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Costs and key stages for Probate

You could consider obtaining a Grant of Probate yourself, although that task is often complicated by the emotions of having just lost a loved one. Often our clients express how they feel overwhelmed with dealing with Probate matters without some form of professional help.

A Grant of Probate is a Court issued document that evidences that the person applying for Probate has the legal right to transfer or sell the deceased's assets in accordance with the deceased's Will.

In some cases when an estate is very small and or assets are held in joint names a Grant of Probate may not even be needed. However, in most cases a Grant of Probate will be needed.

We are always happy to meet with family members for an initial free of charge & no obligation discussion to help you get to know us and to assess what may be involved in the administration of the deceased's estate and the likely costs involved. During this initial meeting we can also help you ascertain the level of service that you need, establish who the executor of the estate is (the person in charge of dealing with the deceased's estate) and whether they need to obtain a Grant of Probate (when the deceased had a Will) or Letters of Administration (when the deceased either had no Will or an invalid Will).

We can help you through this difficult time by obtaining just the Grant of Probate on your behalf (or if relevant Letters of Administration). Alternatively, we can also deal with the entire process of obtaining Probate, paying any inheritance tax and distributing the estate in accordance with the terms of the deceased's Will (or in accordance with the rules of intestacy if the deceased had no Will), which most clients prefer.

Our legal fees do not cover the payment of Inheritance Tax (or any interest thereon) that may be payable upon the deceased's sad passing or any that may otherwise arise during the administration of the deceased's estate. Inheritance Tax is an additional amount payable by the estate in addition to our legal fees. If you would like to roughly calculate the Inheritance Tax liability you can visit HMRC's website and use their online Inheritance Tax calculator, although when we know the estate value we will also calculate if any Inheritance Tax is due as part of the relevant legal fees noted below.

If Inheritance Tax is calculated as owing on the estate it is usually paid prior to the Grant of Probate being issued, via any available funds held in the deceased's bank accounts. If there are insufficient funds in the bank accounts to cover the Inheritance Tax liability the Tax can be paid in instalments over a 10-year period or out of the sale proceeds of any properties the deceased had once sold. This enables the Grant of Probate to be issued before the Inheritance Tax is paid.

The deceased may also require self-assessment returns to be completed with the HMRC if they received any other form of income other than from employment, pensions or savings. If these returns are needed, we would arrange for an accountant to complete the same, which would be an additional cost to you in addition to our legal fees quoted below.

If the estate consists of shareholdings there would be additional costs to the estate for a third party to deal with any lost shares, the sale or transfer of those shares, in addition to our legal fees quoted below.

If the estate comprises items such as antiques, coin collections, jewellery or properties etc we will need to obtain independent valuations as to the value of the items, which would be an additional cost to the estate in addition to our legal fees quoted below.

NB – none of our estimated legal fees cover any contested probate issues (or challenging the validity of the deceased's Will) from family members or friends, that may otherwise apply to the estate, which would be charged for separately.

How long will my probate case take?

On average, full administration of an estate is dealt within 3-9 months, which is the basis upon which we agree to take on your matter and the fees quoted below. Typically, completing the Inheritance Tax forms, completing the Oath for executors and obtaining the Grant of Probate (& paying any Inheritance Tax due if funds are not solely locked into a house) takes around 12 weeks from initial instructions. Collecting in the assets of the estate then follows, which can take around 8 weeks thereafter but longer if there is a house to sell. Once this has been done, we can then pay any unpaid Inheritance Tax (if funds were locked into a house), distribute the assets, which normally takes another 8-12 weeks to conclude; this is subject to the distribution rules being waived by the executors which states that distribution of the estate cannot take place before the expiry of 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate. NB - Times in obtaining the Grant of Probate and the full estate administration can be longer than anticipated due to third parties and the types of assets involved in the estate.

Our minimum legal fee estimates for the extraction of the Grant of Probate only (or Letters of Administration if relevant) and full administration of the estate are as follows-

In most standard Grant of Probate only cases, we will charge you the relevant estimated minimum legal fee quoted below for the specific listed matters. However, this may need to be revised if your matter is overly protracted or complicated.

In most standard full administration cases the exact cost will be between the estimated legal fees quoted below and will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is only one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If say there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

Please be assured that as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, they require all of our legal fees to be fair and reasonable having regard to the circumstances of the case.

