These are provided on a fixed fee basis and will involve us in drafting the probate papers from the information that we receive from you. The fixed fee excludes any investigative work by us which we will be pleased to assist with and we will agree the costs of any additional work with you should you require our help
• Excepted estates – our normal charge for obtaining a Grant (and completing an IHT205 where relevant) is £1,800 plus VAT + the probate court fee of £273.00 plus £1.50 per copy
• Non-taxable estate - Our normal charge for obtaining a Grant in a non-excepted estate where no Inheritance Tax (IHT) is payable and an IHT400 is required is £3,500 plus VAT + the probate court fee of £273.00 plus £1.50 per copy
• Taxable estate - Our normal charge for obtaining a Grant in a taxable estate requiring an IHT400 is £5,000 plus VAT + the probate court fee of £273.00 plus £1.50 per copy
• Probate resealing – our normal charge for resealing the grant of probate of a Commonwealth resident is £2,000 plus VAT + the probate court fee of £273 plus £1.50 per copy
• Estates of non-domiciled persons – our normal charge for obtaining a Grant to the estate of a non-domiciled person where an IHT400 is required is £4,000 plus VAT + the probate court fee of £273 plus £1.50 per copy.
Any reference made to VAT is charged at the current rate of 20%.
The fixed fees assume that the personal representatives are able to provide full information in the Grant-only probate questionnaire together with all relevant documentation referred to in the above links, and that there is no requirement to undertake further investigation of the deceased’s estate.
In some cases, the replies given in the questionnaire may necessitate investigative work for which an additional charge on a time spent basis will be made. We will confirm what our costs will be for any additional work which will be calculated by reference to our hourly rates.
Our hourly charge out rates
The charge out rates for our lawyers vary between £165 to £415 per hour plus VAT, depending on their experience and seniority. Our rates are reviewed in June of each year.
How long does it take?
For an excepted estate using our grant only service, once we have been given all of the information the time period to extract the grant is currently about 6-8 weeks.
For taxable and non taxable estates once we have been given all of the information the time period to extract the grant is about 10-12 weeks. These time periods are not precise and should not be relied upon because we are reliant on third parties (for example to settle inheritance tax) HMRC – IHT and the Probate Registry. At present we are experiencing long delays with the issuing of grants, which is beyond our control.
Full estate administration service
Probate costs can be difficult to estimate and will depend on the complexity of the estate and time spent on each task. At the outset, we will provide our best estimate of our costs, which will be based on our hourly rates and from the information we have. If, at any point, our estimate needs to be revised upwards, due to more time having to be spent on tasks, we will advise you in advance and agree a new estimate with you.
Typically, for example, for a non-taxable estate, if there is one beneficiary, no property and the estate includes 5-6 straightforward assets such as a bank account, National Savings, 2 small shareholdings, life policy and a few low value personal chattels, costs may range from between £10,000 to £15,000 plus VAT.
If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts and investments and the estate is taxable, but otherwise straight forward, costs may range from between £25,000 - £35,000 plus VAT.
The ranges illustrated, in some cases, may be higher due to the nature of the assets to be dealt with or negotiated with HMRC, time delays caused by third parties or because of the relationship between family members. The ranges given do not allow for any tax planning, conveyancing work, disputes or collection of overseas assets requiring separate grants nor estates requiring consideration of any trusts under a will. You can read more here full estate administration.
Probate costs are likely to be higher for more complex estates including:
- Agricultural/business property
- Complex investment structures and valuations
- Estates where numerous lifetime gifts have been made
- Complex IHT calculations
- International assets requiring separate grants
- Estates including a contentious element and where we may be acting as an Independent Administrator
- Non domiciliary estates
- Cases where HMRC – IHT have made an enquiry.
A bespoke fee estimate for more complex cases will be given once all relevant information is known. The estimate will be reviewed and revised as the matters progresses, discussed and agreed with you.
IHT enquiries and disputes are outside our scope of being able to estimate costs and these areas will increase costs and lengthen the time that it takes to complete the estate administration.
We can offer additional services, such as after death tax planning e.g. deeds of variations, planning estate disposals for CGT purposes, conveyancing for the estate property, advice on trusts contained within wills including trust management and also wills for the beneficiaries.
For more information, have a look at our Probate process infographic.
Additional fees and disbursements
Disbursements are expenses of your matter that are payable to third parties, like those listed below. Not all may be applicable.
- Probate Registry fee – currently £273 plus £1.50 for each copy of the grant
- Unknown assets search fees - £185 plus VAT
- Statutory Advertisements – in the region of £250 - protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
- Land Registry fees – minimum of £3 plus VAT
How long does it take to administer an estate?
On average, estates can take up to 9 – 24 months, depending on whether there are any enquiries into the Inheritance Tax Account, and assuming third parties provide relevant clearances. The first step is to obtain the grant of probate, which confirms that you, as the executor, have the required authority that allows you to handle the assets of the person who is deceased. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate can takes up to 9 months from when we are instructed; collecting assets then follows and can take a minimum of 6 – 8 weeks, if straightforward. If there is a property to be sold, it will take as long as it takes to find a purchaser and the conveyancing transaction to complete. Revenue clearances then have to be obtained which may take a minimum of 3 - 4 months, after which the estate can be distributed. The distribution is dependent on advice concerning the Inheritance Act claims time limit which might alter the date upon which the executors can distribute the estate.
A full list of what is included as part of our full administration service can be found here: Probate summary of work.