At Corfield Solicitors we provide a variety of different pricing options in respect of our probate work depending on the level of involvement in the administration you wish to instruct us to undertake.
Fixed Fee Probate Application
If you are looking to do most of the administrative work yourself and wish for us just to apply for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration then we offer two fixed fees for this work:
1. If the estate is not subject to Inheritance Tax then our fixed fee is £1,500 plus VAT; or,
2. If the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax then our fixed fee is £2,500 plus VAT.
Whether or not an estate is subject to Inheritance Tax can likely be ascertained by a short discussion with one of our solicitors who can discuss the anticipated assets and liabilities of the estate and any Inheritance Tax exemptions or reliefs that may apply. This discussion is included in the relevant fixed fee.
In either case there will be an additional Probate Court fee payable to the relevant Probate Registry when we make the application for the Grant. At present the Probate Court charge a fee of £155.
When we act solely in the application for Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration as detailed above you must ensure that you have accurately carried out the administration in the build up to instructing us to act for you. Once instructed we will apply for the Grant and once the Grant is issued our retainer shall come to an end unless you wish to further instruct us to assist you.
Timescales for Fixed Fee Probate Application
In an estate that is not subject to Inheritance Tax that approximate timescale is usually between 2 to 3 months.
In an estate that is subject to Inheritance Tax the timescales are a little longer, usually between 3-5 months as there is additional work such as calculating Inheritance Tax payable, claiming tax reliefs and paying Inheritance Tax.
The Probate Registry shall usually take 4-6 weeks to issue the Grant (although this estimate may fluctuate depending on the volume of applications that the Registry is processing).
The solicitor acting in your matter will be able to give you updates as to the progression and timescales of the matter.
Full Administration of an Estate
Sometimes Executors wish to instruct us to undertake the full administration of the estate, just wishing to provide us with all relevant documentation for us to prepare the paperwork in the lead up to submitting the application for Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration. After the Grant has been applied for and obtained then we also deal with the work required to finalise the estate and administer the distribution of legacies in accordance with the Will.
Full administration (as above) is carried out at our hourly rate of £195 plus VAT and the amount of time required will depend on the nature of the assets involved in the estate. As a guide, however, we have two base estimates for a straightforward estate that can be tailored to the specific estate that you are administering:
1. If the estate is not subject to Inheritance Tax the estimate is 10-15 hours’ work; or,
2. If the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax the estimate is 15-20 hours’ work.
Some estates may not be straightforward. For example, when there is a large number of investments, a property portfolio or any disputes against the estate and these can mean that our estimate may therefore be higher that the ranges above depending on the complexity of the estate and in turn the amount of time required to complete matters.
We suggest that you arrange an initial meeting with one of our solicitors so that we can ascertain the size and nature of the estate and provide you with a clearer estimate.
We may start a full administration of an estate based on one set of facts and over the course of the administration issues come to light that were unexpected and not known when we took the initial instruction, for example, a claim against the estate. In this case, we will be able to give you a revised estimate and will not carry out this additional work until we have your approval to the increase in fees.
Unlike many other firms, we never charge a percentage of the estate value on top of our hourly rate when dealing with probate matters.
Full Administration Timescales
We estimate that the average matter will take approximately 6 to 12 months to complete depending on the complexity of the estate. Some estates may exceed these timescales in cases where, for example, there is a claim against the estate.
When acting in a Probate we expect to incur disbursements (payments to third parties) which are added to your bill in addition to our legal fees. Examples of disbursements that you could expect to incur would be:
1. Probate Registry fees for the application for a Grant of Probate/Letter of Administration of £155
2. Oath swearing fee for each Executor of £7
3. Land registry Fees to obtain title copies if there is a property involved of £3-18
4. Professional Valuer’s fees for valuations of chattels, property, business, shares etc
5. Statutory notices (advertisements published in the London Gazette and a local paper giving notice of the personal representatives' intention to distribute the estate) of £150 - £250
6. Bankruptcy fees of £2 per beneficiary
7. Bank Charges per transfer of £1-15 (e.g. in the payment of beneficiary legacies).
When we undertake a full administration or if we are acting as executor of an estate we will also act in the sale of any property which forms part of the estate. More details can be found under our Residential Conveyancing section of our website or you can feel free to contact us to discuss.