Unless stated otherwise VAT is charged at 20 per cent of the fee. For example if the fee is £100, the VAT is £20 and the total is £120.
Prices start at £225 + VAT for a single Will and £395 + VAT for a pair of mirror Wills. More complex wills or those involving trusts will cost extra. A will including a trust will normally be from £450 + VAT for one and £650 + VAT for a mirror pair.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Single LPA (Finances OR Health) = £400 + VAT + £82 OPG registration fees Two LPAs (Finances AND Health) = £550 + VAT + £164 OPG registration fees Four LPAs (Finances AND Health for two related people, e.g. married couple) = £900 + VAT + £328 OPG registration fees
Probate & Estate Administration: Our fees
Before formally beginning work on your matter, we will consult with you to ascertain your exact requirements and then confirm these in writing stating our fees for undertaking the work involved based upon the specific circumstances of the deceased’s estate.
In most cases our fees will be calculated on a "fixed fee" basis for the work we agreed to undertake.
In some cases this is not possible and we will then charge on our "hourly charging basis" (i.e. the time spent). Fees cover all work done, including, for example, time spent on meetings with you and others; preparing documents; preparing advice; reading and preparing letters, emails and faxes; telephone calls made and received; travel and any other activity necessary to progress matters.
We will calculate how much time we anticipate will be spent on working on the matter in accordance with your instructions to us. We will take into account the work that will be required in the context of the complexity of the estate and provide a fixed fee. This will be based on the number or hours work we anticipate will be required for that aspect of the work and calculated in accordance with our hourly rate set out below.
A fixed fee is the sum you will pay unless any circumstances arise which we were unaware of when the price was fixed. In those circumstances, or where the matter does not proceed for any reason, we will charge on the hourly charging basis (i.e. the time recorded on the matter).
If your instructions subsequently extend beyond the scope of the work initially agreed, we will either revise the fixed fee or charge for the additional work on our hourly charging basis (see below).
Hourly charging basis
Our fees will be charged based on the time spent working on the matter. This is calculated at our hourly rates, as set out below, multiplied by the number of whole or part hours spent. Work is recorded in units of 6 minutes.
Given the complexities of some estate administration matters, we cannot always know in advance the extent of the work required. However, we will give you the best information possible about the likely cost at the beginning of the matter and at intervals while the matter proceeds.
In calculating our fees on either the "fixed fee" or "hourly charging basis", we will do so by reference to our hourly rates. Our current rate is £200 per hour plus VAT (November 2018, revised March 2020). All probate work is undertaken by, or under the direct supervision of, one of the two directors/partners in the firm. All partners are qualified solicitors and full STEP members (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners). Richard Arney is also a Notary Public. More detail about a partner's experience can be found in their individual profiles see OUR TEAM.
Postages ID checks, special delivery & sundries
We will make a charge to cover postage costs (including special delivery fees), electronic ID checks, photocopying & administrative costs which will be between £25 plus VAT and £200 plus VAT depending on the amount of paperwork involved.
Where we are instructed in a particularly complex estate, in addition to the time charge set out above, we may also charge a value element calculated as 0.25% of the value of the deceased’s real property and 0.50% of the value of the remainder of the estate, exclusive of VAT. The Law Society’s guidelines allow us to charge more than this but we do not. We will advise you at the outset if the value element charge will apply to your matter.
We do not charge a separate or additional fee if the firm are appointed as executors under a Will or as trustees of any trust. However, if this involves additional work as a result, such will be charged at our hourly rate or included in the calculation of our fixed fee.
During the course of acting on your behalf in the administration of an estate, we are likely to incur "out of pocket" expenses. These are payable in addition to our fees and typical examples include:-
- HMCTS probate registry fee: £155 (plus £1.50 for each sealed copy of the Grant)
- Land Registry Office Copy Entries: £3 each
- Bankruptcy searches: £2 each
- Will Search: from £38 + VAT to £199 + VAT
- Statutory advertisements: from £90 to £300 + VAT (depending on local paper charges)
All prices correct as at March 2020.
Third party charges
In addition, there may be supplementary fees payable to other third parties. Where such fees are likely to be incurred, we will advise you in advance. Examples include obtaining a formal valuation of property or other assets, selling shares and transferring legal title to property.
Our fees include the work required to transfer a property to a beneficiary or update the Land Registry to remove a deceased's name but do not include property sales. We do not undertake conveyancing and our fees exclude selling the house or other real estate.
