Probate

Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

The administration of an estate includes obtaining a Grant of Probate on your behalf and collecting and distributing assets in accordance with the provisions of the will.

Our professional fees are based on the hourly rate of the fee earner(s) involved, with our hourly rates ranging from £150 (plus VAT) for a trainee or paralegal to £450 (plus VAT) for our senior partners and consultants.  We will always discuss fees with you at the outset of any matter and, once we have a clear understanding of issues to be dealt with, we will advise you of the fee earner(s) who will deal with your case and their hourly rate.  We will also provide you with an estimate of the total fees and expenses you are likely to incur.

For a straightforward estate our average fees range between £4,000 – 7,000 (plus VAT and expenses).  This is based on a senior consultant with an hourly rate of £325 spending between 12 and 22 hours on a case where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property (fees do not include costs of sale)
  • There are no more than two bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are no more than two beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets; 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
  • There are no foreign assets

Expenses

In addition to our professional fees listed above we will also invoice you for the following expenses:

  • Probate application fee of – £155 plus £0.50 per court sealed copy of the grant
  • Swearing of oath (per executor) – £7 for each document sworn (original will or codicil)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department search (per beneficiary) – £2
  • London Gazette and local newspaper advertisements for protection against claims from unknown creditors – approximately £300 plus VAT

In more complex cases there may be additional expenses and we will inform you at the outset if these are likely to be due.

Additional costs

Our fees will increase if there are complicating factors that require us to spend more time on your matter.  The factors below are some, but not all, of the factors that typically contribute to a more complex case:

  • If there is no will.
  • Complex income tax positions for the deceased or tax for the period of administration.
  • Disputes between beneficiaries.
  • The assets are more complex than those provided in the illustration above
  • A full inheritance tax account needs to be submitted and inheritance tax is payable.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.

How long will this take?

On average, straightforward estates (as discussed above) take between six and 18 months and comprises the following steps:

  • Obtaining the grant of probate – two to four months
  • Collection of assets – two to six months
  • Distribution of assets – two to three months

A more complex estate can take significantly longer and a total period of two to four years is not uncommon.

Private client team qualifications

Our private client team handles probate matters and a summary of the fee earners involved and their respective qualifications is available by clicking on the relevant individual profile below.

Sonia Slater