Introduction to fees and pricing
In this particular area of law, and as with most solicitors, we calculate our charges on the time we spend dealing with your matter. Our charges are based upon our hourly rates, and are subject to the addition of VAT at the prevailing rate, currently 20%. In addition to this, there will be disbursements to be added, which are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as the Probate Registry. We handle the payment of these disbursements on your behalf, to ensure a smoother process, but these are ultimately payable by you.
The full details of our charging rates and our estimates of costs are detailed in our engagement letter and also set out in our terms of business, which documents you will receive from us at the outset of your matter. Our aim is always to provide you with all information in a clear, transparent and easy to understand manner. However, should you have any queries, or would like to speak to someone in person, please contact us and we will be happy to help.
As part of our client care, we will confirm the hourly rates of those lawyers who will be working on your matter, together with an estimate of the likely overall costs. Our hourly rates differ depending upon the qualifications and experience of the lawyers concerned. For more information on the qualifications, experience and specialist areas of expertise of our Private Client team, please click here. John Benson is the head of the Private Client Department and has overall supervision of all private client matters. You can also view testimonials from our clients here.
We can only provide estimates of our charges after meeting with you, and receiving your detailed instructions. Our hourly rates are set out below. However, when receiving your specific instructions, we will confirm with you whether there will be any revision of these to reflect the complexity, value or urgency of the matter; and our resources to accept your instructions.
- Partner or Consultant = £280.00
- Associate Solicitor = £265.00
- Solicitors and Chartered Legal Executives (FCILEx) / Chartered Accountant = £255.00
- Graduate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (GCILEx) = £220.00
- Trainee Solicitor / Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (ACILEx) = £200.00
- Paralegal/Legal Assistant / Affiliate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives = £165.00
We can provide assistance in connection with the administration of a deceased’s Estate. This can be either where there is a Will (Probate) or where there is no Will (Intestacy). We can also limit our involvement to obtaining the Grant only or can deal with the whole administration including gathering in the assets and distributing the Estate. In addition we can provide a consultancy service to you where we can provide advice on the probate process and inheritance tax liabilities and reliefs.
How long it takes to obtain the Grant of Probate depends on various factors to include the number of assets to be valued, whether there are assets abroad and if Inheritance Tax is payable. For straightforward cases we would expect to be in receipt of the Grant of Probate within six months. We will keep you informed as the matter progresses so that you are aware of the likely timescale for concluding the administration.
In all scenarios it will be necessary to ascertain if tax is payable and what amounts are due and when. This is a complicated area and specific advice is needed based on the value of the assets in the Estate, gifts made during the lifetime of the deceased, the type of assets and the reliefs available. Specific advice can be provided, or more information and a tax calculator are available on HMRC’s websites.
We will normally have to pay out the following disbursements on your behalf:
- Probate Application fee – £155.00;
- Copies of the Grant – £1.50 each (usually one per asset);
- Bankruptcy Searches – £2.00 per beneficiary;
- Notices to Creditors – depends upon the publications in which they are placed, but typically £220.00 plus VAT
Obtaining the Grant only
We will prepare the relevant inheritance tax forms and Oath to lead to the Grant. These will be prepared on the basis of the information you supplied to us and it will be your responsibility to ensure that it is accurate. If we need to correct the information provided at a later date there may be an additional charge. We would expect our costs for acting in this respect to be between £1,000.00 and £3,000.00 plus VAT. Simple assets with a single beneficiary are likely to be towards the bottom end of this range of figures, with more complicated assets and multiple beneficiaries, at the higher end.
Administering the Estate
If you ask us to deal with the whole administration of the Estate then as well as preparing the relevant paperwork to obtain the Grant on your behalf, we will deal with the following:
- Obtaining information of the value of assets as at the date of death including where appropriate obtaining professional valuations of investments or property;
- Establishing balances due from Pensions, balances in bank accounts etc;
- Ascertaining relevant liabilities of the Estate;
- Collecting in assets and accounting to the Executor and beneficiaries;
- Dealing with HMRC with regard to the tax position to the date of death or dealing with the deceased’s Accountant if appropriate;
- Ascertaining inheritance tax liability and assisting in arranging for appropriate payments to be made;
- Dealing with enquiries raised by HMRC with regard to the inheritance tax information provided and assisting dealing with the same;
- Communication with beneficiaries on their entitlement and accounting to them in respect of their entitlement at the appropriate time;
Typical costs for dealing with the whole administration of the Estate are between £5,000.00 and £15,000.00 plus VAT. The complexity of the assets, the number of beneficiaries and the inheritance tax position will all affect whether our costs are at the top or bottom end of this range of figures.
The above costs estimates do not include advice or assistance in relation to the following areas:
Deeds of Variation
An individual can decide not to take their entitlement but instead can redirect it to another beneficiary and potentially save or postpone inheritance tax as a result. Each beneficiary will need to consider their own circumstances and wishes with regard to this and typical costs are between £500.00 and £800.00 plus VAT;
Trust Work arising out of the Will
There can typically be on going work with regard to this which will be charged on the basis of an hourly rate;
Administration Period Tax
Some Estates can be dealt with on a simplified procedure which would be included within the above figures. However, in other cases the Estate must be registered and Administration period tax returns completed. Typically £300.00 to £500.00 in costs plus VAT per tax return.
Registering the death and arranging the funeral
On occasions, Executors are not able to travel to the area where they are required to deal with this process. We can assist by dealing with the registration and signing funeral forms if required. Typically this will cost £300.00 plus VAT.
The process can vary but it is typical to be able to obtain Probate within three months of the date of death, if no inheritance tax is due, or within six months if tax is payable. It should then be possible to gather in the assets after that, which can take between three and four months (unless a property needs to be sold), and then the distribution takes place within one to two months of that.
The conveyancing costs of any related property sale or transfer of title; or disposal of stocks, shares and investments are not included within the above costs estimates and timescales. If our services are required in relation to these then individual estimates will be provided.
As part of our fees, we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced Probate Solicitor or Legal Executive to work on your matter;
- Identify the appropriate person to deal with on your behalf;
- Prepare the necessary legal paperwork to make the application on your behalf and complete the relevant HMC forms;
- Lodge the application with the Probate Court on your behalf;
- Obtain probate and provide advice with regard to the legal issues that arise during the course of the administration.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email or contact one of our team.
Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary. It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.