Probate fee structure
Administration of the Estate – in full or in part
If you would like us to handle the full administration of the estate then we charge for this work on a time recorded basis so the estate will only be charged for the work actually carried out. We do not calculate a percentage or uplifted fee based on the value of the estate.
The hourly rates of our staff who may conduct work on your matter are:-
- Partner £260.00
- Senior Solicitor £235.00
- Junior Solicitor £215.00
- Trainee Solicitor £175.00
- Paralegal/Administrative Assistant £110.00
Each estate is different and there can be various reasons or circumstances making one more complex than another. The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter including the nature and extent of estate assets and liabilities, whether the estate is taxable for Inheritance Tax purposes, whether the estate includes foreign property, whether there is a valid and current Will in place, and if so, what provisions are made on the testator’s death, the number of beneficiaries (the UK and International), etc.
We will provide you with a realistic estimate of our likely fees at the initial stages and once we have the necessary information to determine the nature and extent of the work required in your matter. This will form the basis of your formal agreement to engage our services. The fee estimate will be kept under periodic review.
The examples set out here are given with a view to offering a gauge of the typical costs involved for the full administration of estates across a range of complexity. The example fees estimates are indicative only and concern non-contested administration.
Example simple estate – where there is a single beneficiary and no property, costs are likely to range between £1,500 - £4,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
Example typical estate – where there are up to four UK based beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, the costs are more likely to be in the region of £2,500 - £5,500 plus VAT and disbursements.
Example complex estate - Where the estate is taxable, costs may be significantly higher and typically range between £4,000 - £8,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
The disbursements (payments due to third parties) you might expect are listed below and could include:-
- Probate application fee of £155 plus £1.50 per additional copy required (usually one per asset)
- Bankruptcy only Land Charge Department searches - £2 plus Vat per UK based beneficiary
- Identification checks for beneficiaries and Executors £3.50 plus Vat
- Post in The London Gazette – protecting against unexpected claims from unknown creditors – on average £90-£250 (inclusive of VAT)
- Post in a Local Newspaper – this also helps to protect against unexpected claims – on average £130 (inclusive of VAT) and dependent on geographical area
As part of the full administration service we would typically complete the following work:
- Allocate a dedicated and experienced probate lawyer as your point of contact and to work on your matter;
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries;
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require;
- Obtain relevant information and documents needed to report the tax position of the estate to HMRC and to make a Probate application;
- Complete the Probate Application and relevant HMRC IHT reporting forms;
- Report the tax position of the estate to HMRC;
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf;
- Obtain and complete all paperwork required to cash in bank accounts and investments;
- Prepare and finalise the financial accounts of the estate;
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate and discharge all estate liabilities and debts.
- Obtain IHT tax clearance for the period of administration
- Complete any necessary tax returns for the tax year up to the date of death
Matters may arise during the course of the administration that was not anticipated from the outset but that gives rise to additional work necessary to complete the process. This would lead to an increase in work and legal fees. We would however review the position before that work is carried out so we can provide you with an updated fee quote setting out our likely fees to complete that additional work.
As part of our Grant only service, we would typically complete the following:-
- Advising you generally of the procedure to obtain a Grant
- Advice on Will searches and creditor notices, where necessary
- To receive the necessary estate information
- Complete the Probate Application and relevant HMRC IHT reporting forms
- Prepare any claim for transferable and unused inheritance tax allowance, where relevant
- Report the tax position of the estate to HMRC
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Receiving and providing you with the issued Grant and sealed copies
A Grant only service would not include dealing with the income tax return to the date of death or any administration work that follows the issue of the Grant; such as collecting and distributing of assets, dealing with tax clearance from HMRC for the period of administration or contacting beneficiaries (all available on request).
The examples set out here are given with a view to offering a gauge of the typical costs involved for the full administration of estates across a range of complexity. The example fee estimates are indicative only.
Example; basic Grant only – where, on the date of death valuations and information you obtain and provide us with, we will prepare the paperwork and submit the application for a Grant of Representation. The costs are more likely to be in the region of £1,000 to £2,500 plus VAT and disbursements where we are dealing with a short form inheritance tax account (IHT205) only. The costs are more likely to be in the region of £1,500 to £3,000 plus VAT and disbursements where a long-form inheritance tax account (IHT400) and supplementary schedules are required.
This example does not include work by us to obtain the relevant documents/information required to prepare and submit the application.
Example; obtaining limited date of death information and Grant only – where we will contact the various financial institutions such as banks, pension providers, investment companies, loan companies etc. and estate agents to obtain the necessary date of death valuations before preparing the paperwork and submitting the application for a Grant of Representation. It would be for you to contact government agencies such as HMRC and the DWP, together with all utility companies. The costs are more likely to be in the region of £1,750 to £3,000 plus VAT and disbursements, depending on the composition of the estate and whether a short or long-form inheritance tax account is required.
Example; obtaining full date of death information and Grant only – where we will contact the various asset and liability holders within the estate (financial institutions such as banks, pension providers, estate agents, investment companies, utility companies, loan companies, and government agencies such as HMRC and DWP etc.) to obtain the necessary date of death valuations before preparing the paperwork and submitting the application for a Grant of Representation. The costs are more likely to be in the region of £2,000 to £3,500 plus VAT and disbursements, depending on the composition of the estate and whether a short or long-form inheritance tax account is required.
Other work we might complete for you would include (available on request):-
- Response to any challenge or claim that may be raised against the estate (such as a challenge to the provision of the Will); or
- Variation of the Will provisions or tax planning advice to beneficiaries. Such work would be subject to additional charges; or
- Setting up and management of any trusts arising under the deceased’s Will.
How long will this take? **
Full administration, on average, non-taxable estates with several bank accounts and multiple beneficiaries are dealt with within 6-12 months. Where an estate is taxable, the average timescale to complete an administration would be 9-18 months depending on HMRC response times. These timescales do not include the optional waiting period of 6-10 months from the date the Grant of Probate issued with regards to receive service any claims that might be made against the estate
Please see our Estate Administration Summary for a more detailed breakdown of the process and average timescales.
*These fees and estimates only apply to uncontested cases with all assets in the UK. They are accurate as of August 2021 but are subject to review every 3 months. Hourly rates are reviewed annually in April. *
** COVID restrictions have touched every aspect of the administration process, resulting in longer than usual timescales for banks and other financial institutions, government agencies and other third-party services to deal with requests and process applications. This has in turn impacted the average length of time it takes to administer even the most straightforward of estates.