Probate administration service

We are able to provide a complete Probate Administrative Service, where we will take full responsibility for obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, and deal with the administration of the estate.  This service includes:-

(i) an initial face to face meeting with an experienced member of our team;

(ii) we will check the validity of the Will (if applicable);

(iii) we will undertake all necessary correspondence to ascertain the value of  the assets in the estate and the extent of the deceased person’s liabilities.  We will correspond with HMRC where relevant and complete the appropriate tax forms, or arrange for that to be done.

(iv) we will prepare all documentation required and take all steps necessary to obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, to include paying any tax due to HMRC prior to obtaining the Grant;

(v) upon receipt of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, we will collect in the assets comprised in the estate;

(vi) we will conduct all correspondence with HMRC which is relevant to settling the amount of Income Tax, Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax that may be payable during the estate administration process;

(vii) we will correspond with all creditors of the estate and, as far as possible, settle all debts and liabilities from the estate;

(viii) if appropriate, we will place Statutory Notices in the London Gazette and  a local newspaper;

(ix) we will prepare the final accounts for the estate and obtain the approval of the Executors or Administrators.  We will check the identity of all beneficiaries of the estate undertaking bankruptcy searches in respect of the beneficiaries, and we will submit the estate accounts to them with the forms of receipt in respect of their entitlement. The estate will be distributed in accordance with the estate accounts;

(x) in the event there are one or more properties in the estate, we will arrange for our conveyancing department to deal with the transfer or sale of the property/properties with the agreement of the Personal Representatives.  Before any such work is undertaken, our conveyancing department will provide you with an estimate of fees for the work to be undertaken.

 

Costs

Our Fees

Our fees will be based on the time we spend on your matter, based on the hourly rate applicable to the individual fee earner, as follows:-

Head of Department £250.00
Solicitor/Graduate Legal Executive £225.00
Support Staff £100.00

These rates are subject to VAT at 20%.

We do not charge an additional fee if we are the Executors of the Will and, unlike a number of other firms, we do not apply an uplift to our charges to reflect a percentage of the estate in addition to our hourly rate.  We charge only for the work that is undertaken on your behalf.  If you supply us with all the information that we request at the outset, we should be able to provide you with a reasonably accurate estimate for the work that is to be undertaken, which will reflect the volume and complexity of the work involved.  It does not necessarily mean that because we are dealing with a small estate it will not be a complex matter, for example the estate may have a large number of beneficiaries; assets held in trust; there may be a dependant who has deliberately been left out of the Will and who might want to claim against the estate; there may be doubts about the validity of the Will; or the estate may be bankrupt.  These factors will be taken into consideration when we provide you with the estimate of costs.

Based on our experience, we would identify a typical estate as one that involves a property, four assets such as bank and building society accounts, and four beneficiaries.  In these circumstances, we would expect that our fees for dealing with all aspects of the estate administration would be in the region of £4,500.00 plus VAT (20%) and disbursements.  This does not however include the costs for the work to be undertaken by our conveyancing department in relation to the sale or transfer of the property.  Our conveyancing department will provide you with a separate estimate in respect of this work.

The number of chargeable hours required to complete an estate where our fees would be in the region of £4,500.00 will be 18 hours for the Head of Department and 20 hours for a Solicitor or Graduate Legal Executive, to include all letters/emails written or received, telephone attendances, personal attendance and preparation.

Disbursements

In addition to this firm’s fees, external costs and expenses will be incurred, known as “disbursements.” Some disbursements are subject to VAT at the standard rate of 20%. The disbursements that may be incurred include the following:-

(i) with all applications for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, there will be a Probate Court fee.

  • Probate Court fee – this is currently £155.00 plus £1.50 for each additional sealed copy of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. These fees are expected to increase in 2022.

There is no VAT payable on the Probate Court fee.

You will be required to pay us the Probate Court fee before we submit the application for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

(ii) We are able to secure a copy of a Land Registry property title at a cost of £3.00 pus VAT of 60 pence.

(iii)Statutory Notices are often necessary to protect the Executors/Administrators against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.  The cost of these Statutory Notices are usually in the region of £225.00 plus VAT of £45.00.

(iv) bankruptcy searches will be undertaken against the names of each beneficiary, before the estate is distributed, at a cost of £2.00  per person. VAT of 40 pence is payable for each search.

(v) In every case we will electronically verify the identity of each Executor or Administrator at a cost of £5.50 per person plus VAT of £1.10.

Once the full extent of the assets and liabilities of the estate are known, we will inform you if there are any other expenses that arise, that are appropriate to your particular estate.

Expected Timescales

On the assumption that the estate is relatively simple, all assets are based in the United Kingdom, and there are few, if any, assets that would complicate the process, we would expect the administration of the estate to be completed within a period of between 12 to 18 months.  In many cases, it is not in fact advisable to distribute the estate within 6 months of the issue of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

It will normally take a period of between 3 to 4 months following the initial appointment to ascertain the value of the assets and liabilities of the estate.

The information will be used to draft the estate Return which will be submitted to the Executors or Administrators for approval and signature.  This process will usually take approximately one month.

If the Return does not have to be sent to HMRC the application for the Grant can be submitted to the Probate Registry. The Grant should then be issued within a period of approximately 6 weeks.

If the estate Return is submitted to HMRC they have a period of 3 weeks to consider the documentation.  At the end of that period the application for the Grant can be made and should be available within a period of 3 to 6 weeks.

When the Grant is available it will be used to close the deceased’s bank/building society accounts and investments and to sell or transfer shares and any property.  This process can take a further 6 to 12 months depending on the nature and complexity of the estate.  During this period we would normally undertake an interim distribution to the beneficiaries.  It may also be necessary to finalise Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax liabilities with the completion of a Tax Return.

Once all outstanding issues are concluded the estate accounts will be drafted for approval and thereafter there will be a final distribution to the beneficiaries.  This process will usually take a further period of between 4 to 6 weeks.

Additional Costs

Issues that may arise and which will inevitably increase the cost of obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, and which are not included in the above estimate include:-

  • business or agricultural property;
  • operating or selling a business;
  • shares in a private company;
  • assets held or situated outside of the United Kingdom;
  • assets of a specialised nature, e.g. fine art;
  • an unclear Will;
  • third party costs and service extras, e.g. repayable benefits, valuation fees and penalties.

Who to talk to

Jane Pattison Head of Department
Kym Clarke Graduate ILEx
Matthew Church Solicitor
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