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.
Whether the deceased person left a Will or whether there is substantial wealth and property involved, the sense of burden can increase. 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.
We have an experienced team who 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.
You will have the confidence that you are our priority, with our aim being that any member of the team is available to speak with you when you need some clarity and certainty at any stage in the process. We feel this provides reassurance and gives you an outlet for any concerns that you may have. Fees are generally paid out of the estate, so there may not be a need for you to fund the administration.
We are proud to hold Lexcel and WIQS Accreditations, issued by the Law Society. This involves the firm undergoing a rigorous audit process which ensures we maintain high levels of client care.
We offer three pricing options for you to choose from. Option 1 is an hourly rate; whereby you will be charged for each hour of work undertaken. Option 2 is a fixed fee; this will be calculated by reference to the total gross value of the estate. Option 3 is a mixture of the two options above. All fees are subject to VAT.
There are a range of hourly rates for the legal work depending on the level and experience of our probate lawyers, ranging from £200-£300 an hour. This would depend on the level of complexity of the work involved.
The fixed fee will be calculated as a percentage, up to 2% of the underlying value of the gross estate and is subject to VAT. The actual percentage would depend on the complexity of the matter.
These fee structures are the same regardless of whether or not we have been appointed as executors, in other words we do not charge any additional premium for being appointed as executors.
Occasionally where we are dealing with a particularly complicated estate we charge on the basis of a reduced hourly rate and an additional sum based on the percentage of the underlying value of the gross estate.
There may be factors which would typically increase the cost of our fees. Where there is likely to be any additional cost, we will make sure you are informed of this at the earliest opportunity and a clear estimate of those extra costs will be provided.
Additional services that will require the assistance of a third party at additional cost include:
- conveyancing of any property in the estate
- tax advice
- valuations for property, savings, investments or other assets
- Deed of Variation - from £500+ depending on the complexity
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees or court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Please note that not all of the anticipated disbursements listed below are required in all circumstances and are subject to change.
Office Copies for the Grant of Probate
Land Registry Search fee
Bankruptcy Search fee (per beneficiary)
Post in the Local Newspaper (subject to variation)
Post in the London Gazette
Grant Total Estimate
We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf. We will also undertake the collecting and distribution of assets and as part of the fixed fee we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced Probate solicitor to work on your matter
- Identify the legally appointed executors, administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
- Obtain relevant documents required to make the application
- Complete the Probate Application and relevant HMRC Forms
- Draft a Legal Statement of Truth
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtain the Probate and securely send two copies to you
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate.
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
In the event that there is no Will or the estate consists of any share holdings (Stocks and Bonds), there is likely to be an additional cost that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be handled. We will discuss this with you in detail and advise of any additional fees.
The cost of selling or transferring a property is not included in this price, if you require this service, please let us know and we will provide you with an estimate in that regard.
Please read ‘Understanding The Probate Process’. This sets out the typical processes and possible timescales in the administration of an estate. We will keep you and any beneficiaries advised throughout.
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 between 4 -12 months. The range takes into account handling everything from straightforward estate through to more complex estates.
With every transaction there are key milestones, which may vary according to individual circumstances. They may be as follows:
- Obtain details of the estate
- Applying for Grant of Probate
- Obtaining Grant of Probate
- Settling Liabilities (i.e pay inheritance tax if due)
- Collecting funds ready for distribution
- Distributing funds
- Producing Estate accounts