Our fees

Probate is a sensitive  area of service  – whether it’s a loved relative who has died or perhaps someone not so close – whatever the status of the executor or potential administrator, one is dealing with the finances and personal possessions of the deceased. 

We aim to act as sympathetically and empathically as we can, whilst trying to ensure that all work needed is  dealt with in as timely and cost-efficient a manner possible.

As for the costs of obtaining a Grant and distributing an estate, well these tend to be grouped into two : 

  • our charges; and
  • expenses we must pay out of your behalf.

Although we have an hourly charging rate we try to give as good an indication of the possible overall costs as we can. Often until the actual administration is well under way, we don’t know if there will be specific problems to be met. It could be an asset that’s in another country or even an asset that can’t be found. It could be that there are problems with the Will or its structure, or it might be that beneficiaries can’t be located or feel that they have been overlooked. We do whatever is possible to sort any such problems out with the minimum of fuss. 

The hourly rates for probate administration depend on the seniority of the lawyer or manager carrying out the work and range from £250 per hour to £450 per hour for a partner. Typically, the administration of an estate would be carried out by one of the consultants or lawyers in the department, under the supervision of a partner, to try to make sure the maximum amount of work is done at the lowest cost.

Allowing for all the uncertainties, the best guidance we can give is that our costs typically tend to fall in the range of 1-3% of the gross value of the estate.  This is not to say that we charge on the basis of the value of the estate, but is simply an indication that the larger and more complex an estate is, the higher our fees are likely to be.  We always inform clients of an impending bill and what it will be – so that there are never any surprises about costs and clients can discuss potential invoices before they are issued.

What takes all the time and effort?

This estimate for fees includes the key stages of the administration of an estate:

  • identifying the legally appointed executors (if there is a Will) or administrators (if there isn’t a Will or the appointed executors cannot act) and the beneficiaries;
  • obtaining the relevant documents required to make a probate application;
  • completing the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms – and where the estate is liable to Inheritance Tax, these forms can be very complicated;
  • drafting the statement of truth for the executor (this was, until recent times, called the Executor’s Oath);
  • making the probate application the executor’s behalf and sending him/her/them copies if requested;
  • arranging payment of any inheritance tax due;
  • settling liabilities;
  • paying legacies;
  • tax compliance for the estate administration period;
  • preparing estate accounts if required;
  • obtaining all necessary tax clearances;
  • collecting and distributing all assets in the estate.

The cost and number of hours needed depends on the circumstances of each estate. The above range of costs is based on the following factors:

  • whether there is a valid will
  • the estate does or does not include any overseas assets
  • there is no more than one property and its ownership and location
  • large numbers of bank/building society accounts or investment products
  • the number of potential beneficiaries
  • no disputes between the beneficiaries on the division of assets
  • the  inheritance tax (IHT) payable ; and
  • no claims made against the estate.

If there is a valid will, no inheritance tax to pay and the estate does not include any shareholdings, our charges are likely to be at the lower end of the range given above.

We’re  not  new  to probate  administration and some of our team have decades of experience in this area of law. We use the right people in the best manner at all times. Our contacts in this field are many, various and of the highest calibre – so valuers, brokers, agents and experts that we use have been partners of ours and are well trusted and tried. 

Costs we cannot avoid relate to fees and disbursements that are always part and parcel of probate work. These are the expenses that we must pay out on your behalf. Examples of these are:

  • The Probate application fee to the Court: £155;
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department Searches: £2/3 per beneficiary;
  • Post in The London Gazette: £70-100, which protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors;
  • Posts in a Local Newspapers: £150-350, which also helps to protect against unexpected claims.
  • Possible brokerage fees to sell/transfer shares, bonds and investment products
  • The costs of sale/transfer of land/buildings – and these are always charged for separately outside the estate administration and they tend to be  follow-on costs  at the end of the probate process

Probate administration requires something of a team effort between you and us – we need to work together to make sure everything is dealt with accurately, efficiently and clearly with the aim being that  at the end of the matter you feel you have received a fair and professional  service  of the highest calibre. 

Key Contact

Our main contact  for  the  Probate team  is David Archer and please feel free to contact them with any  questions you might have. 

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