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Probate Pricing

Thank you for looking at our probate services. Coping with the death of a person can bring a mixture of emotions and the legal side of dealing with a person’s death can often be overwhelming and confusing. Having compassionate, experienced legal advice can make this difficult situation much easier on you and your loved ones.

Where a Will is in existence the Executors will need to apply for the grant of probate which will give them the legal right to administer the estate. Where there is no Will in existence, the Will is invalid, or it does not specify Executor, an Administrator will need to be appointed.

Why Us

Our Probate Manager, Lisa Simpson, can assist you with every aspect of the probate process, reducing the administrative burden and advising sensitively on key decisions which need to be made when managing an estate. We are aware that administering an estate comes at a time of grief and high emotion, and that most people do not know the processes and legal requirements involved.

We will give you a clear time frame of how long probate should take and will keep you and any beneficiaries advised throughout. Lisa provides a bespoke personal service so you will have the confidence that you are our priority, knowing that you can speak to her direct   when you need some clarity and certainty at any stage in the process. This provides reassurance for you and gives you an outlet for any concerns or worries that you may have. Fees are generally paid out of the estate, so there is no need for you to fund the administration.

Pricing

The fees involved in a probate matter can vary and this will depend upon the extent and complexity of the estate and assets/liabilities involved, and the requirements of the executors or administrators. The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. Probate costs will increase if there are multiple beneficiaries, a property or number of properties, and multiple bank accounts or shares.

Some Executors or Administrators will simply wish us to obtain the Grant of Representation on their behalf and will then deal with the rest of the Administration themselves.

In these cases, where all of the information required to lead to the grant is supplied to us and no Inheritance Tax is payable our fees are generally in the region of £800 to £1,000 plus VAT at 20%  ( £960 - £1200 in total) plus disbursements ( payments to third parties- see below)  

Of course if further assistance is required during the administration, you are always welcome to return for additional assistance at a fee to be agreed on a “pay as you go” basis depending upon what you want us to do.

The Bottom Line

We offer a free initial discussion ( on the telephone if you prefer) for you to show us the Will ( if there is one) or explain the family situation if there is no Will and give us an indication of the size of the estate, the assets and liabilities- or as much as you know at that time.  Lisa charges according to time spent at an hourly rate of £220 plus VAT = £264 .   Once she has understood your situation she will be able to gauge the work involved and then discuss the options open to you and estimate the legal costs and disbursements depending upon the actual features of your case, what you want us to do and what you will do yourself.  During the case, should any unexpected complication arise, then Lisa will advise you immediately and discuss the potential impact on fees before any additional charges are incurred.

Some typical examples of what have charged clients

(please note in these examples we have changed names and some other details to protect confidentiality)

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. Some disbursements attract VAT, whereas others don’t so we will set this out below. 

Disbursements (also known as payments to third parties):

In most cases the following costs will arise in addition to our own fees ( these are at current rates but are subject to change) :

Probate application fee of £155 ( no VAT) 

Additional copies of the Grant of Probate - £1.50 per copy ( no VAT)

Section 27 Trustee Act Notices in the region of £250 plus VAT at 20% = £300 for a notice in The London Gazette and a Local Newspaper – to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.

Bankruptcy searches  of £2 plus VAT at 20% = £2.40 per search

So a typical “disbursements bundle ” of Probate application fee, with 3 extra copies of the Grant, Trustee Act Notices  and 4 bankruptcy searches will be approximately £469.10 in total (including VAT where applicable) – we will refer to this as the “disbursements bundle” 

 

The examples below relate to uncontested cases where all the assets are in the UK.

A SIMPLE CASE – Client A: We charged £1000 plus VAT  = £1200 for our fees and the disbursements bundle of £469.10 = £1669.10 in total. 

When client A died we were asked to sort out the probate to the estate. This was a simple matter. We were able to sort out the entire matter in just a few months from being instructed. Our bill was just £1,000 plus VAT = £1200 plus the disbursements bundle.
 
The reasons the bill was relatively small were:

Client A did not own a house, so no conveyancing was needed.

  • No inheritance tax was payable.
  • The assets we had to collect and distribute were just one savings account and one small shareholding.
  • There were only two main beneficiaries who were both adults. No trusts or other complexities were involved.
  • We had prepared client A’s will ourselves a few months before so had much of the information to hand.
  • The beneficiary was prompt and well-organised in responding to our requests for papers and information.

In addition to our bill there was the “disbursements bundle” of £469.10 made up of:

  • Probate application fee of £155.00 ( no VAT)  plus £4.50 ( no VAT) for three additional copies of the Grant
  • Approximately £250 plus VAT  at 20%  = £300 for a post in The London Gazette and a Local Newspaper – to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • 4 Bankruptcy searches at £8 plus VAT at 20% = £9.60 

TOP TIP- Help to keep fees to a minimum by responding to our requests for information quickly and providing full and clear instructions; do the “running around” your self and collate and sort the Deceased’s paperwork for us.

 
A TYPICAL CASE – Client B: We charged our fees of £1,750 plus VAT at 20%  = £2100 and disbursements.    This time there was the “disbursements bundle” of £469.10 and an additional disbursement of a Land Registry fee of £200 ( no VAT)  The grand total of our costs and disbursements including VAT was £2769.10.
 
When Client B died we were requested to assist with sorting out probate to the estate. This was a typical matter. Lisa Simpson was able to sort out the entire matter in just over nine months from being instructed. Our bill was £2769.10 in total.
 
