Probate Prices and Timescales
It is important for you to understand the likely cost and timescale of probate work. We provide a tailored service, knowing that ‘no size fits all’. Our prices are based on an hourly rate of £185 plus VAT and disbursements, not a percentage of the value of the asset comprised in the estate. We are a professional and regulated legal provider, committed to providing the best possible service to our clients. Testimonials which can be seen on our website underline this commitment. We will give you an estimate of our costs in dealing with the administration of the estate based on our assessment of the number of hours of work which will be required. The costs will depend upon the complexity of the estate, but average fees are included below, in order to provide you with some guidance.
Very Simple Estates and Limited Retainers
If you the client, can provide us with the date of death valuations for all of the estate’s assets and liabilities, if there is no tax to pay to HMRC, and if you do not require any legal assistance to collect and distribute the estate, we are happy to receive instructions to simply prepare the IHT205 Form and the oath application. Anticipated legal fees for this work are based on an hourly rate of £185 plus VAT. The total cost is estimated at £540-£900 plus VAT plus disbursements, consisting of a swearing fee at a cost of £7.00 for a will and oath (an extra £2 is charged to swear or affirm any additional document, such as a codicil) and Probate fees of £155 plus £1.50 per additional sealed copy of the Grant of Probate.
Non- Taxable Simple Estates
For non-contested UK estate administration, where all assets are in the UK, some of the date of death valuations have already been provided by you the client, no tax is payable to HMRC and you require the firm’s assistance to realise and distribute the estate, the average cost will be £1,500-£3,500 plus VAT plus the following likely disbursements:
- Office copies from the Land Registry = £3.00
- Swearing Fee = £7.00 for a will and oath and an extra £2 per additional document
- Probate fee of £155 plus £1.50 per additional sealed copy of the Grant of Probate
- Placing statutory advertisement in the Gazette and Local Newspaper (average cost of £240, but dependent on provider and locality of the Deceased)
- UK Bankruptcy searches = £2 per individual
- Non- UK Bankruptcy searches (average cost of £100 per individual but dependent on country of residence and provider used).
Taxable Estates or More Complicated Non-Taxable Estates
For non-contested UK estate administration where we are instructed to obtain the date of death valuations for the estate, provide an account to HMRC, apply for the grant and realise and distribute the estate, total costs are estimated at £2,500 to £7,500 plus VAT plus disbursements, dependent upon the complexity of the estate and/or the instructions. The estimate provided is only relevant if:
- there is a valid will, and
- there are no more than one or two properties, and
- there are no more than 10 bank or building society accounts, and
- there are no other assets, such as stocks and shares, and
- there are no more than 6 beneficiaries, with limited correspondence required, and
- there are no disputes between beneficiaries, and
- the inheritance tax calculation is straightforward, with no grossing up required and no reduced rate of tax applied, and
- an income tax account is not required for the estate, and
- there are no claims made against the estate
Your legal fees will unfortunately increase, if there are for example a greater number of beneficiaries, more assets to value, realise and distribute, if an executor wishes to renounce probate, if Income Tax is payable by the estate during the administration period, or the Inheritance Tax calculation and account is of a more complicated nature. Any income tax or inheritance tax is an additional liability for the estate to discharge (see here). We will be able to provide you with an accurate estimate of costs once we have assessed the complexity of the estate, following an initial consultation.
Generally speaking, costs will be higher when dealing with an intestate estate (where there is no will), as there is extra work involved in ascertaining who has the right to deal with the administration of the estate, tracing potential beneficiaries and so on. Additional disbursements are also often incurred with intestate estates, e.g. the payment of insurance for any missing beneficiaries, and tracing agents’ fees.
The cost to instruct the firm to deal with the sale or transfer of any property included in the estate, is not included in these cost estimates.
On average, the administrations of simple non-taxable estates are dealt with within 6 to 12 months, from the date of first instruction. Obtaining the Grant of Probate can take between 2 to 3 months, but is dependent upon the Probate Registry’s workload. If there are difficulties with valuing the assets and liabilities of the estate, then these timescales will increase. We are unable to provide a realistic timescale with regard to realising the estate as this depends upon third-party organisations and how the beneficiaries wish to receive their share of the estate.
Increased timescales are expected when dealing with a taxable estate, in order to account for HMRC’s workload. On average, HMRC will take approximately 3 months to respond to any issue raised. The average taxable estate will take between 10-16 months to conclude.
The conveyancing work undertaken by this firm is limited to that which is commonly associated with the administration of a person’s estate.
Assent and transfer applications to the Land Registry are dealt with on an hourly rate basis of £185 plus VAT plus disbursements, namely land registry fees and fees payable to the Land Registry to obtain office copy entries and plans for the property, charged at a sum of £3 per copy or plan. The average cost for a transfer or assent of a registered property where only 1 or 2 signatories are required is £270-£360 plus VAT and disbursements.
Sales and first registrations of a property are more complex transactions. The work is undertaken on an hourly rate basis of £185 plus VAT plus disbursements, namely land registry fees and fees payable to the Land Registry to obtain office copy entries and plans for the property, charged at a sum of £3 per copy or plan. The average fee is £750 plus VAT plus disbursements. The land registration fee is dependent upon the value of the property (see here). Any indemnity insurances or policies will be an additional cost. A quote will be provided prior to any policy being purchased.