After our initial free consultation with you we would then be able to grasp the exact details of the estate. Thereafter, we would confirm in writing the accurate minimum legal fee for our services and provide you with an agreed upper limit on our fees if the circumstances dictated, giving you peace of mind that our legal fees, in the worst case, were capped.

Our hourly rate for all of our probate fee earners is £250.00 per hour plus 20% VAT, which we have used to calculated our minimum fee estimates noted below. We have based these estimates on the time we anticipate spending on your matter and the likely generic issues involved.

In addition to our legal fees noted below, you will also be required to pay disbursements which are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as the fee payable to the Probate Registry for them to produce the Grant of Probate. We handle the payment of these disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process for you (our disbursement list noted below is not an exhaustive list of disbursements as others could be unique to your matter and will be charged if relevant).

NB - A separate charge would be made for the conveyancing costs of a sale or transfer of any property within the deceased's estate, which would be charged as per our conveyancing fees shown on this website under the conveyancing fees tab

Obtaining Grant of Probate ONLY minimum legal fee scenarios (where there are no complicating factors such as business or foreign asset interests):

Please see the information above and the key stage section below for further details of what legal work is included (and not included) in our Grant of Probate only service.

  • Assuming there is a valid Will (or no Will) and that the executor/administrator (administrator is a term used in place of an executor in the case of no Will) only needs to complete a simple Oath for executors/administrators and an IHT 205 (small estate) form - estimated minimum legal fee £825.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • Assuming there is a valid Will (or no Will) and that the executor/administrator only needs to complete a simple Oath for executors/administrators, an IHT 205 and IHT 217 (transferable NIL rate band) or IHT 435 (transferable residence NIL rate band) forms - estimated minimum legal fee £950.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • Assuming there is a valid Will (or no Will) and that the executor/administrator only needs to complete a simple Oath for executors/administrators, an IHT 205, IHT 217 and IHT 435 forms - estimated minimum legal fee £1,100.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • Assuming there is a valid Will (or no Will) and that the executor/administrator only needs to complete a simple Oath for executors/administrators, an IHT 400 (full estate account), IHT 217 or IHT 435 forms (and no Inheritance Tax is payable) - estimated minimum legal fee £1,350.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • Assuming there is a valid Will (or no Will) and that the executor/administrator only needs to complete a simple Oath for executors/administrators, an IHT 400, IHT 217 and IHT 435 forms (and no Inheritance Tax is payable) - estimated minimum legal fee £1,500.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • Assuming there is a valid Will (or no Will) and that the executor/administrator only needs to complete a simple Oath for executors/administrators, an IHT 400, IHT 217 or IHT 435 forms (and there is Inheritance Tax payable) - estimated minimum legal fee £1,750.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • Assuming there is a valid Will (or no Will) and that the executor/administrator only needs to complete a simple Oath for executors/administrators, an IHT 400, IHT 217 and IHT 435 forms (and there is Inheritance Tax payable) - estimated minimum legal fee £2,000.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.

Obtaining Grant Of Probate & Full estate administration minimum legal fee scenarios (where there are no complicating factors such as business or foreign asset interests):

Please see the general information above and the key stage section below for further details of what legal work is included (and not included) in our Grant of Probate and full administration service.

