Probate Pricing Information

Probate Pricing Information

Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets.

We generally do not deal with straightforward estates. However, as a guide, we have provided examples of our likely costs for a very simple estate where inheritance tax is not payable (Example 1 below), and a slightly more complex estate where a charge to inheritance tax arises (Example 2 below). We have also outlined disbursements typically incurred during a probate, which are in addition to our charges for legal advice, as well as factors which may make the administration of an estate more complex.

Our charges are based on the time it takes to administer an estate for you. We do not charge an additional 'value element' based on the value of the estate involved. Day-to-day work will usually be managed by an associate with a partner overseeing the administration as a whole. Rates ranging from £280 (for a junior associate) to £690 (for a senior partner) per hour plus VAT.
Our estimated fees for each example are shown below, but the exact figure will depend on the circumstances.

Example 1: Fees range between £15,000 and £25,000 (+ VAT and disbursements)

This estimate is for estates where:

  • The deceased was UK domiciled.
  • There is a valid will.
  • All the assets are in the UK.
  • There is no more than one property or one share in a property which is registered at HM Land Registry. (This does not include the costs of sale).
  • There are no more than four bank or building society accounts.
  • There is no more than one portfolio of shares managed by a single investment manager.
  • There are no other intangible assets.
  • Valuations of assets and liabilities are straightforward.
  • There are up to five cash legacies given outright to beneficiaries (no trusts apply).
  • There are up to three residuary beneficiaries (no trusts apply).
  • Beneficiaries have all been identified and traced.
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC.
  • There are no lifetime gifts which were made by the deceased which are reportable to HMRC.
  • There are no claims made against the estate.
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets or other disputes involving either executors or beneficiaries. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.

Our costs for dealing with the above estate are likely to range between £15,000 and £25,000 + VAT and disbursements. The time required to complete the administration would usually be between 20 and 45 hours.

Example 2: Fees range between £25,000 and £60,000 (+ VAT and disbursements)

This estimate is for estates where:

  • The deceased was UK domiciled.
  • There is a valid will.
  • All the assets are in the UK, or up to two non-UK assets for which the valuation figures (including conversion into GBP) are readily available.
  • There are no more than two property interests which are registered at HM Land Registry. (This does not include any costs of sale or transfer).
  • There are no more than eight bank or building society accounts.
  • There are no more than two portfolios of shares managed by not more than two investment managers.
  • There are no other intangible assets.
  • Valuation of assets and liabilities are straightforward.
  • There are up to ten cash legacies given outright to beneficiaries (no trusts apply).
  • There are up to five residuary beneficiaries.
  • Beneficiaries have all been identified and traced.
  • Executors need to submit a full inheritance tax return to HMRC.
  • There is inheritance tax payable and reliefs may be claimed. Any negotiations over valuations with HMRC are resolved swiftly and do not become protracted.
  • There are lifetime gifts made by the deceased and these are straightforward to report to HMRC.
  • There are no claims made against the estate.
  • There are no disputes involving either beneficiaries or executors.

Our costs for dealing with the above estate are likely to range between £25,000 and £60,000 + VAT and disbursements. The time required to complete the administration would usually be between 45 and 100 hours.

Disbursements excluded from the estimates above:

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.

  • Probate application fee (as at 1 September 2021, £155)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary, per distribution)
  • Post in The London Gazette and in a local newspaper – protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors (approximately £300)
  • Financial asset search (approximately £300, if required)
  • Official copies of the Land Registry Title to any property (£3 per copy title and £3 per copy of the plan, if required)
  • Probate valuations for property, chattels (personal possessions) and shareholdings (as required, with cost varying depending on the asset involved)
  • Dealing with income and capital gains tax reporting for the estate, including filing pre-death and administration period tax returns, where relevant.

All figures given above are before VAT.

Potential additional costs

  • The deceased was not UK domiciled or was deemed UK domiciled, this will usually require investigation and careful reporting.
  • Estates where the deceased had assets or liabilities in multiple jurisdictions.
  • The deceased held business interests or agricultural property.
  • Dealing with an intestate estate (where the deceased did not leave a Will).
  • If the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) that are not managed by an investment manager there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be administered. We can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information.
  • If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50 (one copy per asset usually).
  • Costs incurred in dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate are not included.
  • Inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax, if relevant, will be additional costs for the estate to settle.
  • Although we shall advise on inheritance tax issues, any additional tax advice (for example, income tax and capital gains tax) will be provided only where specifically agreed.
  • If the deceased held assets in multiple names, this may give rise to additional costs.
  • If the deceased was entitled to benefit from trusts during their lifetime or was entitled to an inheritance from an estate which had not yet made a distribution, this will usually lead to increased costs.
  • If beneficiaries wish to vary their entitlement to the estate, this will be charged separately.

How long will this take?

It is difficult to estimate accurately how long the probate and estate administration process will take to complete, as we are dependent on third parties (notably HMRC and the Probate Registry) at crucial stages of the matter.

For a straightforward estate where there is no need to complete a full inheritance tax account, we would usually expect an average estate administration to take between 8-12 months.

For a simple matter, such as Example 1 above, we would hope to collate all necessary information within 2 – 3 months and would then submit the probate application. The grant can take 8-12 weeks to be issued by the probate registry (on September 2021 timings). Collection and/or transfer of assets can then take a further 2 to 4 months. After this, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes a further 2 to 4 months.

The timeframe for a taxable matter can be longer, as there are additional steps which need to be accommodated. For example, the grant application process is made in two separate steps: first, the payment of inheritance tax must be arranged and the inheritance tax return filed; then we must wait 20 working days before the second step can be taken, to lodge the grant application itself with the probate registry.

Dealing with a relatively straightforward taxable estate will usually take between 12 - 24 months, but more complex estates (for example, those which may involve protracted negotiations with HMRC or involve multiple trust structures) can take a number of years to resolve.


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