No probate matter is exactly the same, for example one matter may be very straightforward with only one beneficiary and no inheritance tax to pay and another may have a number of properties and investments together with multiple beneficiaries and inheritance tax to pay. Because of this, until we have details of your particular matter, we cannot give a reliable estimate of the cost. We can here however give a range of costs.
Three Options on costs
There are three options that we can agree upon in respect of our legal fees and this would entirely be your decision once we have had an opportunity of discussing your particular circumstances. The first option is to agree an hourly rate with an estimate as to costs at the outset. The second option would be to instruct us under a fixed fee and the third option would be to instruct us on a percentage basis.
1. Hourly rate
Our charge out rate is as follows;
- Associate solicitor – £250
- Senior Solicitor – £275
- Partner – £300
If the matter is very straightforward with minimal estate assets and no inheritance tax to pay then we would assess this would be in the region of 10 to 15 hours of work. If however the matter is more complex with for instance, a number of investments, multiple beneficiaries and inheritance tax to pay, then the likely range of hours would be between 30 to 60 hours. (In some circumstances, where the matter is particularly complex this upper figure may be exceeded).
2. Fixed fee
It may be the case that you require the peace of mind of knowing exactly what the costs will be at the conclusion of the matter, right from the outset. For this reason we can give you a fixed cost price. This may range between £3,000 and £30,000 depending upon the level of seniority of the solicitor dealing with the matter, the complexity of the case, whether there is a will, the number of investments or shareholdings in the estate and whether the estate is subject to inheritance tax. (In some circumstances, where the matter is particularly complex this upper figure may be exceeded).
3. Percentage basis
You may prefer to instruct us on a percentage basis where our charges will be calculated as a percentage of the gross value of the whole estate. If this were the case then the percentage applied to the gross estate would typically be between 0.8 to 1.6 percent plus VAT depending upon the particular circumstances of the probate matter. (In some circumstances, where the matter is particularly complex this upper figure may be exceeded).
The work involved
As part of our fee we will:
- Meet with you to advise on the terms of the deceased’s Will and discuss the duties of the executors.
- Obtain valuations of the estate assets and liabilities. Write to utilities, council tax, house insurance and share registrars if applicable.
- Once the valuations have been received, prepare the Inheritance Tax forms and Legal Statement.
- Submit the IHT Forms and Probate application to the Probate Registry.
- Send the Grant of Probate and letters of authority to the financial institutions, collect in the assets and pay any liabilities.
- Place creditor notices in the London Gazette / local newspaper
- Correspond with beneficiaries regarding the distribution of the estate, pay any legacies due under the Will.
- Prepare Estate Accounts
- Carry out bankruptcy searches on beneficiaries.
- Distribute the estate.
Our costs will be subject to VAT which at the present rate is 20%
Inheritance Tax (IHT)
It may be case depending upon the size of the estate that Inheritance Tax is payable on the estate. This will be an area for discussion when we meet with you to consider your particular circumstances.
Disbursements are costs relating to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements. The type of disbursements relevant to your matter may include:
- Probate Application fee
£155 plus £1.50 per court sealed copy
- Bankruptcy search
£2 per person
- Creditor Notices
- Unclaimed Asset search
- Land Registry Fee
On average most estates will take anywhere between 6 and 18 months to deal with. Typically obtaining the Grant of Probate in a relatively straightforward probate matter will take between 8 and 16 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which will normally take between 12 and 24 weeks from the time that the grant has been obtained.
Appointment as professional executors
It may be the case that the will has appointed us as Executors. In this instance we will charge on hourly rates (depending upon seniority of the lawyer appointed). We will also charge a professional executors uplift being 0.75% of any real property and 1.5% of all other estate assets.
If you would like to discuss your matter with one of our team then either call us on 0203 814 2020 or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 23 March 2021