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. If the estate is very substantial, we will give a quote on that basis.
Our fees on estates vary hugely, depending on what is required. We offer an hourly charging rate where you will be charged for each hour of work undertaken and we do not charge a percentage of the estate which many firms of solicitors do. Information on our hourly rate can be found on our fees page.
We usually take our fees from the estate so there are no up-front costs to the executors. We will ask for disbursements to be paid, prior to the firm making the payments.
Often a telephone conversation before the initial meeting can help us establish a much more accurate fee quote.We will not charge you for that call. However, the following gives very approximate guidance on our fees.
Legal fees will range between £1,000 and £6,000 + VAT and disbursements (see below) for simple estates. If you require a “Grant only” application they may be at the lower end. Simple estates are ones where:
• there is no more than one property in the sole name of the deceased
• there are no more than three bank accounts
• there are no debts (other than utility bills)
• there is a valid will appointing executors
• there is a single beneficiary, or few beneficiaries
• all assets are in England and Wales
• there are no complications and nothing is in dispute
These are estates which have complexities in addition. So, it might be that the estate is taxable and inheritance tax account is required to satisfy HMRC’s requirements. There may be numerous assets which often include shareholdings. There may many beneficiaries, or beneficiaries might need to be located. Our fees typically range from £6,000 to £12,000 + VAT for estates like this.
These might be estates where the estate is worth over £1m, where there are numerous assets, offshore assets or beneficiaries who live abroad. The will may contain trusts that need setting up or administering. A deed of variation or multiple deeds of variation might be required to reduce the tax liability of beneficiaries, or to pass down inheritance to the next generation. There may be a large number of personal possessions to distribute or multiple properties to sell.
The following factors are also likely to increase the cost of your matter:
• minor beneficiaries
• not having all of the paperwork available, or having missing or incorrect information that needs investigation and correction
• third parties not responding to our communications promptly
• valuations of property
• dealing with unusual or complex assets or items (for example overseas property, shares in private companies etc)
• business property relief or agricultural property relief
• complex tax advice
• disagreements or arguments between beneficiaries or family members
In these cases, our fees are likely to be higher than those stated for Straightforward estates but we can only really give estimates for these on a case by case basis so please get in touch.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable by us to third parties. Typical examples are as follows:
- Commissioner’s Fee – the charge of swearing the personal representatives Oath is currently £5. With an additional cost of £2 per Will/Codicil.
- Probate Registry Fee – for issuing the Grant. This is currently a flat fee of £155.00.
- Additional Court copies of the Grant document – this will depend on the number required but the charge is presently £0.50 per copy.
- Valuers’ Fees – if assets need to be valued, say a house. A surveyors report needs to be carried out. Varies principally on the cost of the asset.
- Accountant’s fees for completing tax returns to the date of death and during administration, estimated £400-£500.
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary but more if the beneficiary lives overseas.)
- £100.00 Post in The London Gazette – in order to place potential creditors on notice.
- £70.00 Post in a Local Newspaper – as above
If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
If there is a property to clear/empty, this can add significant costs
On average, a taxable estate can take up to 5 months to obtain the grant of probate.
HMRC have to preliminarily approve the account sent to them, this approval can take up to 3 months. Once they have preliminary approved the account, the estate is then free to apply for the grant of probate.
HMRC will then take a closer look at the account and will then issue a clearance certificate when satisfied all assets have been accounted for correctly.
Interim distributions to beneficiaries can be made where there are available funds.
It is not until the estate receives a clearance certificate that final distributions can be made. This can take anything from 6 months to 2 years.