Probate and estate administration fees

What is probate and what is involved in the administration of an estate?

Please see our estate administration overview for a summary of the work that is involved.

We offer three different pricing structures based on the level of work we are required to do and the type of estate that we are asked to deal with. Full details and timescales for each option are set out below.

1. Obtaining a grant only

We offer a grant only service which enables you to instruct us to obtain a grant for you and then you can deal with the encashment and distribution of the estate assets.

The work involved in obtaining a grant only includes the following:

  • Ascertaining the value of the estate for probate purposes.
  • Completing a short form inheritance tax account, known as form IHT205.
  • Completing the necessary probate application including preparation of the legal statement.
  • Submitting the application to the probate registry with the necessary application fee.
  • Receiving the grant and sending this to you to enable you to then deal with the encashment of the estate assets.

Our costs will be based on the following:

  • There is a valid will and the application is for a grant of probate.
  • You will either provide us with details of all of the assets and liabilities of the estate along with date of death values or we will liaise with the relevant financial organisations to ascertain this information, provided however that there are not more than four financial institutions for us to liaise with.
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full inheritance tax account, known as form IHT400.
  • There are no claims against the estate.

Our work will not include the following:

  • Dealing with any aspect of realising the estate assets or dealing with the distribution of them in accordance with the terms of the will.
  • Carrying out any of the searches that are recommended in the guide to the administration of an estate, referred to above.

a) Our fees

For the work involved in obtaining a grant of probate only, our fees will be between £1,000 and £1,500 plus VAT and disbursements.  The exact cost will depend on whether all of the assets and liabilities information and date of death values are provided to us by you or whether we are required to obtain this information on your behalf.

b) Disbursements (third party costs)

In addition to our costs, extra expenditure (called ‘disbursements’) will be payable as follows:

  • Probate application fee of £155.00 plus £1.50 for each official copy of the grant that is required.
  • If required, HMRC Land Registry search fee of £3.00 plus vat per property.

c) How long will this take?

Where you provide us with all of the information required to complete form IHT205 and the probate application, on average, we can apply for the grant within two to three weeks of receipt of that information.  Where we are required to obtain the information, it can typically take four to six weeks for us to receive the information from the financial organisations and once received, we can then prepare the papers.

Once the papers have been signed and submitted, it can take the probate registry up to three months to issue the grant of probate.

d) Other types of grant only matter

If any other type of grant of representation is required, such as a grant of letters of administration if the deceased died intestate, please contact us for a free, no obligation estimate or quotation following an initial consideration of what work will be required to deal with obtaining the grant.  Obtaining any type of grant other than a grant of probate is not standard and will require consideration of the particular circumstances of the matter.

2. Applying for a grant, collecting and distributing the assets

We offer a full estate administration service.  This quote is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will.
  • There is no more than one property.
  • There are no more than four bank and building society accounts.
  • There are no other intangible assets.
  • All assets are in the UK.
  • There are between 2 – 4 beneficiaries.
  • There is no dispute between the beneficiaries on the division of assets. If any 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 inheritance tax account (form IHT400) to HMRC.
  • There are no claims against the estate.

Our work will include the following:

  • Ascertaining the exact value of the estate for probate purposes;
  • Completing a short form, inheritance tax account, known as form IHT205.
  • Completing the necessary probate application including preparation of the legal statement.
  • Submitting the application to the Probate Registry with the necessary application fee.
  • Dealing with the closure/encashment/transfer of all of the estate assets and collecting the funds into our client account;
  • Carrying out all relevant searches that may be required by you (as referred to in the guide to the administration of an estate and details of which are set out below in ‘Potential additional costs’).
  • Taking the appropriate action to finalise the estate’s income tax position provided the deceased was not registered for self-assessment. In such cases, it is likely that the income tax affairs are not straight-forward and an accountant may need to be instructed.
  • Preparing estate accounts for you to approve; and
  • Dealing with the distribution of the estate assets to the beneficiaries.

