Costs for Probate and Estate Administration
The death of a loved one is a challenging time. Our experienced team will be able to handle the matter in a sympathetic and efficient manner to support you and your family through the administration process.
We understand this is a difficult time and seek to make this process as transparent and stress-free as possible for you. Contact us at 01432 278 179 for a free, confidential chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How long does probate and estate administration take? What are the stages?
There are two elements involved in the probate and estate administration process. The time involved at each stage will depend on a few factors, including your unique situation.
The first thing we will do is meet with you to discuss your situation. We will then confirm your instructions to us in writing, with any advice we have given, the estimated amount of time it will take and the estimated costs involved. This will detail the steps we will take, when we will contact you again, any further information we need from you, and any action you need to take.
Grant of Probate
The Land Registry won’t allow a transfer of title of a property without a Grant of Probate unless the property(ies) are owned jointly. If the estate is worth more than £5,000 in value, if your loved one owned any property, or if a financial institution such as a bank needs to see the Grant of Probate before releasing funds. This grant is what enables you to carry out the other tasks involved in handling a person’s legal and tax affairs after they have passed away.
After our initial discussion and meeting, we will prepare the probate papers based on the information you provide us with. Then, we will apply for the Grant of Probate. This process, subject to receiving all of the information in a timely manner, typically takes about 6-8 weeks.
After the Grant of Probate has been processed, the remaining Estate Administration tasks we can support you with can include but aren’t limited to:
- Applying for probate of confirmation;
- Completing all Inheritance Tax forms;
- Income Tax work for the year of death;
- Postal redirection;
- Registering unregistered properties;
- Valuing assets;
- Property valuation and sale;
- Cancelling or transferring utilities;
- Arranging for a pet to be re-homed;
- Distributing funds to beneficiaries;
- And other relevant tasks based on your situation and of those involved.
Straight-forward estates, uncontested and with a single property, are typically resolved in 3 to 6 months. Larger estates or more complicated cases can take 6 to 12 months. After our initial meeting, we will be able to give an estimate that is more accurate to your particular situation. However, the current COVID 19 situation has caused delays when making an application for a Grant of probate.
How much does it cost?
Your personal situation and that of those involved will have an impact on the final cost. Our legal team works on an hourly rate basis between £110 to £350 excluding VAT, depending on the person instructed and the qualifications and experience that they provide. Legal fees attract a VAT rate of 20%. The administration will also involve additional fees to third parties, known as disbursements, which we have detailed in a section below.
We would keep you informed throughout the process to make you aware of any additional fees or if we anticipate additional hours are needed.
For a better idea of costs relevant to your circumstances, please call us at 01432 278 179 and we can advise.
Grant of Probate
Our hourly rates are £110 to £350 excluding VAT, depending on the person instructed. If the probate is uncontested and the case is straightforward, this process would incur 4-6 hours of our fees ranging from typically £880 to £1,320 excluding VAT. This doesn’t include third-party payments, known as disbursements that we have detailed further below, which would include the probate application fee of £155 plus £3 for additional copies of the Grant which is usual and recommended.
Our hourly rates are £110 to £350 excluding VAT, depending on the person instructed. The amount of time spent will determine the final costs. Typically, estate administration would incur between 7 to 100 hours of our support over 3 to 18 months, to a range of £1,400 to £20,000 excluding VAT.
What is a “Typical” Estate?
These time estimates are based on the assumption that:
- There is a valid, uncontested will
- There is only one property, based in the UK
- There are 0-5 bank or building society accounts involved
- There are no other intangible assets (such as such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, or shares held)
- There are no more than two beneficiaries and there are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets
- There is no inheritance tax payable (typically that the estate is valued at less than £325,000 plus when applicable the ‘main residence’ band of £175,000 giving a total allowance of £500,000)
- There are no claims being made against the estate
Factors that Affect Cost
There are some factors that could increase the time involved, and therefore the costs incurred throughout the probate and estate administration process.
These are some of the factors that could increase the time involved:
- If there is Inheritance Tax to be paid
- If the estate is still earning a regular income where there are complicated taxes due
- If there is no will, or doubts about the validity of the will
- If the estate is bankrupt, known as insolvent, or if there are doubts that it is bankrupt
- If the estate includes foreign property or foreign assets
- If there is more than one property involved in the estate, multiple bank accounts, or multiple shareholdings
- If there are more than two beneficiaries
- If there are disputes or claims made against the estate
As soon as we are aware of any factors including or outside of this list, we will discuss these with you to keep you informed throughout the process. During our initial discussions and initial meeting, we’ll be able to advise on estimated costs related to your circumstances.
What does the hourly rate include?
Our hourly rate encompasses the time spent on your behalf, excluding additional expenses which are detailed below. Prices are excluding VAT. Legal fees attract a VAT rate of 20%. This hourly rate includes meetings with you and perhaps other authorised persons on your behalf; reading, preparing and working on papers; making and receiving telephone calls, emails, faxes and text messages; preparation of any detailed costs estimates, schedules and bills; and time necessarily spent travelling away from the office on your behalf.
Expenses on top of our hourly rate can include, but are not limited to:
- rail and air travel charged out at cost and travel by car is charged at a flat rate of 45p per mile;
- car parking; and
- the full cost of overnight accommodation if required.
Any applicable expenses would be discussed with you before they are incurred.
What are the possible third party costs involved?
During estate administration, third party costs can include a probate application fee, the cost of getting certified copies of relevant documents, valuation or conveyancing fees if parts of the estate needs to be sold, and other costs such as a bankruptcy check.
The amount and complexity of third-party costs will depend on factors such as whether your estate is subject to inheritance tax. Typical fees include:
- Probate application fee – £155 (no VAT)
- Additional certified probate copies – £1.50 (no VAT)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges searches – £2 per beneficiary (no VAT)
- Statutory advertisements – £100-200 (VAT dependant on the VAT status of the newspapers)
- Landmark Search: £155 (plus VAT at 20%)
- Estate agents valuation of property: £60 – £100 each (plus VAT at 20%)
- RICS Property valuation: (each property) £300-£500 (plus VAT at 20%)
- Asset holders, such as shareholders, may charge a fee for a probate valuation.
- Accountants fees if there is an income tax/capital gains tax issue: TBC depending on complexity of estate (plus VAT currently at 20%)
Please note that payments due to other third parties, known as disbursements, are not included in our fees. These disbursements include, but are not limited to: Barristers, Experts, Oath Fees, and Court Fees. If an Expert or Barrister needs to be instructed you will be provided with a list of quotes for your approval prior to engaging their services. We will request monies on account to pay for their services if required. You will be notified of any other disbursements before they are incurred and asked to make payment on account.
We would advise you fully of these costs throughout the process and help provide you with rates where applicable.