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 commencement of your case to conclusion.

We have three different types of service.

Grant Only – Fixed Fee

  • We charge a fixed fee of £850.00 plus VAT (£1,020 incl. VAT) for dealing with inheritance tax (form IHT205) and application for the Grant of Probate. We will prepare the necessary Inheritance Tax documents and Probate application form based on the information provided. The Personal Representative will be required to obtain probate statements for any bank accounts, valuations of any property and details of any liabilities.
  • A return will have to be made to HM Revenue and Customs even though no inheritance tax may be payable. There are different forms depending on the circumstances of the Estate. Our basic charges for the preparation of inheritance tax forms are:
Return of estate information plus claim to transfer unused nil rate band in forms IHT205 and IHT217£1,050 plus VAT (£1,260 incl. VAT)
Inheritance tax account in form IHT400 where there is no tax to pay£1,125 plus VAT (£1,350 incl. VAT)
Inheritance tax account in form IHT400 where there is tax to payFrom £1,250 plus VAT (£1,500 incl. VAT)

Full Probate – Percentage

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.

  • We charge between 1.25% and 2% of the gross value of the estate.  Our fee is based upon the complexity of the matter including the number and types of assets, whether there is any inheritance to pay and the number of beneficiaries.
  • For example, for an estate worth £750,000 made up of a property worth £500,000 and bank account savings of £250,000 would likely work out to be £9,375 plus VAT (£11,250 incl. VAT)

This sample estimate is based on the following:

  • there is a Will or beneficiaries who are easily ascertainable under the intestacy rules;
  • there are no more than 5 beneficiaries;
  • there are no claims against the Estate or likely disputes between all parties;
  • there is no more than one property and there are no more than five different bank accounts; and
  • all assets and beneficiaries are situated in the UK.

Full Probate – Fixed Fee (for small estates up to £125,000)

  • We charge a fixed fee of £1,250.00 plus VAT (£1,500 incl. VAT) for dealing with inheritance tax and application for the Grant of Probate for smaller estates with a gross value of less than £125,000.

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.

We will handle the full process for you.

Our standard fee estimate above is for Estates where: –

  • there is a valid will;
  • there is no more than one property;
  • there are no other intangible assets;
  • there are 1 – 5 beneficiaries;
  • there are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of asset – 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 account to HMRC;
  • there are no claims made against the estate;
  • there is no tax clearance awaited for either inheritance tax or income tax.

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 co-operative 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 *£155 with £1.50 per office copy of the grant
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
  • Placing Section 27 Trustee Act Notice in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. From £100+VAT (£120.00 incl. VAT)
  • Newspaper close to where the deceased lived – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims. From £150 – £200+VAT (£180.00 – £240 incl. VAT)

*This fee is £215 if the probate application is made by an individual

How long will this take?

Steps 1-5 of administering an estate usually take 3 to 4 months but, again, this depends upon the complexity of the Estate.  Once the Grant/ Letters of Administration has been obtained the following steps take place:-

  1. Registering the Grant/ Letters with all asset holders and collecting in 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.

The total time taken to fully administer an estate will vary but we advise up to 12 months, possibly longer where there is a property to sell.

Stages of the Process

The precise stages involved in an 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 oath for you to swear.
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf.
  • Obtain the Probate and securely send two 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 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 – £250 plus VAT (£300 incl. VAT)
  • For preparing a Deed of Variation of a Will or intestacy (if required) – £250 plus VAT (£300 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

The following fee earners handle Uncontested Probate matters:

Geoffrey Cohen – is a qualified Solicitor and Head of our Private Client department. 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.

Leanne Bloomfield – is a Solicitor in of our private client team having previously worked in our Residential Conveyancing Department. Leanne qualified as a solicitor in 2014. She has also volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Questions

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