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Probate – Our Charges

Many thanks for looking at our probate services. We are here to help you with your role as executor of an estate and guide you through the process.

The expertise within our Wills, Trust and Probate team at Band Hatton Button allows us to deal with the most complex of estates and legal issues.

We are widely acknowledged as one of the leading firms of solicitors advising on Wills, Trusts and Probate matters in the Coventry and Warwickshire area. This is demonstrated by our rankings in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners legal directories. In addition many of our lawyers are fully qualified and have attained specialist qualifications in this area of law with leading national organisations Solicitors for the Elderly and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

We are committed to providing clear, practical and cost-effective legal advice, a trusted and approachable service and outstanding client care.

Our policy is to tell our clients what we are going to charge them before they instruct us once we are in receipt of the relevant information.

Before undertaking any work, we will meet with you to review the terms of the Will and discuss the estate. We will then give you a fee estimate which is a range of costs that we believe we will incur when dealing with the estate.

At the outset, we will provide you with a detailed client care letter setting out who will be working with you and what work will be done. Also included will be our costs information.

We offer a Grant Only or Full Estate Administration service depending on how much assistance you require from us. The fees involved in a probate matter can vary and this will depend on the individual circumstances involved.

Grant Only

If the estate is straightforward and not complex it is sometimes the case that you may need a solicitor’s assistance in applying for the Grant only and are able to deal with the rest of the administration yourself.

  • Our Grant only service for a straightforward non-taxable estate (where the short-form HM Revenue and Customs account form IHT205 is needed or where we can dispense with the form IHT205 entirely because the estate meets the excepted estates criteria), start from £2,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
  • Our Grant only service for estates where a full HM Revenue and Customs form IHT400 Inheritance Tax account is required where the estate is taxable or more involved, start from £3,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

Full Administration of the Estate

As a guide, in most cases our typical fees for attending to the full administration of the estate will be within a range of costs as follows:

Value of assets in the estate (excluding the value of joint assets passing by survivorship) Fee Range from (£) Fee Range to (£)
£0 to £325,000 4,000 8,000
£325,000 to £650,000 6,000 10,000
£650,000 to £1m 8,000 12,000
£1m to £2m 12,000 18,000
Over £2m 20,000 upwards

The above fees are exclusive of VAT and disbursements (e.g. Probate Court application fees). Fees for the sale or transfer of a property will be charged separately.

Our rates compare well with firms of comparable quality. Unlike many of our competitors we do not charge an additional fee in line with the value of the estate (sometime referred to as the Law Society Value Element). The value element is where a solicitor charges for their time plus say 1% of the value of the estate.

Our fees for dealing with the administration of an estate will vary depending on the terms of the Will (or if the deceased died intestate), the size and complexity of the estate and the number and type of assets involved as well as the number of beneficiaries.

If we are required to register the death, organise the funeral and handle all matters relevant to a property then this will increase the legal costs.

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.

In most cases our fees and any disbursements will be payable from the estate.

Many of our probate clients are high-net-worth individuals, members of the legal and accountancy professions and people working at a senior level in the financial sector but we also act for many retired people or individuals who are inexperienced in business affairs.

We’re always happy to discuss how we can help clients economise by dealing with some aspects of a probate themselves without taking on unacceptable risks or over-burdensome administration.

Costs can be reduced considerably if family members are prepared to help with the non-legal tasks such as clearing personal items, meeting with estate agents and transferring utilities. These aspects can be time consuming but do not usually require our expertise.

We work closely with our clients’ accountants and financial advisers to deliver cost-effective tax and estate planning in connection with Wills, Trusts and Probate.

Where required, we can also draw expertise from our commercial, property, family and dispute resolution departments to provide complete legal services to suit the needs of our clients.

Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Representation (sometimes referred to as the Grant of Probate where there is a Will or Grant of Letters of Administration where there is no Will) on your behalf. We will also undertake the collecting and distributing of assets.

Our full estate administration service will provide you with expertise throughout the entire process. This could include:

  • Providing initial advice
  • Gathering the necessary evidence needed for the Probate application
  • Applying for the Grant of Representation
  • Collecting in the estate assets
  • Paying tax, liabilities and legacies
  • Dealing with HMRC negotiations
  • Preparation of full estate accounts and where applicable, tax returns
  • Distributing the residue of the estate to the entitled beneficiaries.

Based on the scenario given below, we anticipate this will take between 19 and 35 hours work at £225 per hour. Total costs estimated at £4,275 to £7,875 plus VAT and disbursements.

