Probate & Estate Administration
Probate is the process whereby someone acts on behalf of the deceased to collect any money or assets that form part of the deceased’s estate.
When there is a Will in place there will be a named Executor to carry out the administration and distribution of the Estate. When there is no Will, then someone close to the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate.
When a loved one dies, it’s clearly an emotional time. However, the formalities of administering, distributing and winding up the estate still have to be completed.
We have considerable experience of acting either as the executors appointed under a Will or, alternatively, as advisors to the appointed family executors. We are also experts in dealing with intestate estates, where the deceased has made no Will and advice is needed on the various issues which arise.
Dealing with an estate can be a complicated business, and may involve the settlement of the deceased’s tax affairs, payment of the debts of the deceased, arranging for valuations of the assets of the deceased, tracking missing beneficiaries, administration of ongoing trusts, dealing with the Probate Registry and the department of Work & Pensions, preparing full estate accounts, calculating Inheritance Tax and liaising with the Capital Taxes Office.
Probate – Price Transparency
On 6 December 2018, the SRA introduced new pricing transparency rules for various areas of law requiring firms to publish their prices online. One of the areas is Probate (uncontested cases with all assets in the UK).
The costs associated with Probate – applying for the Grant, collecting and distributing the assets varies based on the circumstances of the individual and the complexity of each matter. We offer a no-obligation initial telephone consultation for all new enquiries free of charge to help us understand your requirements, wherever possible we will agree a fixed fee at the outset.
Our fee for simply obtaining the Grant of probate / Letters of Administration
Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration only (where no IHT is payable) – £850 (+VAT at 20%).
Once the grant has been obtained, Executors/Administrators will deal with the administration of the estate personally. The Executors/Administrators will provide date of death balances for assets and liabilities. Once Grant is issued the Executors/Administrators will collect in assets, settle liabilities, prepare accounts, deal with taxation in administration and deal with distributions. If matters become complicated (for example IHT is payable) or our assistance is required further then time spent will be charged at our hourly rate of £265 plus VAT.
Uncontested Probate / Administration Cost Illustration – applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets
The average Probate / Grant of Letters of Administration matter costs £2,250 (+ VAT at 20%). The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be lower. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts costs will be higher to reflect the level of work involved. Our hourly rate is £265 per hour (+ VAT at 20%).
We will handle the full process for you. This cost illustration is for estates where:
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are 2-4 beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
- There are no claims made against the estate
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Disbursements included in this cost illustration:
- Probate application fee of £155
- Bankruptcy Search (£2 per beneficiary)
- Post in a local newspaper and The London Gazette (if required), protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. £200 (+ VAT at 20%). Fees dependant on publication.
- Bank Transfer (per transfer) – £12.00 (+ VAT at 20%).
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor (of Partner level) to work on your matter. You will liaise directly with your Solicitor on all substantive matters.
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Identify the type of Grant application you will require (Probate or Letters of Administration)
- Liaise with financial institutions for pre-grant information
- Complete the Probate Application including a Statement of Truth and relevant HMRC forms
- Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
- Deal with any requisitions raised by the Probate Registry
- Collect in assets and settle all liabilities
- Prepare accounts for approval
- Deal with distributions liaising with beneficiaries on your behalf
- Advise you on matters of income and capital gains tax in the administration period
Potential additional costs
If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information. If any additional copies of the grant are required (1 per asset usually), they will cost £1.50 each. Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included, we do however have a dedicated property team who can assist.
How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6-12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 8-12 weeks.
Our team has a wealth of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to wills and estate administration. They have particular expertise in high value estates and inheritance tax matters. We have various members of the team who may work on your matter, Partner, Chris Taylor will have ultimate responsibility for dealing with your case. For details of specialisms and qualifications of the team visit our Meet the Team page.