We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration on your behalf. We will also undertake the collecting and distributing of assets.
How our fees are calculated:
Our costs are based on two factors, a “time element” and a “value element.”
The time element:
Our systems record the time spent by fee earners on a particular matter. Each fee earner has an “hourly rate” which is calculated in accordance with the Law Society’s published guidelines, though we appreciate other firms may charge rates which are higher than the guidelines.
Partners and senior solicitors charge an hourly rate of £230 plus VAT and newly qualified solicitors charge an hourly rate of £160 + VAT.
- Letters/emails received are charged in units of 1/20th of an hour per item
- Letters/emails sent are charged in units of 1/10th of an hour per item
- Telephone calls made and received are charged in units of 1/10th of an hour per item
- Perusal/preparation is charged for on a time basis
- Attendance is charged for on a time basis
The value element:
Our charges also contain an element based on the value of the estate. This is because the value is a reflection of the importance of a matter and consequently, the responsibility imposed on the firm
We charge 0.5% of the value of the property and 1% of the value of the investments plus VAT.
However, where a Solicitor of this firm is appointed as an executor, an additional value element of 0.5% plus VAT will be charged.
What is included in our fee?
- We will provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor 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 the relevant documents required to make the application
- Complete the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms
- Draft a statement of truth for you to sign
- Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
- Obtain the grant and provide a court issued copy to you.
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate after paying all and any liabilities
How long will the process take?
On average, small estates are dealt with within 3-6 months. Typically, it takes approximately 6- 8 weeks to receive all the information necessary to apply for the grant. Once we have applied for the grant, it usually takes approximately 3-4 weeks to receive the same.
Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 4-6 weeks. Once we have received all the money in, we then pay the liabilities. Once this has been done, we are then in a position to prepare an interim account. This is sent out to the executors for their approval, and once approved, we distribute the assets accordingly. We then usually deal with either the sale or the transfer of the property. The time taken with this process depends on a number of factors including how quickly a buyer can be found for the property.
Also if income tax returns are required this can often take several months (up to a year) to finalise.
How much will it cost?
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. Please see the attached rider for examples.
If we are just applying for the grant on your behalf, our fees would be approximately £900 to £1,500 + VAT
In addition to our fees, disbursements may be payable and can include:
- Probate application fee of £170 (includes 10 additional copies). These fees are subject to change
- £3 Office Copy Entry – this is the modern equivalent of the old title deeds and shows how the property is owned e.g. sole ownership, owned as joint tenants or owned as tenants in common
- £200.00 (approximately) Trustee Act Notice – this includes a post in The London Gazette and in a local newspaper – this helps to protect against unexpected claims https://www.thegazette.co.uk/wills-and-probate/content/299
- £114 Certainty search – this is a search to ascertain whether the deceased had made a later will than the one in our possession https://www.nationalwillregister.co.uk/
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. These are the same price for any firm. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process but may need to request money on account from you to cover these costs (if cash is not already available in the estate).
Potential additional costs
The following factors can increase the time costs for an estate:
- If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate idea of the costs once we have more information.
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included
- Arguments/disagreements between executors/ beneficiaries
- Claims on the estate
- Complicated IHT issues
- The need to appoint a specialist accountant to advise
- Various trust issues
In the event that these issues become apparent, it could move from a straightforward estate to a more complex one. It depends on the severity and we will require further information to provide a more definitive costs estimate.
During conduct, we keep clients advised as to our costs throughout (with an update on costs at least every 6 months).
Who will be carrying out the work?
- Andrew McCusker https://www.fieldoverell.com/staff-member/andrew-mccusker/
- Lorna Payne https://www.fieldoverell.com/staff-member/lorna-payne/
- Alice Ogilvie-Smals https://www.fieldoverell.com/staff-member/alice-ogilvie-smals/
Each case will depend on its individual facts and unexpected difficulties may arise. Having said that, it may be helpful to give some simple examples to illustrate the amount of time which might be involved in certain cases:
(i) Example 1: An estate of say, under £50,000 can sometimes be wound up in about five hours if there are no complications and if there is a sole executor who is also the sole beneficiary.
(ii) Example 2: An estate of say, £50,000 to £100,000 without a house, might be wound up in between five and 15 hours, depending on the number of beneficiaries and the difficulty in collecting the assets and settling the liabilities.
(iii) Example 3: An estate of say, £100,000 to £250,000 with a house and stock exchange investments, might be wound up in between 15 and 25 hours, depending on the nature of the assets and assuming that there are no major difficulties.