Probate and Administration costs and charges

Each Estate we deal with is different and the exact cost involved will depend upon the individual circumstances, 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.

When meeting with family or executors after a death, the instructions and information we obtain allow us to provide you with an estimate of the time and costs of correspondence, document production for HM Revenue & Customs and the Probate Registry and other matters.

In addition to the differing complexity of estates, you as clients will have differing requirements which we approach as flexibly as possible. Sometimes we are asked to deal with the application for Grant of probate only; sometimes we are asked to provide a comprehensive management of the process of securing assets and maintenance of property.

Dealing with Probate and the administration of an Estate is a process with several stages. In addition to the differing complexity of estates, you as clients will have differing requirements which we approach as flexibly as possible. For general information about what is involved in the probate process – see here. You can opt to instruct us to deal with particular parts of the process, such as only doing what is required to obtain the Grant of Probate, or to deal with the whole process, including collecting the assets of the Estate and distributing the Estate to the beneficiaries after the Grant has been obtained, securing assets and maintenance of property. The information provided is for guidance only and we always provide a more detailed and specific estimate of fees and disbursements if you instruct us.

Commonly our role will be to deal with the following:

  • Identify the legally appointed executors and administrators and beneficiaries and the type of Probate application required
  • Obtain details of the assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Preparing the relevant Inland Revenue forms and Oath form
  • Making the application to the Probate Registry
  • Where necessary arranging for the Probate Fee and/or Inheritance Tax to be paid or contributed to from the assets of the Estate
  • Obtaining the Grant
  • Discharging payment of the estate liabilities
  • Providing you with an Estate Account detailing all the assets and liabilities and how the Estate is to be shared
  • Distributing the estate

Example 1

Where someone has died with a will leaving their estate to their spouse, who is also the executor. There was a jointly owned residence and a small number of bank accounts, the deceased did not file self assessment income tax returns and did not hold company shares, and there is no need to complete a HMRC Inheritance tax return. Average fees £1,750- £2,250 plus VAT.

Example 2

The deceased died with a Will leaving their estate to their children, with some fixed cash legacies to other members of the family and/or charities. they left a property, a number of accounts and shares with an investment manager. The estate must submit a HMRC Inheritance Tax return but no tax is payable. the final income tax return is dealt with by the deceased’s own accountant. Average fees £2500-£5,000 plus VAT.

No case will of course be exactly as above. Where estates are complex or are taxable, we may include a value element in our charges. the combined fee will be reasonable taking into account all the relevant circumstances and will be agreed with you as the client.

If we are appointed as Executors of a Will, our terms will vary, will include a value element,  and will be made clear to the beneficiaries.

In addition to our own fees, there are disbursements which are incurred. Disbursements are costs related to your matter which we pay to third parties, such as fees paid the Probate Registry, in order to progress your matter. These include:

  • Commissioners fees to swear the Oath – typically £7 per Executor
  • Probate Registry  Grant application. This fee to the Probate Registry has to be paid in advance to obtain the Grant and is currently £155 plus £0.50 for every sealed office copy of the Grant required.
  • Land Registry fees where a transfer of property to the beneficiary is required
  • Share Registrars charge fees in certain situations e.g. missing Share Certificates
  • Recorded postage and bank transfer charges
  • A Statutory Notice may be placed in a legal and/or local newspaper to identify any creditors before the estate is distributed to beneficiaries.
  • Bankruptcy searches

On average, estate such as those in Examples 1 and 2 are on average dealt with within 4-6 months. Typically probate can be obtained 12-16 weeks after instruction. Collecting assets follows, which can take 3-6 weeks, and assets are then distributed to beneficiaries.

Estate management can take much longer, especially if assets are more complex or there is missing documentation. the question of Inheritance Tax can also take time to settle. Where there is a property to be sold, the estate cannot be finalised until this has happened, and any final utility payments or refunds have been made.

If the Estate is liable for any taxes, such as Inheritance Tax or Income Tax, such taxes are not included in our prices and are paid as a liability of the Estate. The costs of conveyancing work in selling a property owned by the deceased person are not included.

If you are unsure of how we might charge for dealing with a particular estate do please contact us for further information.