Wills & Probate Fees
Wills & Probate fees
We provide a service which is personal to you, and we consider each case on the basis of individual circumstances when estimating costs for this type of work. The lawyers in our Wills and Probate department are set out below along with their hourly rate:
1. Duncan Ritchie (Qualified August 1983) - £310 plus VAT per hour
2. Helen Phillips (Qualified November 1993) -£240 plus VAT per hour
3. Samantha Marsh (Qualified September 2016) - £240 plus VAT per hour
VAT will be charged at the standard rate applied by the government (20%).
Fees for Grant only application
In a straightforward estate in which we are being instructed only to obtain a grant of probate or letters or administration, the executors having already valued the assets themselves we would charge as follows:
No full inheritance tax account required £800 - £1,500 plus VAT
Full inheritance tax account required £2,000 - £3,000 plus VAT
Fees for full Administration of Estates
If you require a full service in which we assist you with all aspects of an estate administration then we charge for this work on an hourly rate of £240 per hour (dependant on the experience of the Solicitor instructed).
In administering the estate we would be routinely obtaining the value of assets in the estate, preparing the appropriate forms concerning inheritance tax, applying for the grant, collecting in assets and distributing the estate in accordance with the Will or intestacy rules.
A simple example of our charges would assume a scenario as follows:
• There is a valid Will and no Codicils
• There is no more than one property in the deceased’s name
• There are no more than 3 bank/building society accounts
• There are no other investments
• There are 1-2 beneficiaries
• There are no more than 2 UK resident executors who are able to act
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets
• There is no inheritance tax payable
• There is no other reason for the executors to submit a full inheritance tax account to HMRC
• There are no claims made against the estate
In these circumstances our fees would usually be in the region of £2,500 - £6,000 plus VAT.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter charged at our hourly rates.
In addition there may be disbursements to pay. These are costs which relate 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.
Likely disbursements in an estate administration matter are as follows:
Probate Registry fee £273.00
Copies of grant £1.50 each
Bankruptcy searches £2.00 each plus VAT (UK resident beneficiaries)
Land Registry search £3.00 plus VAT per property
Will Search £108.00 (to search for a Will or later Will)
Estatesearch assets search £185.00 (to trace unknown assets)
Statutory advertisements (for creditors) £200.00 (approx) (to advertise for creditors & protect against unexpected claims)
Potential additional costs
We will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of our costs and relevant disbursements in your case when we are aware of your own specific circumstances and wishes.
The work that we are instructed to undertake varies considerably from one estate to another and some complicating factors may be as follows:
There may be concerns about the validity of a Will
There may be no Will
The type of assets eg. shares, stocks, bonds
There may be a considerable number of assets with different financial organisations
There may be a considerable number of beneficiaries
A beneficiary may need to be traced or identified
There may be property or beneficiaries overseas
There may be areas of dispute between the executors/beneficiaries
A trust may have been created in the Will or by the intestacy rules
An estate may be insolvent
An estate may be solvent but unable to meet all the gifts left in the Will
There may be concerns about inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax issues
Beneficiaries may wish to enter into a deed of variation to change the effect of a Will or the outcome of the intestacy rules
It may be necessary to register the estate with HMRC as a Complex Estate for income tax purposes
This is not an exhaustive list but gives an idea of factors which we commonly encounter in assisting clients with administering estates that mean the work can become more complex and accordingly costs will increase. Our fees in a more complex estate administration are likely to be in the region of £6,000 - £15,000 plus VAT.
Most cases that we deal with would be covered by the price brackets indicated above. In unusual circumstances it is possible for our fees to exceed these estimates.
Please note that any conveyancing costs will be charged for separately.
The fees estimate would not include the preparation of income tax returns for tax years up to the date of death.
How long will this take?
Usually an estate administration can be completed within 4-6 months for a straightforward estate, or between 8-12 months where the estate is more complex but no matter is in dispute, there are no beneficiaries to trace and we are not being asked to deal with overseas assets or beneficiaries. The time it takes to obtain a grant of probate depends largely on how quickly we can obtain the relevant information to value assets in the estate.
Personal Representatives may also choose to wait to make final distributions of estate assets until a period of 10 months has elapsed from the date of the grant to ensure that no one has made a claim for financial provision from the estate. If the Personal Representatives have distributed prior to this date, they could become personally liable to the estate for any loss.
We do not charge an uplift on our hourly rate.
In most cases we do not charge a different rate when this firm are appointed as Executors unless (unless there are some complicating factors that make the estate administration more high risk, which we would discuss with you if relevant.
If our retainer is terminated part-way through a transaction then we will charge for work done based on our hourly rate.
If you would prefer that we charge on a fixed fee basis, taking a percentage of the estate, then we are prepared to discuss this with you. We do not offer this means of charging in every case.
Please contact us for a fees estimate tailored to your circumstances.