Pricing: probate

In our experience, applying for a Grant of Probate and collecting and distributing the assets can take between 10 hours to 60 hours work which we charge at an hourly rate ranging from £174 to £510 (including VAT). Work will be carried out by a fee earner at the appropriate level as outlined below:

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)

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. We would anticipate the following disbursements to be required:

Probate application fee£155 plus 50p per sealed copy
Swearing of the oath fee (on the basis of there being just a Will)£7 per executor
Post in The London Gazette and in a local Newspaper
(protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors)
Approximately £300
Land searchesApproximately £50
Valuation of land and buildings£420 - £6,000 (including VAT)
Bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries prior to each distribution£2 per beneficiary per distribution for UK residents
£50-100 per beneficiary per distribution for non-resident beneficiaries.

Total costs can range from £3,000 to £24,000 (including VAT). If there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

The above fee range is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are between 1 and 5 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets or in respect of assets within the estate. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
  • There are no claims made against the estate
  • All beneficiaries are easily traceable
  • All assets are within the UK jurisdiction
  • The deceased and spouse are UK domicile

The fee does not include:

  • Advice on trusts established
  • Complex negotiations with HMRC in respect of inheritance tax
  • Valuation of business interest such as shareholdings, partnership interests, options
  • Estates including business assets (shareholdings/sole trader, partnerships)
  • Estates including agricultural land or heritage properties
  • Estates with significant gifts within the 7 years prior to death

We can assist with any of the above if required, and we will provide a fee quote before we proceed. If there are any unexpected complications during the administration of the estate, we will always inform you and discuss any potential consequences and impact on price before additional fees are incurred.

Potential additional costs:

  • If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
  • Dealing with the sale of any property in the estate is not included.
  • Advice on trusts established
  • Complex negotiations with HMRC in respect of IHT
  • Submitting a full IHT return
  • Deeds of variation
  • Income tax returns

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

Click here to view the profiles of our Private Wealth team