Pricing: probate

The amount of work involved in administering an estate varies depending on a number of factors, including types of assets, nature of inheritance tax reliefs that may be claimed, whether assets are in the UK or abroad, the number of different assets, the number of beneficiaries and whether there are any disputes relating to assets, liabilities, terms of the Will or identity of beneficiaries.

For that reason, we charge for our work on a time spent basis, and the hourly rates for our fee earners are detailed below. The work will be carried out by a fee earner at the appropriate level for the complexity of the matter.

Partner/Consultant – £400 to £425 (£480 – £510 including VAT)
Senior Associate – £335 to £345 (£402 – £414 including VAT)
Associate/Trusts Manager – £235 to £290 (£282 – £348 including VAT)
Trainee/Paralegal – £145 to £180 (£174 – £216 including VAT)

A straightforward estate would be one where:

  • There is a valid Will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than five bank or building society accounts
  • There are no shareholdings
  • There are no intangible rights (digital assets, intellectual property etc)
  • The deceased and any spouse are UK domiciled
  • All the beneficiaries are easily traceable
  • All assets are in the UK
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC

In these circumstances the total costs can range from £3,000 to £36,000 (including VAT).

In an estate where inheritance tax is payable, but all assets are within the UK jurisdiction and all beneficiaries are easily traceable, and there are no claims against the estate, the total costs can range from:

  • £3000 to £18,000 for an estate under £500,000
  • £9,000 to £25,000 for an estate of £5000,000 to £1 million
  • £15,000 to £30,000 for an estate £1 – 2 million
  • £20,000 to £36,000 for an estate of more than £2 million

In cases where there are assets outside the UK, there is dispute on the validity of the Will, on the terms of the Will, or the enforceability of any other claims against the estate, we can provide a fee estimate on request.

The work in connection with the administration of the estate, covered by the fee estimates given, provides you with an experienced probate solicitor to undertake enquiries to identify the type of probate application required, and preparation of the appropriate documentation. It includes collecting in assets following issue of the Grant of Representation, discharge of liabilities and distribution to the beneficiaries entitled.

The work not included within the above quote is:

  • Advice on trusts established
  • Preparation of income tax returns to the date of death
  • Valuation of business interests such as shareholdings, partnership interests, options
  • Estates including business assets
  • Estates including agricultural land
  • Estates including heritage properties
  • Complex negotiations with HMRC in respect of inheritance tax
  • Estates with significant gifts within the seven years prior to death, or gifts involving “reservation of benefit” under the inheritance tax legislation

The following charges, payable to third parties, may arise in relation to the administration of the estate.

Probate application fee£155 (plus £0.50 per sealed copy). Please note: significant increase in probate fees is expected.
Fee for administration of the oath, where a statement of truth is not appropriate£5 per executor, plus appropriate charge for exhibits
Creditors' notices in the London Gazette and local newspaper to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditedEstimated at £300
Land searches for land and propertiesApproximately £50
Value of land and buildings£420 to £6,000 (including VAT)
Bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries prior to each distribution£2 per beneficiary per distribution for UK residents
£50 to £100 per beneficiary per distribution for non-resident beneficiaries

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 4 to 12 months. Typically, valuing the estate and pre grant administration usually takes between two and six months (depending on complexity and composition of estate), obtaining the grant of probate takes 12 to 24 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 12 to 24 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which will normally take around 4 weeks.

The whole administration of the estate is usually between six months and a couple of years depending on complexity but it can take many years if we cannot trace beneficiaries or it takes a long time to sell the assets for example.

The precise stages involved in the administration of an estate vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have listed the key stages that we would typically expect in a standard matter.

  • Notifying insurers
  • Liaising with executors and beneficiaries
  • Notifying organisations (5-10)  of death e.g. bank, building society, NS&I, utility providers, DWP
  • Arranging for the estate to be valued (for inheritance tax purposes)
  • Advising on the disposition of the estate, whether by Will, under the intestacy rules or by right of survivorship
  • Advising on the taxation of the estate (inheritance tax, capital gains tax and income tax)
  • Preparing statutory notice to creditors
  • Preparing oath and obtain grant of representation
  • Preparing HMRC forms
  • Cashing in / transferring assets of the estate
  • Arranging for liabilities to be repaid
  • Distributing the estate in accordance with the Will or intestacy rules
  • Liaising with utility providers and close accounts
  • Preparing and file income tax returns for the period to the date of death and the administration period
  • Preparing estate accounts

Our team has experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to Probate with particular expertise in complex estates for busy professionals, entrepreneurs and farming families.

We have 9 members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Jocelyn Fox or James Packer.

Click here to view the profiles of our Private Wealth team