Again, unlike many of our competitors we do not charge an additional fee in line with the value of the estate (known as the value element).

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will and no disputes between Executors
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 3 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are no more than 3 beneficiaries
  • There are no more than 2 executors
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HM Revenue and Customs
  • There are no claims made against the estate
  • All assets are in the UK
  • There are no trusts to set up in the Will

Disbursements are not included in this fee:

  • Probate application fee of £300 (no VAT to pay)
  • £1.50 per sealed office copy of Grant and Will
  • Bankruptcy – only Land Charges Department searches (£2 plus VAT per UK beneficiary)
  • £350 plus VAT approximately to place notices in The London Gazette and in the Local Newspaper to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors, known as Statutory Notices or Statutory Advertisements or Trustee Act Notices (optional, unless one of our Partners is appointed as an executor).
  • Telegraphic transfer fee £35 + VAT per payment
  • Asset Search Fee of around £200 (optional, unless one of our Partners is appointed as an executor).  This is essentially an Asset & Liability search to help identify estate assets and liabilities that an executor may not already have been aware of.  As executor this will help you conduct your essential due diligence.
  • AML ID check £10 plus VAT per person
  • Certainty National Will Register search £126 plus Vat (if required).  This is a search of the National Will Register to check to see if there may be a later Will on the register that the executors do not know about – this protects the executor from personal liability in certain circumstances.
  • Land Registry Office Copies of the Register and the Plan £3.00 plus VAT per document.  Other Land Registry fees vary according to the nature of the transaction.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Potential additional costs or issues which might impact on costs

  • If there is no Will;
  • the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) held outside of a managed portfolio wrapper;
  • If the probate is contested or the lack of provision is challenged by a beneficiary;
  • Threatened, anticipated or actual litigation or disputes between beneficiaries;
  • There are assets that are overseas;
  • Private company shares;
  • The assets are complicated and/ or of a high value;
  • The volume of the assets in the estate;
  • When HMRC investigate tax affairs;
  • When Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) investigate benefit history;
  • if there are a higher number of beneficiaries (or the whereabouts of a beneficiary is unknown);
  • The executors are dead or lacking capacity;
  • Agricultural or business property
  • A Will where the terms of the Will are unclear
  • The Will contains an extensive number of legacies;
  • if the deceased made substantial lifetime gifts or had an interest in a trust,
  • If there is a Trust associated with the estate;
  • Sorting through numerous old papers;
  • Missing title deeds or share certificates;
  • The estate is subject to Inheritance Tax or there are complex tax issues or tax advice is required;
  • If there is a deed of variation to alter inheritance which is uncontested or a beneficiary wishes to disclaim their entitlement;
  • we are required to register the death, organise the funeral and handle all matters relevant to a property;
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included; and
  • Other unusual or complex situations.

We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6 to 9 months (often depending on how long it takes to sell the house and/or address matters with HM Revenue and Customs).

Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate (once we are in receipt of the necessary financial information) usually takes 12 to 20 weeks (depending on the workload of the Probate Registry and whether your application can be submitted online or needs to be submitted in paper format – please note that paper applications take longer). During this time, we aim to draft, submit and receive the application for the Grant.

Collecting assets (in this example the 3 bank accounts) then follows, which can take between 6 to 8 weeks.  Once this has been done, we can look to do an interim distribution (if appropriate) to the residuary beneficiaries whilst we wait on the sale of the house to complete.

Once all of the assets have been realised and liabilities paid, we will prepare detailed Estate Accounts setting out all transactions in the administration of the estate. When the Estate Accounts are approved by the Executors and shared with the residuary beneficiaries, we will then be in a position to release the final payment due to the residuary beneficiaries.

Key Milestones

With every transaction there are key milestones, which may vary according to individual circumstances. They may be as follows:

  • Working with the Personal Representative to gather the necessary financial information
  • Arranging for assets and liabilities to be valued as at date of death
  • Identifying any gifts in the last 7 years which are disclosable to HM Revenue and Customs
  • Preparing the necessary paperwork to be able to apply for the Grant of Probate
  • Obtaining Grant of Representation
  • Settling Liabilities
  • Collecting funds ready for distribution
  • Selling or transferring property
  • Distributing funds (paying legacies or making an interim distribution)
  • Producing detailed Estate Accounts

Who will do the work?

Our team has a wealth of experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to Wills, Trusts and Probate.

We have seven lawyers in the team who may work on your matter assisted by dedicated support staff. Regardless of who your lawyer is, they will be supervised by Michelle Gavin who is a Partner and Head of Wills, Trusts & Probate.