  • If there is a valid Will (or no Will), the estate has no Inheritance Tax to pay, is under £350,000.00, includes say, 1 National Savings & Investment account, no more than 2 bank accounts, no more than 4 share holdings, no more than 5 premium bonds, no more than one Property and under 4 beneficiaries - our minimum estimated legal fee would range between £2,300.00 - £4,000.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • If there is a valid Will (or no Will), the estate has no Inheritance Tax to pay, is between £350,000.00 & £650,000.00, includes say, 1 National Savings & Investment account, no more than 3 bank accounts, no more than 5 share holdings, no more than 7 premium bonds, no more than one Property and under 5 beneficiaries - our minimum estimated legal fee would range between £3,200.00 - £5,000.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • If there is a valid Will (or no Will), the estate has no Inheritance Tax to pay, is between £650,000.00 & £1,000,000.00, includes say, 1 National Savings & Investment account, no more than 4 bank accounts, no more than 6 share holdings, no more than 10 premium bonds, no more than two Properties and under 6 beneficiaries - our minimum estimated legal fee would range between £4,500.00 - £7,500.00 plus 20% VAT plus the relevant disbursements that are listed below.
  • If there is a valid Will (or no Will), the estate has Inheritance Tax to pay, is between £325,000.00 & £650,000.00, includes say, 1 National Savings & Investment account, no more than 3 bank accounts, no more than 5 share holdings, no more than 7 premium bonds, no more than one Property and under 5 beneficiaries - our minimum estimated legal fee would range between £4,500.00 - £6,500.00 plus 20% VAT.
  • If there is a valid Will (or no Will), the estate has Inheritance Tax to pay, is between £650,000.00 & £1,000,000.00, includes say, 1 National Savings & Investment account, no more than 4 bank accounts, no more than 6 share holdings, no more than 10 premium bonds, no more than two Properties and under 6 beneficiaries - our minimum estimated legal fee would range between £5,500.00 - £7,500.00 plus 20% VAT.
  • For any estate over £1,000,000.00 please call for a bespoke quote as it is to difficult to provide a generic minimum fee estimate on the website.

Whether you opt for a Grant of Probate only service or the full administration service you must then Add to the relevant legal fee the following disbursements, which are only payable in addition to our legal fee dependent on whether your matter requires it;

  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration) Probate application fee of £155.00 no VAT
  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration) £7.50 Swearing of the oath (per executor) no VAT
  • (Grant of Probate and Grant of Probate & full administration) Bankruptcy Land Charges Department searches (£3.00 per beneficiary) no VAT
  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration*) Estimated £70.00 plus 20% VAT to place advert in The London Gazette - Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration*) Estimated £215.00 plus 20% VAT to place advert in the deceased's Local Newspaper - This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.
  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration) If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50 no VAT (1 per asset usually).

*these disbursements are advised as being needed but if the executor feels they do not need this protection as the deceased's estate did not owe any money to third parties then these disbursements do not need to be incurred, although that would be without recourse to us.

Key stages of Grant of Probate only and for Grant of Probate & full administration:

The list below details the key stages of any Probate matter in the UK. In addition to the general information we have noted above, this list also identifies the legal work that we either include or exclude in the Grant of Probate only service and Grant of Probate & full administration service, which we have indicated in bold in between the brackets with the relevant headings.

  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration) Preliminary meeting to ascertain if there is a valid Will and extract information about the assets and liabilities of the deceased and details of all of the executors and other beneficiaries.
  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration) Seek valuations of any assets requiring the same. Write to all third parties about the relevant assets and liabilities to obtain up to date figures relating to the same and ask them to send all closing forms to us.
  • (Grant of Probate & full administration only) Place the statutory notices in the London Gazette and local newspaper if the executors require this protection.
  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration) Prepare relevant IHT forms and Oath for executors and arrange for the executors to sign/swear the same.
  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration) Calculate if any Inheritance Tax is due on the estate and pay the same if possible and send IHT forms to HMRC.
  • (Grant of Probate & full administration only) If the Inheritance Tax cannot be paid say until a house is sold, ensure the Tax is paid out of the sale proceeds of the property when they are available.
  • (Grant of Probate only and Grant of Probate & full administration) Send the Oath for executors to the Probate Registry so they can then issue the Grant of Probate and send the same to us which usually takes a few weeks for them to action.
  • (Grant of Probate & full administration only) Complete all of the forms to close accounts and sell or transfer the other assets comprised within the estate and arrange for the executor to sign the same. Then send those duly signed forms (with the Grant of Probate) to the relevant third parties to close the relevant accounts or have the assets otherwise transferred in accordance with the terms of the Will.
  • (Grant of Probate & full administration only) Pay the liabilities of the estate to any relevant third parties who are owed money, i.e. the gas company, funeral costs etc.
  • (Grant of Probate & full administration only) Prepare estate accounts that details all the assets and liabilities of the estate and send the same to the executor for approval.
  • (Grant of Probate & full administration only) Once the estate accounts have been approved distribute or transfer any specific gifts mentioned within the Will to the relevant parties and then arrange for the residuary estate to be given to the relevant beneficiaries of the same.
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For additional information on all of the services Robinson Allfree provide please contact
our Ramsgate Office on 01843 592361 or our Broadstairs Office on 01843 865261.