Where the estate is subject to inheritance tax, this will also be payable to HMRC. We will advise on any inheritance tax liability arising and further information can be found at www.gov.uk.
Where you instruct us in your capacity as personal representatives of a deceased’s estate, you may wish us to assist in the full administration of the estate or in respect of specific elements only, for example, obtaining the grant only. The following are not quotations but designed to give you an indication of what our fixed fee is likely to be. Examples of our fees and complicating circumstances are set out below:-
"Grant only" Probate service
A "grant only" application is limited to us preparing the inheritance tax return and probate application based on the figures that you provide and obtaining the grant for you to carry on the administration yourself.
Fees will be higher if the estate does not qualify as an excepted estate as defined by HMRC. Click here for an explanation of what that entails. All taxable estates and estates that invlove claiming the residential nil-rate band are automatically excluded from the excepted estates procedure.
Subject to the variables below, examples of our fees for the Grant only are as follows:-
In an excepted estate which is not subject to inheritance tax and with no complications assuming it would take between 6 and 10 hours of work and falls within the excepted estate procedure our fees might be £1,200 and £2,000 plus VAT.
In a non-excepted estate which is not subject to inheritance tax but where a full tax return is required assuming it would take between 10 and 15 hours of work our fees might be between £2,000 and £3,000 plus VAT
In an estate that is subject to inheritance tax and more extensive disclosure requirements to HMRC it is likely that significantly more time will be spent and we would not envisage spending less than 20 hours on such a matter. Our fees would be a minimum of £4,000 plus VAT
The above would include completing the required inheritance tax account, submitting this to HMRC and preparing the necessary documentation for the application for the Grant of Probate.
Full administration of an estate
Where, in addition to completing the inheritance tax account and preparing the paperwork necessary to obtain the Grant of Probate, you also instruct us to assist with the administration of the estate, our fees will be calculated on the "normal charging basis".
For excepted estates passing wholly to spouse which are exempt from tax where, for example, the estate consists of a property, a few investments, a few bank accounts, some listed shareholdings and/or other ’uncomplicated’ assets, and a relatively small number of beneficiaries it is likely to take around 15 hours of work and our fixed fees might be in the region of £2,950 plus VAT
For non-excepted estates up to £1 million which are exempt from tax where, for example, the estate consists of a property, a few investments, a few bank accounts, some listed shareholdings and/or other ’uncomplicated’ assets, and a relatively small number of beneficiaries it is likely to take between 30 hours of work and our fixed fees might be in the region of £5,950 plus VAT
For a taxable estate valued up to £500,000 where, for example, the estate consists of a property, a few investments, a few bank accounts, some listed shareholdings and/or other ’uncomplicated’ assets, and a relatively small number of beneficiaries it is likely to take between 35 - 40 hours of work and our fixed fees might be in the region of £6,950 plus VAT
For a taxable estate valued up from £500,000 to £1 million where, for example, the estate is moe complex and it is likely to take between 40 - 50 hours of work and our fixed fees might be in the region of £8,950 plus VAT.
For a taxable estate valued from £1 million to £2 million our fixed fees might be in the region of £10,950 plus VAT.
For a taxable estate valued over £2 million our fixed fees might be in the region of £19,950 plus VAT but this would very much depend on the exact make up of the assets in the estate and how the estate is to be distributed
The above estimates are based on providing the services outlined below and are subject to the complexities of the estate, including those matters set out in the ’variables’ section, which we will discuss with you in the context of our fee estimate at the outset and as matters progress.
