Cost information – Probate

This section applies to an application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration which involves the collection and distribution of assets belonging to the person following their death.  The rules require that we give cost information where the personal assets are in the UK and matters are not contested but we can also help with some matters involving overseas elements and contested elements. 

Our probate team is made up of 3 solicitors, Simon Mumford, Sophie Endersby and Sue Senkbeil all very experienced solicitors in probate, trust and tax matters and please see their biography pages.  

Applying for the Grant, collecting and distributing assets

In a straight forward estate, we anticipate that this will take between 5 and 15 hours work.   Simon Mumford and Sophie Endersby are partners that deal with this work and their charge out rate is £320 per hour.  The total cost in a straight forward matter may therefore be between £1,600 and £4,800 plus VAT and any disbursements. 

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.  For example, if there is one beneficiary and no properties, costs will be at the lower end of the range.  If there are multiple beneficiaries, residential or commercial properties and multiple bank accounts, costs will are more likely to be at or above the higher end of the range.  The range is not intended to be a limit and please contact us and we can give you an estimate for any individual case.

Some clients like to deal with the administration themselves but may ask us just to obtain the grant of probate for them.  Depending on the assets involved and whether inheritance tax is payable or not the cost for this would be likely to be between £1250 and £1800 plus VAT.  Alternatively, we can offer ad hoc advice to clients on technical issues; for example, suggestions on how to minimise capital gains tax.  Ad hoc advice would be charged for on a time spent basis at the hourly rate of £320 plus VAT.

Disbursements

Disbursements are payments that we make to third parties and on a typical estate might include:-

  • Probate application fee of £150 plus £0.50 per copy.
  • Swearing of oath for executor - £5 to £7 plus £2 for each additional disbursement per person.
  • Bankruptcy searches £1 or £2 per beneficiary.
  • £250 - £300 for posting in the London Gazette and in the local newspaper to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.

Potential additional matters

  • If there is no Will or the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could vary significantly depending on the estate and how it is dealt with.   We can give you a more accurate estimate once we have information from you.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property following the death would not be included.

How long does it take?

The administration of an estate can take anywhere from 6 months to beyond a year; we are heavily reliant on reaction from the Inland Revenue although we would generally have the grant of probate within 4 months and have collected the assets in within a further 2 – 4 weeks, and once this has been done we can distribute the assets or sometimes interim distributions can be made before matters are finalised with the Inland Revenue.   Where the estate includes property then the time for distribution of the proceeds depends on the time it takes to find a buyer and sell the property.

Examples

  1. We acted on behalf of the administrators of Mr B.  Mr B left no will. We provided advice as to the distribution of the estate and entitlement to deal with the estate administration.  We dealt with the report to the Inland Revenue, obtaining the grant and dealing with all the assets and distribution between the 5 children.  The estate included a claim made by DWP in respect of overpaid state benefits.  The administration took approximately 11 hours of work charged at rate of £275 plus VAT.
  1. Mrs W.  We acted on behalf of the executors of Mrs W.  Her will left her entire estate to her husband.  We extracted the necessary information, obtained the grant of probate, cashed in the assets, dealt with the income tax return to date of death for Mrs W, dealt with the tax reporting affairs for the administration period and transferred the property to the surviving spouse.  The matter was charged for on a time spent basis and our charges were £2930 plus VAT amounting to just over 10 hours work.
  1. Mrs H.  Mrs H died leaving a will appointing Wilmots as executors but the estate to family.  Mrs H had an interest in a trust that was relevant for Inheritance tax purposes.  We dealt with collating the information to apply for the grant of probate, completing the complex set of Inland Revenue forms,  obtaining the grant, dealing with the interaction of the trust and the estate, analysing the capital gains tax position during the administration period and taking action to save the beneficiaries capital gains tax, dealing with Mrs H’s pre death tax affairs to include a complex capital gains tax report, reporting income tax and capital gains tax issue during the estate administration period, selling shares and obtaining clearance from HMRC for the estate and aggregable trust.  The matter is still on going and will take just over 27 hours to complete.  The matter is charged for on a time spent basis; no additional charge is incurred where we act as executors.