The work we will undertake
- provide you with a dedicated and experienced solicitor to work on your matter
- identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and the beneficiaries
- accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
- obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
- complete the relevant HMRC forms and the Probate Application
- draft a statement of truth for you to sign
- make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- obtain the Probate and embossed copies for the entities holding assets in the estate
- collect in and distribute all assets in the estate
Please note that the sale or transfer of any property in the estate will be dealt with by personnel in our Property Department and they will send you an estimate for their work separately.
We do not deal with Tax Returns for the Estate or the final Tax Return for the deceased.
Our fees and disbursements
We generally charge on an hourly basis for the time spent by our personnel working on the matter. Our standard hourly rates for work of this kind are:
- Partners/consultants: £400-£450
- Associate solicitors: £275-£325
- Trainees/paralegals: £200
These hourly rates may be reduced in the case of a small Estate which is not subject to the payment of Inheritance Tax and dependent on the number of assets that have to be dealt with.
The exact cost will depend on the position in relation to each individual estate. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, the amount of time we have to spend will be much lower than if there are multiple beneficiaries, a property, insurance or life policies and multiple bank accounts.
We can only give you an estimate of our fees once we know the details of the assets within the Estate but we will give you an indication of these when we meet you at an initial meeting (free of charge) and a more detailed estimate as soon as we can thereafter.
Where there is no valid will or there are assets outside the UK, or where there are disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets, or claims are made against the estate we will have to carefully consider the position with you before giving you any estimation of our fees in relation to that work.
Disbursements for which you are liable will be:
- probate application fee which is currently £155 (but where the government has proposed very large increases)
- other payments such as Bankruptcy and Land Charge searches and newspaper advertising if we deem that necessary, and of which we will advise you in advance
- additional official copies of the grant are usually required which will cost £1.50 each and usually each entity holding an asset of the estate will require such a copy
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.
How long will this take?
On average, we are in a position to apply for Probate within 3 months where there is no Inheritance tax to pay and where there is we are generally in a position to complete the HMRC Forms within 6 months and we apply for Probate immediately after we receive the HMRC stamp. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate currently takes about 7 to 10 weeks. Collecting in the assets then follows, and this can take between 4 to 8 weeks and once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2 to 3 weeks.
Alternative method of charging: percentage fees based on the value of the estate
We can usually also undertake this Probate work for you on a percentage fee basis if you prefer and we can advise you of that percentage once we know what are the assets of the Estate.
Brian Eagles is a consultant with the firm who has dealt with Estates and Probate, and also Wills and Private Client matters generally, over many years.
Lydia Mills is an associate solicitor. Lydia assists Brian Eagles on probate matters and continues to gain experience in this area.