Probate - How much will it cost me/ what will it cover?
At Lawson Lewis Blakers we only charge for the work done unlike other firms and organisations that charge a percentage of the value of an estate (a value element) in addition to work done.
There are many ways we can help you. From just obtaining a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration if no Will or named Executor) to handling the full process for you.
Just obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration for you would mean our retainer is limited to preparing the relevant paperwork to lead to the Grant. All other aspects of the administration will lie with you including the accuracy of the information you give us.
Our fees for this work depend on several factors, especially whether an estate is liable for Inheritance Tax as HMRC require far more detailed information (on their Inheritance Tax account) in those cases and also some cases that are not taxable. Therefore our fees need to reflect that as follows:-
- Obtaining Grant only (Non-taxable estate): £900 plus VAT
- Obtaining Grant only (Taxable estate): £1,500 to £2,000 plus VAT
- Obtaining Grant only (Non-taxable estate but completion of detailed Inheritance Tax account eg if the deceased had an annuity): £1,200 to £1,500 plus VAT
There will also be disbursements of:-
- Probate Court fee, currently £155 (to change/increase when Parliamentary time)
- Fee for official copies of the Grant (For you to produce to each asset holder) 50p each
- Oaths have been replaced by Statements of Truth and it is now unlikely for swear fees to arise save for statutory declarations £5 each Executor or Administrator plus £2 each exhibit each time declared
As part of this fee we Will:-
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor or legal executive to work on your matter.
- Identify the legally appointed Executors or Administrators.
- 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 Probate and send official copies to you.
There can be many aspects in a Probate application which cannot always be anticipated and may incur additional costs. The above estimate does NOT cover (but this list is not exhaustive) an estate which includes:-
- Foreign property/Assets.
- Sourcing funds to pay Inheritance Tax (or any other taxes). Any tax payable must be paid from the estate and is not included in our costs.
- Locating Administrators or missing Executors.
- Identifying or contacting any beneficiaries.
- Preparing any affidavits required by HM Probate Registry.
- Any contested estate.
On average obtaining a Grant of this nature can take 6 to 12 weeks from your instructions (depending on the HMRC requirements).
The exact cost of fully administering an estate is dependent on many circumstances. For example where there is one beneficiary and no property and say one or two bank accounts will be at the lower range than an estate with many beneficiaries and numerous investments. Where we are Executors and need (or are asked to) register a death, make funeral/wake arrangements and carry out insurance property inspections this can also affect the fee but, again, will only be based on the work carried out.
In our experience, the size of an estate is often an indication of the work that may be required, although this is not always the case. As a guide please see below a scale of charges based on the work we carry out in administering an estate dependant on size and complexity:-
SCALE OF CHARGES
This can vary dependent upon the number of different assets/beneficiaries. The Scale below is solely based on our experience of past matters but all our work is solely based on work done so may be less (or more). We do NOT charge a value element.
- Up to £50,000 estates of this size does not always require Probate but other action may be needed including making funeral arrangements) £1,500 - £2,000 plus VAT
- £50,001 - £200,000 £2,000 - £3,000 plus VAT
- £200,001 - £325,000 £3,500 - £5,000 plus VAT
- £325,001 - £500,000 £5,000 - £8,000 plus VAT
- £500,001 - £1,000,000 £8,000 - £12,000 plus VAT
- £1,000,000 – £2,000,000 £12,000 - £15,000 plus VAT
- Over £2,000,000 £15,000 minimum plus VAT
Disbursement (ie costs payable to third parties) are in addition to these fees and include:-
- Probate Court fee (currently) £155 (to change/increase when Parliamentary time)
- Oaths have been replaced by Statements of Truth and it is now unlikely for swear fees to arise save for statutory declarations: £5 each Executor or Administrator plus £2 each exhibit each time declared
- Bankruptcy Search fees (Executor has a duty not to distribute monies to a bankrupt person): £2 per name on each distribution (unless beneficiaries reside abroad then cost is substantially more and depends on country of residence) plus VAT
- Statutory Notice fees in local newspaper and London Gazette (average Cost) £250 - £300
- (NB Conveyancing costs are NOT included)
In handling the full administration for you this can include:-
- Obtaining the valuations of all assets.
- Drafting the Inland Revenue account required by HMRC and calculating the Inheritance Tax where applicable.
- Sourcing payment of the Inheritance Tax.
- Drafting Executors or Administrators oath and attending you upon swearing/affirming the same.
- Applying for the Grant.
- Upon receipt of Grant, collecting in assets and if applicable marketing and selling property (but not including Conveyancing costs).
- Liaising with HMRC re Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax (any tax payable must be paid from the estate and is not included in our costs).
- Identifying and notifying all beneficiaries and carrying out bankruptcy searches.
- Preparing Estate Accounts.
- Accounting & distributing estate to beneficiaries.
These fees assume that:-
- The estate is wholly in the UK.
- There is a valid Will or easily identifiable beneficiaries under an intestacy (an intestacy being where there is no Will or all the beneficiaries in a person’s Will have died before them).
- There is no one contesting the estate, the Will or the division or assets.
- Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax calculations are straightforward and do not require accountant’s input
The time this takes can vary considerably. A lot of factors need to be taken into account such as selling a property. Also, an Executor may be advised to wait 6 months from the date of the Grant (NOT the date of death) before making any distribution. This is to give the Executor the protection of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 under which potential claimants have 6 months from the date of the Grant to make a claim.
Therefore it often can take between 3 to 18 months (or longer) for an estate to be finalised but usually will be between 9 and 15 months.
POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL COSTS
If there is no Will or any missing beneficiaries, a large share or property portfolio or foreign property there is likely to be significant additional costs which could affect the estate. We can give you a more accurate idea of costs once we have more information.
Of course, we can help you to whatever extent you would like us to. For example we can just obtain the Grant for you but then also assist in distributing to beneficiaries. Our assistance can be tailored to your needs and we could discuss with you our fees once we know your precise needs.
Although not included in the above fees there are other aspects which we can help you with such as:-
- Deeds of Variation - fees start at £300 plus VAT.
- Conveyancing - please refer to our Moving Home page for further information.
- Contested Estate - please refer to our Litigation page for further information.
Employment Law- Fixed Fees
INITIAL FREE HALF HOUR APPOINTMENT
This includes:- Attending you for a preliminary appointment to see whether you have a case or can defend a case. Please note that this is for 30 minutes only and does not include advice in writing.
We are able to offer fixed fees to both claimants and respondents in relation to Employment Tribunal claims. Please contact us for specialist advice and further details.