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Probate Fees Guidance

Probate & Estate Management – Fees Guidance and Information

 

When a loved one dies, you are very likely to feel distressed and upset. If, in addition, you are named as an executor in their will, you may feel confused and daunted by your own legal responsibilities at what can be a very stressful time.

We can assist you through these difficult times by providing clear advice with sensitivity and efficiency.

We have extensive experience with matters relating to applications for probate and the general administration of trusts and estates. We are able to assist with the full range of cases from straightforward estates to complex estates involving many different elements.

 


Here are some, entirely hypothetical, examples of our charges and a guide as to the approximate time it takes to deal with each type of matter in the given circumstances:


1.A SIMPLE CASE – CATHERINE: We charged £1,500 plus VAT and disbursements. Our fee would have been £750 plus VAT and disbursements if we were to only obtain the Grant of Probate.

When 85 year old Catherine died her husband Michael asked us to sort out probate to her estate. This was a simple matter, handled by an experienced junior staff member. We were able to sort out the entire matter in just over three months from being instructed. Our bill was just £1,500 plus VAT and disbursements.

The reasons the bill was relatively small were:

  •  Catherine’s house was in joint names with Michael, so no conveyancing was needed.
  •  No inheritance tax was payable and the shorter forms could be completed.
  • The assets we had to collect and distribute were just one savings account and one investment account,total value £120,000.
  • There were only two beneficiaries in addition to Michael himself (their two children) who were both adults. No trusts or other complexities were involved.
  • We had prepared Catherine’s will ourselves a few months before so had much of the information to hand.
  • Michael was prompt and well-organised in responding to our requests for papers and information.

In addition to our bill there were disbursements of £162. They would be the same at any firm. They were made up of:

  • Probate application fee of £155.
  • £7 for swearing of the oath.

2. A TYPICAL CASE – ADRIAN: We charged £4,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

Adrian, a widower, passed away and his three children requested that we deal with his estate. We had nearly completed the administration of the estate within six months and were able to distribute it between the children upon receiving clearance from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The day to day running of the estate was dealt with by a solicitor with limited involvement, as needed, by the head of the department.

This more standard case involved the following:

  • The transfer of the house to the three children who were then able to deal with the sale.
  • The completion of a full inheritance tax account involving claiming multiple nil rate bands and the sourcing and payment of a small amount of inheritance tax. Clearance had to be obtained from HMRC.
  • There were several investments and bank accounts all of which had to be valued and realised in the most tax efficient manner.
  • Income tax matters had to agreed with HMRC.
  • The children wished for us to correspond with the Department of Work and Pensions and the deceased’s private pension provider.
  • There were a few legacies to grandchildren and charities to pay before dividing the estate between the children.
  • We had prepared Adrian’s will ourselves a few months before so had much of the information to hand.
  • We had to obtain a lot of the information ourselves as the children were unaware of the extent of the assets.
  • However, the children were able to deal with the distribution of the household possessions and taking over the deceased’s utility and other household bills.

In addition to our bill there were disbursements of £2,362. They would be the same at any firm. They were made up of:

  •  Probate application fee of £155.
  •  £7 for swearing of the oath.
  •  Inheritance tax payable of £2,000.
  •  Trustees Act notice of £200

3. A COMPLICATED CASE: We charged £20,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

Andrew, a farmer and businessman passed away leaving a multi-million pound estate including a farm, a holiday let business and a substantial investment portfolio and his children instructed us to deal with all matters pertaining to the estate. Subject to the sale of the properties which were to be sold and negotiations with the revenue, most of the estate had been administered within a year. The estate was dealt with by the head of the department with assistance from other members of the team on minor matters.

This more substantial case involved the following:

  • The firm taking over the running of the farmhouse and ensuring that the children were aware of the obligations they held as the new farm owner.
  • The completion of a full inheritance tax account involving claiming multiple nil rate bands and substantial claims for agricultural property relief, business property relief and other reliefs and exemptions.
  • Sourcing and payment of inheritance tax and complex negotiations with HMRC as to the extent of the reliefs above before obtaining clearance.
  • There were several substantial investments and bank accounts all of which had to be valued and realised in the most tax efficient manner.
  • Several income tax and capital gains tax returns had to be completed and had to agreed with HMRC.
  • The children wished for us to correspond with the Department of Work and Pensions and the deceased’s self invested pension holder.
  • We had to partition the deceased’s estate both on the terms of his will but also in the most tax efficient manner to ensure that the reliefs would be intact for the next generation.
  • We had prepared Andrew’s will ourselves a few months before so had much of the information to hand.
  • We had to obtain a lot of the information ourselves as the children were unaware of the extent of the assets.
  • We had to deal with the distribution and auctioning of the deceased’s personal possessions.

In addition to our bill there were disbursements of £50,362. They would be the same at any firm. They were made up of:

  • Probate application fee of £155.
  • £7 for swearing of the oath.
  • Inheritance tax payable of £50,000.
  • Trustees Act notice of £200

 

Note that disbursements are costs related to a matter that are incurred whomsoever you may instruct and that are payable to third parties, such as Court/Probate fees. We handle the payment of  these on  your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Please note that this costs information is general, and we will give you more precise and personalised information when you contact us direct with details of the estate you would like us to administer. Our charges are calculated based upon the hourly rate of the member of staff who is dealing with your work, details of which are below.

Once you contact us direct we will always let you have a personalised written estimate of our charges, and those will relate to your particular matter and you should rely on that information rather than any more general information you have seen on our website or elsewhere on the subject of our costs.

Our Probate team has over twenty years of collective experience of delivering high quality work in all matters relating to Wills and Estate Administration. The team has particular expertise in high value estates and inheritance tax matters. We have four members of the team , including Partner and Head of Department Simon Underwood, who may work on your matter. They will all be supervised by Simon (Hourly rate £245). The other members of the team are Cindy Grand (Associate / Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives, hourly rate £225) Sarah Parker (Solicitor, hourly rate £205 ), and Marie Townley (Probate Executive, hourly rate £165).

Full details of the team can be found on the “Our People” page.

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