The costs detailed below apply to estates where there is:
- A Will and a Grant of Probate is required; and
- No Will and a Grant of Letters of Administration is required.
We have divided our charges for the administration process into two stages:
Stage 1: The work needed to obtain Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration;
Stage 2: The work required to administer the estate after a grant is obtained.
The amount and complexity of work required also depends on the nature of the estate and which HMRC tax form is required. A summary is as follows:
- The simpler IHT205 form is used for smaller estates and estates not liable to inheritance tax;
- The more detailed and complicated IHT400 form and appropriate accompanying schedules is used for larger estates and those liable to inheritance tax.
The work that is involved in obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration includes the following:
- Our initial meeting to obtain details of the deceased and the assets and liabilities of the estate;
- Advising you on the process and what specifically will be required in your particular case. If there is no Will at this stage we will advise you on who is entitled to apply for the grant and how the estate will be divided under the Intestacy Rules;
- Drawing up a schedule of assets;
- Drawing up a schedule of liabilities;
- Writing to the various banks where the deceased had accounts;
- Writing to other financial institutions where the deceased had investments;
- Where appropriate contacting creditors of the estate such as credit card providers, care home, DWP and utility companies to ascertain any sums due from or to the deceased’s estate;
- Arranging for any valuation of assets, e.g. home, other property, vehicles, shares etc.
- Preparation of HMRC inheritance tax return forms;
- Preparing a witness statement in support of the application including the statement of truth;
- Where appropriate arranging to pay any Inheritance Tax due;
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
IHT205 where you provide all information required to value the estate and complete the forms:
Likely fees – £735 to £1,715 plus VAT and disbursements
Timescale – we would aim to be in a position to apply for probate approximately 4 weeks after you have provided all the required information.
The Probate Registry ordinarily issues the grant within 4 weeks of the probate application.
IHT205 – where we obtain the asset and liability information and correspond with any third parties:
Likely fees: £1,715 to £3,430 plus VAT and disbursements
Timescale – we would aim to be in a position to apply for probate about 8 weeks after you have provided the information about the deceased’s estate to enable us to make enquiries. This is of course also dependant on the response time of third parties. The Probate Registry ordinarily issue the grant within 4 weeks.
IHT400 required but no inheritance tax payable and you are providing all information:
Likely fees: £2,205 to £3,675 plus VAT and disbursements
Timescale – We aim to submit the IHT400 form and accompanying schedules within 6 – 8 weeks. This may vary depending upon third party response times. HMRC usually process the application within 4 weeks to enable us to submit your application to the Probate Registry. The Probate Registry ordinarily issue the grant within 4 weeks.
IHT400 required, no inheritance tax payable but we are required to obtain estate information:
Likely fees: £3,675 to £5,390 plus VAT and disbursements
Timescales – we aim to submit the IHT400 form and accompanying schedules within 8-12 weeks. This may vary depending upon third party response times. HMRC usually process the application within 4 weeks to enable us to submit your application to the Probate Registry. The Probate Registry ordinarily issue the grant within 4 weeks.
IHT400 required, inheritance tax payable and you are providing all information:
Likely fees: £3,675 to £5,880.00 plus VAT and disbursements
Timescale – we aim to submit the IHT400 form and accompanying schedules within 8-12 weeks. This may vary depending upon third party response times. HMRC usually process the application within 4 weeks to enable us to submit your application to the Probate Registry. The Probate Registry ordinarily issue the grant within 4 weeks.
IHT400 required, inheritance tax payable but we are required to obtain estate information:
Likely fees: £4,750 to £6,860 plus VAT and disbursements
Likely timescales – We aim to submit the IHT400 form and accompanying schedules within 10-14 weeks. This may vary depending upon third party response times. HMRC usually process the application within 4 weeks to enable us to submit your application to the Probate Registry. The Probate Registry ordinarily issue the grant within 4 weeks.
Inheritance Tax / Other Tax
Please be advised that any inheritance tax (IHT) that may be payable on the estate or indeed any other tax such as capital gain tax (CGT) is not included in our estimate of fees and disbursements.
Inheritance tax can be complicated and there are many liabilities, exemptions and reliefs that can apply. We will assess any liability to inheritance tax liability once we have obtained all relevant information. You can find out more about inheritance tax here https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax
Please also be aware that inheritance tax is payable before probate is granted. If however the estate also includes a property then only one-tenth of the tax attributable to the property is payable prior to probate with the balance payable over the next 10 years with interest currently being charged at 3.25% per annum or on the sale of the property.
After a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration has been obtained, the executors then have a duty to gather in all assets of the deceased, discharge/pay any liabilities and then distribute the estate in accordance with the Will or the intestacy rules.
