as such, is no longer your money. Nonetheless, we will safeguard the money. We consider the risk to you of paying the money to our firm directly into our firm’s business account for legal work that we have not yet done and for disbursements that have not yet been incurred to be minimal. The risks include, for example, where our firm were to become subject to an insolvency event, which could mean you have paid for the service but the service is not been delivered.
In some instances, where we prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney, we also require our invoice to be settled in advance.