Wills and Probate

In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.

Benjamin Franklin

Probate Price List

We offer a Fixed Fee Service for obtaining the Grant of Probate on ‘excepted’ (smaller) estates:

Fixed Fee: £750 plus VAT

The Probate Registry will also charge a Court Fee of £155, although their fees will change in April 2019.

This fee will be appropriate if:

  • you are the executor or administrator of an estate that does not need a full inheritance tax return on Form IHT400 (i.e. where no inheritance tax is due and there are no other complicating factors); and
  • you just want us to apply for the Grant of Representation on your behalf; and
  • you will then deal with the administration of the estate yourself (e.g. you will close the bank accounts, sell or transfer any shares, sell or transfer any house or flat and pay all funeral expenses, debts, liabilities and legacies).

This fee will include the following work:

  • Completing the HMRC Form IHT205 Return of Estate Information based on information supplied by you
  • Completing an HMRC Form 217 Claim to transfer unused nil rate band where the person who has died was predeceased by a spouse or civil partner who did not use up any of the inheritance tax “nil rate band” available to them
  • Preparing the executors’ Statement of Truth
  • Attending you to explain the documents and arranging for you to sign them.
  • Submitting the application for the Grant of Representation to the Court
  • Obtaining the Grant on your behalf and supplying you with Court sealed copies for your use

Helping Personal Representatives on an advice and assistance basis:

Hourly Rate: £220 plus VAT

This ‘hourly rate’ service will be appropriate if you prefer to undertake much of the work in administering an estate yourself but there are elements with which you would like advice and assistance.

We will be happy to assist you in dealing with some of the more technical tasks involved in the administration of the estate.  We offer packages of work and advice that can be tailored to your requirements.  For example, we can undertake all or just a selection of any of the following work for you:

  • Obtaining the Grant for you
  • Preparing the HMRC Account Form IHT400, calculating inheritance tax and dealing with ongoing negotiations with HMRC Inheritance Tax on your behalf
  • Transferring ownership of land and property to beneficiaries
  • Arranging the sale or transfer of shares and stockmarket investments
  • Preparing Deeds of Variation of a Will and advising on the tax and practical implications
  • Setting up any trusts in the Will and dealing with any requisite documentation
  • Advising on income tax and capital gains tax in the course of the administration of the estate

For many of these tasks we will be happy to quote you a fixed fee. We also offer an advice facility that you can take up as and when you want.

Full Estate Administration Service for ‘straightforward’ estates:

Hourly Rate: £220 plus VAT with a fee ceiling agreed at the outset

This ‘hourly rate’ service will involve handling the full process for you, to include applying for the Grant, collecting in assets and making distributions to beneficiaries.

For relatively straightforward estates, we anticipate this process will take between 10 and 25 hours work at £220 per hour.  Total costs are therefore estimated at between £2,200 plus VAT (£2,640) and £5,500 plus VAT (£6,600).

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 this range.  If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property, and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

At the outset of the matter we will provide an estimate of costs based upon how much work is likely to be involved in completing the administration of the estate.

Please note:

  • That this estimate will be a ceiling on your fees
  • If the work involved turns out to be less than the fee ceiling, then that lesser amount is all you will pay for.
  • If the work involved is more than anticipated, then we will stop charging when our fees reach the amount of the fee ceiling.
  • We will never charge you more than the amount of the fee ceiling.

We class a straightforward estate as being one where:

  • There is a valid Will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no shareholdings (stocks and bonds)
  • There are no intangible assets (e.g, intellectual property such as copyrights, patents, trademarks and royalties or business goodwill)
  • The estate does not include a business or a share in a business
  • There are between 1 and 5 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets.  If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full Inheritance Tax Account (Form IHT400) to HMRC
  • There are no claims made against the estate

Potential additional costs:

If the estate does not qualify as a ‘straightforward’ estate there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending upon the estate in question. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.

Dealing with the sale of any property in the estate is not included. We will give you a separate quote for the conveyancing costs of dealing with the sale.

Disbursements included in this fee:

  • Probate application fee of £155 (plus a fee of £0.50 for each requested sealed copy of the Grant
  • Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department Searches (£2 per beneficiary)
  • Statutory Advertisements in the London Gazette and a Local Newspaper (around £200) to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors and unexpected claims

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.

What is included in our fee?

As part of our fee we will:

  • Identify the type of Probate application you will require
  • Ascertain the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • Obtain the relevant information required to make the application for the Grant of Probate
  • Complete the Probate application and the relevant HMRC Forms
  • Draft a Statement of Truth for you to sign
  • Obtain the Grant of Probate
  • Collect in all assets of the estate
  • Pay all debts, liabilities and administration expenses
  • Review the estate’s Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax position and report appropriately to HMRC
  • Pay any legacies
  • Prepare Estate Accounts for approval
  • Make distributions to the Residuary Beneficiaries

How long will this take?

On average estates that fall within this range are dealt within 3 to 6 months. Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes 4 to 8 weeks.  Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 2 to 6 weeks. Once this has been done, we can finalise the estate’s income tax and capital gains tax affairs, prepare estate accounts for approval and distribute the assets, which normally takes a further 4 to 6 weeks.

Making a Will

More information to come…please check back soon

Inheritance Tax planning

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Planning for Care Fees in your Will

More information to come…please check back soon

Administration of Estates after death

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Inheritance disputes

More information to come…please check back soon