The bill was higher than the straightforward matter because:
 

  • Client B’s house was unregistered: the Assent into the name of the beneficiary prompted first registration at Land Registry.
  • However no inheritance tax was payable.
  • The assets we had to collect and distribute were spread over 4 savings accounts
  • There was only one beneficiary who was an adult. No trusts or other complexities were involved.
  • The beneficiary was prompt and well-organised in responding to our requests for papers and information.

 In addition to our bill there were disbursements of £669.10. They were made up of:

  • Probate application fee of £155.00 ( no VAT)  plus £4.50 ( no VAT) for three additional copies of the Grant
  • Approximately £250 plus VAT  at 20%  = £300 for a post in The London Gazette and a Local Newspaper – to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • Land Registry fees of £200 ( no vat) 
  • 4 Bankruptcy searches at £8 plus VAT at 20% = £9.60 

Another TYPICAL CASE – involving a deed of variation- Client C: We charged our fees of £2,500.00 plus VAT at 20% = £3000 and the “disbursements bundle” of £469.10.  The grand total of our costs and disbursements including VAT was £3469.10.

When client C died we were asked us to sort out probate to the estate. This was another typical matter. We were able to sort out the entire matter in just over seven months from being instructed. Our bill was £2,500.00 plus VAT at 20% = £3000 and disbursements.   This time there was the “disbursements bundle” of £469.10.  The grand total of our costs and disbursements including VAT was £3469.10.
 
The reasons the bill was slightly higher were:
 

  • Although Client Cs house was in joint names with the surviving spouse, an established trust needed to be untangled.
  • No inheritance tax was payable.
  • The assets we had to collect and distribute were spread over one investment and one savings account.
  • The principal beneficiary wished to enter into a deed of variation increasing the legatees under the will.
  • There were therefore several legatees and one beneficiary who were all adults. No trusts or other complexities were involved.

In addition to our bill there was the “disbursements bundle” of £469.10 made up of:

  • Probate application fee of £155.00 ( no VAT)  plus £4.50 ( no VAT) for three additional copies of the Grant
  • Approximately £250 plus VAT  at 20%  = £300 for a post in The London Gazette and a Local Newspaper – to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • 4 Bankruptcy searches at £8 plus VAT at 20% = £9.60 

 

A VERY COMPLICATED CASE: We charged our fees of  £14,000 plus VAT at 20% = £16,800 and a “disbursements bundle” of £497.90.  The grand total of our costs and disbursements including VAT was £17297.90.
 

When Client D died we were tasked with sorting out probate to the estate. This was a very complex matter. It took nearly 16 months to sort the matter out from being instructed. Our bill was £14,000 plus VAT at 20% = £16,800 and a “disbursements bundle” of £497.90. The grand total of our costs and disbursements including VAT was £17297.90 


The reasons the bill was relatively high were:
 

  • Client D had lived alone and no-one had any knowledge about her finances. We had to obtain access to client D’s house and search for assets and liabilities (sifting through a large amount of paperwork) and to ensure that it was secure including arranging insurance of the empty property. 
  • We had to arrange for distribution and where appropriate, clearance of the remaining contents of the property.
  • We had to arrange for the marketing and sale of the property which was problematic owing to the state of the property.
  • Inheritance tax was payable, so the Inheritance Tax long forms had to be completed.
  • The assets we had to collect were varied and diverse some only came to light following searches or as a result of mail redirection.
  • The liabilities were equally diverse and again some only came to light following searches or as a result of mail redirection.
  • There were many people who were given gifts in the will, some were very difficult to locate and eight residuary beneficiaries.


In addition to our bill there was a “disbursements bundle” of £497.90 made up of:

  • Probate application fee of £155.00 ( no VAT)  plus £4.50 ( no VAT) for three additional copies
  • Approximately £250 plus VAT  at 20%  = £300 for a post in The London Gazette and a Local Newspaper – to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • 16 Bankruptcy searches at £32 plus VAT at 20% = £38.40  ( this time more searches were needed as there were more beneficiaries) 

Exclusions- Inheritance Tax, the Estate Agent’s charges and solicitor’s conveyancing charges on the sale of a property, valuations for property, savings, investments or other assets, charges for sale of any investments/shares etc  and any insurance premiums payable eg for empty property are not included in the examples above as they range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with

Inheritance Tax

There are various factors that will affect any Inheritance Tax due on an estate, including the size of the estate and any measures that were put in place by the deceased to limit the estates tax liability.

We do not believe that it would be sensible to attempt to provide at this stage an estimate of any tax that may be payable. We would advise you to look on the HMRC Website to calculate Inheritance Tax which may be due, the calculators can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hmrc-tools-and-calculators#inheritance-tax-and-bereavement

Key Milestones

With every transaction there are key milestones, which may vary according to individual circumstances. They may be as follows:

  • {Application for HMRC clearance or paying IHT if applicable}
  • Applying for Grant of Probate
  • Obtaining Grant of Probate
  • Publishing Notices for Creditors (if required)
  • Collecting funds
  • Settling Liabilities
  • Producing Estate accounts in readiness for distribution
  • {Applying for HMRC Clearance if applicable}
  • Distributing funds

Time Scales

On average, probate for the typical estate will take between 3 – 12 months. Generally, the time taken to obtain the Grant of Probate will take between 3 - 6 months, followed by the collection of assets and distribution of the assets which can take on average between 4 -12 months. The range takes into account handling everything from a straightforward estate through to more complex estates.

Can We Help You?

Please call us on 01634 811 118, complete our online enquiry form, or email Lisa Simpson ( lisa.simpson@kslaw.co.uk) for a no obligation discussion .