Probate – Administrate of Estates – Our fees

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    We can help you through this difficult process by helping you to obtain a grant of representation and to administer the Estate. We offer two services:

    1. Grant only service

    If you are able to provide details of the value of all assets at the date of death and you have notified all the asset holders, pension providers, creditors, utility companies, DWP, HMRC, we can prepare the necessary Inheritance Tax forms and the Legal Statement for executors/administrators and apply for the grant of probate (or letters of administration). We would provide you with the grant when received and you would then have to gather in the assets, pay any debts, and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries. Our work would include:

    1. Providing you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter
    2. Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
    3. Accurately identify the type of Probate application
    4. Advising you as to what are the relevant documents required by us to make the application
    5. Preparing the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms for the executors or administrators to sign
    6. Making the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
    7. Obtain the grant and securely send two copies to you

    This “grant only” service is designed for executors and administrators who have the time to deal with administering the assets themselves and are familiar with the probate process. It is a useful service if the estate has a limited number of assets, or the estate is low in value and there are no complex inheritance tax issues.

    Otherwise, we would recommend the Full Estate Administration Service for you which is set out below.

    Our fees

    Our fee for this grant only service is between £2000 and £2500 plus VAT depending on whether we have to complete the IHT205 form or the more complex IHT400 and its accompanying schedules.

    In addition, you would have to pay the probate fees of £273 plus £1.50 for each sealed copy. Other fees may be payable for other searches – see Expenses payable in addition to our fees below.

    How long will it take?
    It usually takes about 2 to 3 months to get the grant for you. This may be delayed depending on the Probate Service’s volume of work in issuing grants.

    2. Full Estate administration service
    We can help you with the whole process of ascertaining the extent of the estate – notifying asset holders such as banks, ISA providers, obtaining valuations of stocks and shares, arranging valuations of properties, dealing with HMRC; preparing the necessary Inheritance Tax forms, the online Legal Statement for executors or administrators or the paper application form when necessary, and applying for the grant; then completing the application forms to close accounts, sell or transfer shares and ISA holdings, gathering in the assets; and distributing the funds to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will or the intestacy rules.

    Our work will include:

    1. Providing you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter
    2. Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
    3. Accurately identify the type of Probate application needed
    4. Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
    5. Preparing the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms for the executors or administrators to sign
    6. Making the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
    7. Obtain the grant and sealed copies
    8. Collect and distributing all assets in the Estate

    Our fees
    We can charge on an hourly rate basis, or we can agree a fixed fee with you.

    Hourly rated work
    Our rates are currently:
    Partner – £310 per hour
    Solicitor – £250 per hour
    Legal Assistant/Trainee solicitor – £180 per hour

    We charge for the work done, not a percentage of the value of the estate. We would give you an estimate of the likely fees when we know the likely extent of the estate and the type of assets involved. (Some firms charge an hourly rate and add a percentage on top at the end, but we just charge for the work actually done at hourly rates.)

    Assuming that there is a property (worth up to £500,000) to sell or transfer (for which we would make a separate charge), a couple of bank accounts, one or two ISAs and where there is a valid Will (with no trusts created), we would normally charge about £5000 to £7500 plus VAT for our time but this can be higher if more work needs to be done than we initially anticipate. In addition, there would be probate fees of £273 plus £1.50 per sealed copy and, possibly, some search fees.

    Fixed Fees
    These are similar to our estimates because we try to fix a fee which will cover the work we expect to do, but we add a small margin for error in order to give you certainty as to what you will pay.

    An estate worth around £1,000,000 including a property worth about £700,000, a number of uncomplicated investments and several bank accounts, would attract a fee between £15,000 and £18,000 depending on the likely complexity of the assets when we see the full papers available. The fixed fee would include:

    • An estate worth around £1,000,000 including a property worth about £700,000, a number of uncomplicated investments and several bank accounts, would attract a fee between £15,000 and £18,000 depending on the likely complexity of the assets when we see the full papers available. The fixed fee would include:
    • If appropriate, doing an asset search (the fee for the search provider would be disbursement to be added to our invoice) to check for any assets not obvious from your mother’s papers (this is not always necessary)
    • If appropriate, advertising for creditors to come forward – to ensure any debts are taken into account before the estate is distributed (again, the advertising fees would be disbursements to be added to our invoice – but this is also not always necessary)
    • Preparing inheritance tax forms (IHT400 and accompanying schedules) including forms to claim the Residence Nil Rate band, and to transfer the Nil Rate Band and Residence Nil Rate band from a deceased spouse and advising on any obvious inheritance tax issues arising (e.g., re gifts in last 7 years or the possibility of saving tax by using a deed of variation)
    • Preparing the online probate application and arranging for you to sign it
    • On receipt of the grant of probate, completing all necessary forms to close accounts, sell or transfer shares, and gather in the assets
    • Preparing final accounts
    • Calculating any Income tax or Capital Gains tax payable on income or gains made on assets during the administration period
    • Distributing the net estate in accordance with the Will or the intestacy rules

    The fixed fee does not cover any disputes which may arise during the administration of the estate, such as a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975; nor does it cover the costs of any work preparing a deed of disclaimer or deed of variation. If any such work becomes necessary, we will advise you and give you an estimate for the likely costs.

    We would be happy to discuss the particular circumstances of the estate with which you are dealing and to give you an estimate (on an hourly rated basis) or to quote a fixed fee.

    When quoting a fixed fee, we reserve the right to alter this once we have seen the papers relating to the estate as we may find more issues and complexity than was apparent when we had our discussions with you; we will advise you about these matters and give a revised figure for you to agree. We sometimes find that there are issues with the validity of the Will, or where there is no Will, there is a need to investigate the family tree to ascertain who is entitled to benefit from the estate. In some cases, more investigations into the extent of the assets may be needed and there may be a need to obtain insurance in relation to missing beneficiaries. These will all affect how much work we will have to do and therefore how much we charge.

    Probate fees – currently £273. The probate registries charge £1.50 for each sealed copy and we normally ask for 4 to 6 as we have to send them to each of the asset holders in order to close accounts and obtain the funds.

    Inheritance Tax – whether an Estate is taxable, and if so, the amount payable can depend on a number of factors. We refer you to www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax which will give you further information.

    Optional items:

    1. Notice to creditors – advertising for possible debts before you distribute the estate – (usually £200 – £250)
    2. Valuation fees – these vary but between £150 and £450 plus VAT
    3. Landmark Asset search – £135 plus VAT
    4. Certainty Will search – £45.60 to £114 plus VAT

    How long will it take?
    Administering the whole estate from start to finish will normally take 6 to 12 months. It can be longer if there are complicating factors, or it takes time to sell a property. It is sensible to wait 10 months after the grant of probate is issued in case of any claims being made against the estate; this isn’t always necessary where the executors are sure that there aren’t any unknown debts or assets, and there aren’t any people who might be able to claim a share of the estate.

    Who will do the work?
    Our Wills and Probate service is headed by Beth King who has been a solicitor for over 30 years. Beth is a partner and a member of the LLP. She is assisted by a small team of assistants.

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