SERVICES INCLUDED IN OUR FEE
For a standard full probate application our work would typically include the following
- Probate and sufficient sealed copies
- Special delivery of Will and papers to Probate Registry
- Cost of commissioners fees for executors swearing original application for Probate
- Advising on the validity or otherwise of the Will
- Preparing the necessary documentation for the Grant of Probate / Letters of Representation
- Applying to the Probate Registry and obtaining the appropriate Grant of Representation
- Distributing the estate in accordance with the Will or Laws of Intestacy as appropriate
- Placing any required Statutory advertisements (excluding cost of ad itself) if requested
- Advice from a senior experienced solicitor throughout the transaction
- Claiming any relevant reliefs or exemptions applicable to the estate
- Calculating any Inheritance Tax owed
- Calculating and arranging for the transfer of any Nil Rate Band
- Completing either an IHT 205 or IHT 400 for Inheritance Tax
- Completing the Income Tax return for the period of administration
- Completing the Capital Gains Tax return, if required (rare)
- Correspondence with HM Revenue & Customs in relation to the above
- Taking any corrective action required by HM Revenue & Customs
- Making payment of any outstanding tax from the estate
- Identifying and corresponding with the Personal Representatives and beneficiaries of the estate throughout the estate administration
- Identifying and corresponding with all financial institutions and organisations relevant to the estate throughout the estate administration
- Identifying, verifying and valuing all assets based in England and Wales
- Gathering all the assets of the estate
- Transferring all jointly held assets into sole name, including property
- Paying any debts and liabilities from the estate
- Preparing the accounts of the estate for the beneficiaries
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
What is NOT usually included in the fixed price but available at extra cost if required
- Valuation and/or professional fees charged by third parties
- Cost of any statutory adverts required
- Cost of any Will searches
- Cost of completing any outstanding Income Tax returns
- Cost of dealing with any defects in the Will or chain of executorship
- Costs of any missing asset or missing beneficiary searches
- Cost of dealing with any disputed debts
- Conveyancing fees ,estate agents or other fees on the sale of house
- Additional work required because of a defective or missing Will
- Dealing with any dispute over the estate or validity of the Will or Inheritance Act claim
- Preparing a Deed of Variation or a Deed of Appointment (out of Will Trust) unless quote
- Preparing "Winding-up" of an unwanted Will trust or NRB trust unless quote
- Arranging a loan to pay Inheritance Tax due and any fees/interest payable thereon
- Handling foreign assets, heritage assets, business or agricultural assets
- Extra copy probates, swear fees, postal charges if required
The above examples provide an indication of the likely costs in the specific circumstances set out above and on the assumption that there are no complications. Our fees will be subject to a number of variables, including, for example:-
- Whether the deceased left a Will or died intestate;
- The ability to locate the executors and their ability/willingness to act;
- The estimated value and situs of the assets in the estate;
- The number of assets and complexity of the deceased’s affairs;
- The liabilities of the deceased;
- Whether the deceased had a relevant interest under any trusts;
- Whether the deceased left any business assets and the complexity of the deceased’s business affairs;
- Whether the deceased held any property or assets situated outside of England and Wales and the interaction of the English Will with any foreign jurisdiction Will;
- Whether the application for the Grant of Probate will be complex or contested;
- whether further investigation of a previous spouse's estate is required to establish current reliefs available;
- Whether there are any claims against the estate;
- The number of beneficiaries of the estate and any difficulties concerning locating or paying the entitlements to the beneficiaries (e.g. minors or incapacitated beneficiaries);
- whether any beneficiaries are charities (who generally require more information more regularly and have specific tax-related requirements);
- If there are any trusts established under the terms of the deceased’s Will or as a result of intestacy;
- The inheritance tax liability, if any, arising on the deceased’s estate;
- The extent of gifts made by the deceased during their lifetime;
- The extent of available reliefs, exemptions and allowances available for inheritance tax purposes (e.g. Residential relief, business relief, agricultural property relief);
- Whether any enquiries are raised by HMRC in relation to the inheritance tax account;
- The need to submit a self-assessment return to finalise the deceased’s tax affairs to the date of death;
- The requirement to complete self-assessment tax returns for the estate during the administration period; and
- Advising on a Deed of Variation to improve the estate’s inheritance tax position or redirect assets in accordance with the wishes of any of the beneficiaries;
- Advising on a Deed of Appointment out of a Will trust.
We will discuss these issues with you at the outset of any matter in order to determine the likely fees applicable to your matter and to determine the scope of your instructions to us.
The time a matter will take will be subject to the complexity of the estate and the co-operation of the personal representatives, beneficiaries and other third parties involved in the estate administration.
Where you instruct us to obtain a Grant only, we expect to be in a position to apply for the Grant within 4 weeks of you providing the information required to complete the relevant paperwork. We will advise on the likely time that the Probate Registry will take to issue the Grant based on our experience of the service at that time. For example, in 2019 the time varied during the year from 2 weeks at best to 16 weeks at worst.
Where you also instruct us to administer the estate, it is usual for the administration to be completed within 6 months from the issue of the Grant except where a property is being sold. However, this will depend on how quickly HMRC issues clearance on the inheritance tax account and any income tax or CGT liability and the ease with which the assets and liabilities of the estate can be realised.
We will endeavour to provide an indication of likely timeframes at the outset of the matter and will keep you updated as it progresses.
Last updated March 2020