The work for Stage 2 usually involves the following:
- Collecting in funds including completion and submission of bank and other financial institutions closure/transfer forms;
- Advising in relation to timescales before distribution including in relation to any potential claims against the estate;
- Corresponding with banks and other organisations to release funds or in relation to final balances;
- The sale of property, shares and investments;
- Pay any debts and testamentary expenses;
- Dealing with any income received and preparing R185 forms;
- Drawing up estate and distribution accounts;
- Dealing with distribution to the beneficiaries – including verifying beneficiary ID and information, carrying out bankruptcy searches before distribution and obtaining receipts.
Simple, non-taxable estate with up to 3 beneficiaries:
Likely fees: £1,225 to £2,450 plus VAT and disbursements
Timescale – 4 to 6 weeks from Grant of Probate or Letters or Administration (excluding sale of property).
Larger, non-taxable estate with up to 3 beneficiaries:
Likely fees: £2,940 to £3,675 plus VAT and disbursements
Timescale – 6 to 8 weeks from Grant of Probate or Letters or Administration (excluding sale of property)
The following disbursements are likely to be incurred in most case:
Probate registry fees: £273
Additional copies of the grant (per copy): £1.50
HM Land Registry Office Copies £3 plus VAT per copy
Identification checks: £6.75 plus VAT per person
Bankruptcy searches cost per beneficiary: £2.00
Bank transfer fees per UK transfer: £25.00
Statutory advertisements for creditors (not compulsory but advisable): £150 – £300
The following additional disbursements may be incurred, depending on the estate, but these are estimates:
Land registry fees: £40
Registration of complex estate with HMRC: £250
Any other third party costs will be notified as required. These could include costs such as accountant’s fees or asset tracing fees.
There may also be additional third party costs for any lost share certificates and share registrar and/or sale agent fees on transfer or sale of the shares.
The following is a list of general complicating factors which will increase our fees and the time involved in dealing with the estate:
- Where you ask us carry out work that can be carried out by family members. An example would be organising valuation of property, jewellery or clearing the property;
- Defending any claims brought against the estate either under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 or due to capacity reasons or undue influence arguments;
- Where a dispute arises between executors or beneficiaries;
- Where we are appointed executors in our professional capacity;
- Where there is a substantial collection of paperwork, extensive investigations of the deceased persons property or a significant volume of documents;
- Business property relief or agricultural property relief applies;
- Additional properties (other than main home) or assets;
- Any foreign property or overseas assets;
- Where there are a greater number of beneficiaries (over 3) and the increased compliance necessary to identify and settle payment for them;
- Charity beneficiaries;
- Dealing with lifetime gifts;
- Dealing with assets with a value over £500,000 (whether or not Capital Gains Tax is chargeable);
- Assets increasing in value significantly between date of death and date of sale;
- Missing or damaged Wills;
- Tracing the whereabouts of individuals;
- Missing beneficiaries or non-responsive and uncooperative beneficiaries;
- Missing share certificates or other financial documentation;
- Specialist types of grants needed to deal with an earlier death or specific assets;
- Applications to transfer the nil rate band;
- Where there are a lot of income producing assets;
- Where there are a large amount of creditors;
- Dealing with insolvent estate;
- Where the estate cannot afford all of the legacies under the Will;
- If a legal claim is outstanding against the deceased’s estate;
- Where there are a large amount of lifetime gifts to deal with;
- If assets increase or reduce in value significantly between the date of death and sale;
- If HMRC investigate any part of the IHT 400 form;
- Missing or incomplete information;
- Where business accounts need to be brought up to date;
- The application of 36% IHT rate for charity beneficiaries;
- If quick succession relief applies;
- If a loan is required to fund the inheritance tax.
Hourly rates of our fee earners
If complicating factors arise then we will charge for any extra time involved in dealing with those factor based on our standard hourly rates plus VAT at the prevailing rate (currently 20%) as detailed below.
Where additional charges apply, we will try and provide you with an estimate of our charges for the additional work before undertaking that work for you.
|Fee Earner Grade||Description of fee-earner||Hourly Rate excl. VAT (at 20%)|
|A||Solicitors with more than 8 years’ post qualification experience including at least 8 years’ experience.||£255.00|
|B||Solicitors and legal executives with more than 4 years’ post qualification experience including at least 4 years’ experience.||£218.00|
|C||Other solicitors and legal executives and fee earners of equivalent experience.||£190.00|
|D||Trainee solicitors, paralegals and other fee earners with over 2 years experience.||£177.00|
|E||Trainee solicitors, paralegals and other fee earners of equivalent experience.||£135.00|
All work in the probate department is either undertaken or supervised by our Colin Freeman Managing Director of the company and who has been a solicitor since 1998.
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