Our work will not include the following:

  • Dealing with the transfer/sale of any property held within the estate. This work would be dealt with by our property team and we can liaise with them in order that they can provide you with a quote for their work in this regard. Where a property is to be sold, our property team will transfer the proceeds of sale to our estate file in order that we can distribute the proceeds of sale in accordance with the terms of the will.
  • Dealing with the administration of assets in another country or providing any advice in connection with the succession rules in that jurisdiction. We may be able to assist with such matters (depending on the exact circumstances), however, our costs will be greater as this work is not covered within the scope of the work referred to above.
  • Dealing with any deed of variation to the estate that may be required by any beneficiary. Whilst we are more than happy to advise upon the merits of entering into any such Deed and then preparing it, this will fall outside the scope of our work in this regard. We can discuss and agree fees separately with any beneficiary that wishes to enter into a deed of variation.

Our fees

For the work involved in carrying out the above service, our fees can be in the range of £2,000 plus VAT to £5,000 plus VAT and disbursements for this type of work. The range of fees quoted is wide as this can be affected by the hourly charging-out rate of the team member that deals with the work on your behalf and our current hourly rates range from £200.00 per hour to £350.00 per hour plus VAT.

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. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We can deal with more complex cases, such as where there are greater assets and/or beneficiaries than stated above, or where inheritance tax is not payable but a detailed Inheritance Tax Account still needs to be submitted (perhaps because the deceased owned business assets or had made significant gifts during their lifetime, or had an interest in a trust, or had assets abroad).  We can provide you with a free no obligation estimate or quotation following an initial discussion of the circumstances of the matter.

Disbursements (third party costs)

Disbursements are fees payable to third parties who we typically liaise with on your behalf.  These fees can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Probate application fee of £155.00 plus £1.50 for each official copy of the grant that is required.
  • If required, HMRC land registry search fee of £3.00 plus VATper property.
  • If required, trustee act notice fees are between £200.00 and £550.00 plus VAT(the cost varies greatly depending on the geographical area where the notices need to be placed).
  • If required, a certainty will search is £95.00 plus VAT
  • If required, a landmark financial asset search is £155.00 plus VAT

Potential additional costs

In addition to our costs and disbursements, the following additional fees may be payable depending on the exact circumstances of the case:

  • Tracing agent fees if beneficiaries cannot be traced.
  • If the estate contains stocks or shares, there are likely to be third party fees and disbursements in relation to obtaining valuations of the stocks and shares and then dealing with the encashment/transfer of them.
  • Accountant’s fees if the deceased’s income tax affairs are complex and an Accountant needs to be instructed.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6 months.  Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 6 to 8 weeks.  Collecting assets then follows, which takes 3 to 4 weeks.  However, achieving a sale of the property can take some months and depends on a buyer being found.  Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets and obtain receipts, which normally takes 5 to 6 weeks.

3. Complex cases

More complex cases, including where inheritance tax is payable; where lifetime inheritance tax planning by the deceased is reportable by the executors to HMRC; where certain foreign property owned by the deceased has to be reported to HMRC; where the deceased made a considerable amount of gifts during their lifetime; where there are business assets; and where the deceased may have had an interest in a trust at the date of death which is reportable to HM Revenue & Customs and cases where the deceased died intestate (without a valid will) involve much more work and time.

Our charging-out rates vary depending on the experience of the member of our team who will carry out the work on your behalf and that team member will be appropriate to the complexity or otherwise on the matter.  The range of our charging-out rates is between £200.00 plus VAT per hour to £350.00 plus VAT per hour.  Our charging out rates do not include disbursements.  Other potential additional costs include any inheritance tax that may be payable; genealogist fees, if required, third party fees for dealing with the sale or transfer of any freehold and/or leasehold property in the estate and third party fees for dealing with the sale or transfer of any stocks and shares held within the estate.

Timescales for taxable or complex estates vary considerably depending on the exact circumstances of the case.  Typically, however, estates that fall within this range are dealt within 12 months of us being instructed.

Our team members are experienced in such cases and they can provide you with a free no obligation estimate or quotation following an initial consideration of what work will be required to deal with the administration of the estate. Please note that we do not charge a percentage based on the value of the estate assets at all in calculating our fees.

Our team will be happy to discuss our fees and services, please call us on 01274 350 800.