Probate: Range of costs
Our fees for applying for a grant of probate or for letters of administration for an estate generally start from £750 plus VAT and may be up to £20,000 plus VAT depending upon the work involved and the complexity of the assets in the estate but on average would be in the region of £3,000 to £5,000 plus VAT. 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, properties and multiple bank accounts and investments, costs will be at the higher end of the range. That is why we will always give you an individual cost estimate at the start of the transaction, taking into account the actual features of your transaction. We will always advise you immediately about any complication, and discuss the potential impact on price before any additional charges are incurred.
Here is an example of a costs estimate to apply for a grant of probate (non-taxable) but where we are not asked to collect the assets and distribute them or deal with any aspects of the estate other than applying for probate based on the schedule of assets and liabilities you provide to us.
|Probate Court Fee||£155.00|
|Extra Office Copies (for each copy)||£0.50|
|Swearing of the oath (per executor)||£7.00|
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Probate Court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. If we are dealing with all aspects of an estate rather than just making the application for probate then there may be additional disbursements to pay such as:
|Bankruptcy Search – per beneficiary each time distribution is made.||£2.00|
|Posting in local newspapers and the London Gazette (to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors) – prices vary according to area but are approximately||£200.00|
Potential additional costs
If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is 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 quote once we have more information. Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate will involve additional costs which will be quoted by our property department.
How long will the process take?
It is possible to obtain probate within a week if the matter is urgent. Generally, most non-taxable estates are completed within six months. Taxable estates can take up to one year, however, the process can take longer than these estimates due to factors beyond our control, such as delays at HMRC or a property within the estate remaining unsold. We pride ourselves on dealing with estates as quickly as possible.
Stages of the process
The precise stages involved in dealing with a probate matter vary according to the circumstances, however, some of the key stages are:
- taking your instructions about what the estate consists of and giving you initial advice
- drafting documents
- seeing you to swear documents
- submitting papers to the Probate Registry (and tax office – if applicable)
- receiving probate and collecting in assets and paying liabilities
- dealing with taxation of the estate
- distributing the estate and preparing accounts.
Our example fee above assumes that:
- this is a standard transaction and that no unforeseen matters arise
- the transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complications arise
- all parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation.
As part of dealing with the estate we will:
- provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate lawyer to work on your matter
- identify the legally appointed executors or 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 assets in the estate.
We are always happy to be flexible and can assist in dealing with all of an estate administration or deal with only certain aspects of an estate. Every estate is different. We will provide you with either a fixed fee quote or a fee based on time spent dealing with the process. If you opt for a fee based on a time basis we will provide a clear range which we expect the changes to come within.