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:
We have a computerised time-recording system which records 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 charge an hourly rate of £210 plus VAT and trainees charge an hourly rate of £135 + 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 legal oath for you to swear
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtain the Probate and securely send an office copy to you
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
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 and bill. 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 to finalise.
How much will it cost?
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. Please see the attached Rider.
If we are just applying for the grant on your behalf, our fees would be approximately £900 to £1,500 + VAT
With a small estate, to include the administration of the estate, our costs range from approximately £2,000 – £4,000 + VAT
We will handle the full process for you. The examples given above assume:
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one property
- There are not multiple bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are a small number of beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If 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 account to HMRC
- There are no claims made against the estate
With medium to large estates, our costs range from £4,000 – £8,000 + VAT
A medium to large estate may include the following:
- No valid will
- Several properties
- Multiple bank accounts and building society accounts
- Multiple liabilities to pay e.g. utility bills
- A large number of beneficiaries
- Inheritance tax payable, with the need to submit a full account to HMRC
Disbursements can include:
- Probate application fee of £160 (includes 10 additional copies). These fees are subject to change
- £5 Swearing of the oath (per executor) plus £2 for each extra document, such as a Will
- £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
- £197.42 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
- £144 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.
Potential additional costs
- 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 every 6 months at least) in accordance with the SRA guidelines and established good practice.
Who will be carrying out the work?
- Simon Homer https://www.fieldoverell.com/staff-member/simon-homer/
- Andrew McCusker https://www.fieldoverell.com/staff-member/andrew-mccusker/
- Alice Ogilvie-Smals https://www.fieldoverell.com/staff-member/alice-ogilvie-smals/
- Gemma Lowe https://www.fieldoverell.com/staff-member/gemma-rebecca-haley/
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.