We offer different services according to our clients’ needs and wishes and budget requirements. Some clients wish to give us instructions limited to dealing with Inheritance Tax and obtaining the grant of probate or letters of administration only, some wish us to deal with the whole administration of the estate from start to finish and others want something in-between. Accordingly we endeavour to tailor our service and offer a price package which is suitable for each individual case.
The majority of the work will be carried out by partners and experienced Solicitors with hourly rates of £220/£250 + VAT depending on seniority.
This includes us reviewing the deceased’s paperwork, contacting all known asset companies to ascertain probate valuations, obtaining information in relation to any liabilities, preparing the Inheritance Tax form and arranging payment of tax where applicable, preparing the probate application and obtaining the grant of probate/administration, collecting in the various assets and arranging the sale of the property where applicable, paying any liabilities, paying legacies, dealing with income and capital gains taxes where applicable, reviewing the closing bank statement, preparing estate accounts, general correspondence with executors and beneficiaries, paying the beneficiaries and any associated matters.
This is generally charged as an hourly fee, depending on the number of hours spent on this matter together with a percentage of the estate. The percentages where GWCA are not executors are 1% of the gross estate (including aggregable assets, such as trusts) excluding the deceased’s property, and 0.5% of the value of the residence + VAT. Where GWCA are executors these increase to 1.5% and 0.75% respectively.
This does not include any Conveyancing charges, conveyancing will be referred to our specialist conveyancing department and they will provide a separate fee estimate. This also does not include any Litigation charges, if a case becomes contentious it will be referred to our Litigation department to resolve that element of the estate and they will provide a separate fee estimate.
The fees charged are subject to the ‘fair and reasonable’ rule which means that if circumstances dictate, they will be reduced. For example, if a deceased has £10 million in one bank account and nothing else then it may not be fair and reasonable to charge the full percentages and our fees would be reduced. Please speak to us for more information.
Inheritance Tax and Grant of Probate only
We will prepare the Inheritance Tax account from information provided by the executor and we will prepare the probate application and obtain the grant of probate or letters of administration. The executor is personally responsible for all other matters such ascertaining the assets and liabilities, collecting in the assets, dealing with any income and capital gains tax and paying the liabilities and beneficiaries.
We charge a fixed fee, the amount of which will be discussed at the outset and will depend on which Inheritance Tax account(s) are required, whether inheritance tax is payable and whether there are any other complexities in the accounts such as failed PET’s/CLT’s (lifetime gifts) or trust aggregation. Our fee range for the vast majority of cases is between £850 + VAT and £1,500 + VAT.
We will customise our service to the executor’s requirements which may be somewhere in-between the full service and the IHT/grant only service detailed above, or where a formal grant of probate is not needed but executors require advice or general assistance.
This will either be charged on an hourly basis or by a fixed fee to be agreed at the outset.
Probate court fees £155 plus 50p per office copy of the grant of probate
Bankruptcy searches £2 per deceased, per executor and per beneficiary payment
Land Registry title information £3-£6 (if there is a property)
Landmark missing asset search £162 (if required)
Statutory advertisements, usually in the region of £200 (if required)
Valuation fees, these vary depending on assets (if required)
It is difficult to give a precise timeframe for completion of this matter as we are dependent on information being provided by external sources such as banks, tax offices, the probate registry and other financial institutions.
For a very straightforward, non-taxable grant only matter we could have the grant of probate in as little as 4 weeks from us receiving full instructions and financial information. For a full service this will likely take longer as we are responsible for making various enquiries before the probate application can be submitted. Again, for a fairly straightforward non-taxable estate where we do not encounter any difficulties obtaining information from asset companies this is likely to be 2-3 months.
If we are instructed on a full service basis then once probate has been obtained it then takes further time for us to collect in the assets, deal with liabilities and sell any property and finalise tax matters. A typical estate takes 6-12 months to complete from start to finish but it may be quicker than this if the estate is small and straightforward, but it may take longer if there are difficulties in selling the property or other complexities such as further dealings with HMRC which may become necessary as the administration progresses (eg. if the property sells for significantly more than the probate value and we need to deal with Capital Gains Tax) or any claims against the estate which require the intervention of our Litigation department.
We will be able to give you a more accurate timeframe when the details of the estate are known, and we will provide you with further timeframe updates as the matter progresses.