Uncontested Probate Costs

Introduction

Probate is the court-supervised process of gathering a deceased person’s assets, paying debts and taxes and distributing what is left to those who are named as beneficiaries in the Will.

Uncontested probate is where there is no dispute over the Will and distribution of assets.

Below we provide you with information on our Legal Fees, disbursements and the length of time it will take to complete your matter.

Legal Fees and Disbursements

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Legal Fees are the amount you will be required to pay for all of the work performed by us in actioning your instructions, from the commencement of your case to conclusion.

We have two different types of service.

1. Grant Only – Fixed Fee

We charge a fixed fee of £1,000 plus VAT (£1,200 incl. VAT) for applying for the Grant of Representation only where we do not need to complete any Inheritance Tax forms and £1,500 plus VAT (£1,800 incl. VAT) where Inheritance Tax forms are required.

The Personal Representative will be required to obtain probate statements for any bank accounts, valuations of any property and details of any liabilities. If Inheritance Tax forms are required, we will prepare these and the probate application based on the information provided by you.

Our instructions will cease upon receiving the Grant.

2. Full Administration of an estate – Hourly rate

This covers all stages of the administration of an Estate from writing to the asset holders to obtain valuations, to obtaining Grant, to preparing the Estate Accounts and distributing the Estate.

Our fees for a straightforward estate will be charged on an hourly rate and this usually amounts to a charge between 1.75% and 3% of the gross value of the estate. The hourly rates for our fee earners are listed below

For more complex estates, the worked involved will take longer and is usually more complicated.  Therefore, to reflect the greater responsibilities, we charge a value element in addition to our hourly rate.  The value element being 1% of the gross value of the estate (less the value of the deceased’s property) and 0.5% of the value of the deceased’s property. You will be advised if a value element will be applicable to your matter at the earliest opportunity.

A more complex estate is usually one where:-

  • The partner of the firm acts as a personal representative
  • There is a foreign element such as a property located outside England and Wales
  • A large portfolio of shares
  • There are claims made against the estate or disputes between the beneficiaries
  • A trust is involved

The exact fees will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.

If at any stage our fees change, we will notify you and discuss the reason for any changes. This will typically occur if you change your instructions or your case involves an unforeseen complexity.

Our average fees assume that:

  1. your transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complications arise
  2. all parties to the transaction are cooperative and there is no unreasonable delay from any party providing documentation.

Disbursements and Other Costs

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

You will be provided with a full list of the disbursements in your case in our estimate of costs. If we need to incur any further disbursements during your case, you will be notified in advance of the reason and the amount.

Typical disbursements will include: – 

  • Probate application fee of £273 with £1.50 per office copy of the grant
  • Office copy entres from the Land Registry (£3 per office copy)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
  • International Bankruptcy searches: quotes obtained of necessary
  • Online ID verification checks on Personal Representatives and beneficiaries who are in receipt of legacies of more than £5,000
  • Placing Section 27 Trustee Act Notice in The London Gazette and newspaper close to where the deceased lived – Protects Personal Representatives against unexpected claims from unknown creditors and unexpected claims. From £250 to £300 plus VAT (£300 to £360 incl. VAT)

How long will this take? 

The exact timings depend upon the complexity of the estate.

However, from the date of instruction, we would usually estimate it would take:-

  • 2 to 3 months to collate information and prepare Inheritance Tax forms and legal statements for approval and signature
  • 4 to 6 months to obtain the Grant
  • 12 to 14 months to administer the estate, possibly longer where there is a property to sell

Please note that the above timings depend upon how quickly third parties provide information and/or carry out their duties.  Third parties such as financial institutions, HMRC, and Probate Registry.  At present, the Probate Registry is taking approximately 8 weeks to issue Grants.

Once the Grant/ Letters of Administration have been obtained the following steps take place:-

  1. Registering the Grant/ Letters with all asset holders and collecting the assets;
  2. Dealing with the payment of legacies or interim distributions to residuary beneficiaries;
  3. Preparing the estate accounts and final distribution.
  4. The costs of the sale of the deceased’s property are not included in our fees but we aim to offer a discounted rate for any probate sales.

Stages of the Process 

The precise stages involved in uncontested probate vary according to the circumstances. We have set out the key stages of a standard transaction: –

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter.
  • Identify the legally appointed executors/administrators and beneficiaries.
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require.
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application.
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Draft a legal statement for you.
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf.
  • Obtain the Grant and securely send copies to you.
  • Collect and distribute all the assets in the estate.

Potential additional costs 

  • If there is no Will or the Estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds), there are 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 estimate once we have more information.
  • In order to value some assets, specialist valuations may be required in which case a fee would be payable to the valuer.
  • If any additional copies of the Grant are required, they will cost £1.50 each (1 per asset usually).
  • If the Will creates a Trust, there may be additional costs associated with the setting up and registration of the Trust.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the Estate is not included. Please see our conveyancing fees or contact us for further information
  • For dealing with the assent of a property – £350 plus VAT (£420 incl. VAT)
  • For preparing a Deed of Variation of a Will or intestacy (if required) – £350 plus VAT (£350 incl. VAT)

We will add VAT to the charge at the rate that applies when the work is done. At present VAT is 20%. We will charge the sum of £40 + VAT (a total of £48.00 incl. VAT) for Electronic money transfers.

Fee earners and their hourly rates

The following fee earners handle Uncontested Probate matters:

Geoffrey Cohen – £280 per hour: is a qualified Solicitor. He practised as an attorney in South Africa for 25 years before re-qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2002. Geoffrey specialises in the administration of estates, trusts and the preparation of wills and lasting powers of attorney.

Tina Chan –  £280 per hour: is a Solicitor and Trust and Estate Practitioner.  Tina qualified in 2002.  She trained as a litigator and then moved to commercial and residential property work before specializing in private client work.  As a result, she has a broad working knowledge of these areas when advising clients.

Questions

If you have any questions relating to our services and our fees, please contact us on 020 8852 4433 or email us at privateclient@beverleymorris.co.uk.