The fees we charge for extracting Grant of Probate and/or Letters of Administration and for administering an estate differ dependent upon what levels of work we are required to undertake. The level of works required to be undertaken by us are often determined by the size and complexity of the deceased’s estate and also the level of works the executors or administrators wish to undertake themselves. We do not charge a percentage of the value of the estate as some firms do.
Examples of our pricing structure are as follows:-
GRANT ONLY –
This would involve us making the application to the Court for a Grant of Representation having been provided with the values and details of the deceased’s assets and liabilities by the Personal Representatives, then leaving the Personal Representative to finalise the estate and distribute. Our service would include:
- Meeting to take instructions (1-2 weeks for an appointment usually)
- Preparing the application for probate (a further 1-2 weeks)
- Obtaining the Grant of Representation and copies (depending on the Court Services workload but on average within 16 weeks of submitting the application)
If the estate does not require a full inheritance tax return (which we will be able to advise you upon the necessity for once we know more about the estate and its assets/liabilities) then our fees start at £750+VAT (currently at a prevailing rate of 20%) (£900 therefore inclusive of VAT) and a Court fee of £273 plus a further Court fee £1.50 for each additional sealed copy of the Grant (Court fees are not currently subject to VAT).
If a full Inheritance Tax account is required, then our fees would start from £1,500+VAT (£1800 therefore inclusive of VAT) and the Court fee again of £273 plus a further Court fee £1.50 for each additional sealed copy of the Grant (Court fees are not currently subject to VAT).
Where a full inheritance tax return is not required, then we anticipate that from the point you provide us with full details of the estate’s assets and liabilities, that it will take approximately 16-20 weeks for us to obtain the Sealed Grant. The stages involved in the process are as above. This can however vary dependent upon the workload of the Court Service at that time, which we should be able to give you a more accurate indication upon at the time of your instructions to our firm.
Where a full inheritance tax return is required, then we anticipate that from the point you provide us with the details of the estate assets and liabilities that it will take approximately 20-25 weeks for us to obtain the Sealed Grant. The stages involved in the process are as above with the additional task of submitting the IHT papers to HMRC and dealing with any queries raised
FULL ESTATE ADMINISTRATION – Clients often wish us to collate information in respect of a deceased’s assets and liabilities, which involves us contacting all the companies with which the deceased held assets or liabilities and applying for a Grant of representation (again following the same process and timescales as above). In addition to the above process, we would also then cash in, sell or transfer all the deceased’s assets, pay any liabilities and prepare estate accounts. We would also then distribute the estate to the beneficiaries detailed under the deceased’s last will or otherwise in accordance with Rules of Intestacy as appropriate.
If we administer an estate in full, then our fees are calculated by reference to the hourly rates set out below and are based on the time we spend dealing with your case. There is VAT to pay on those rates (currently at the rate of 20%), plus any expenses that are incurred.
|Solicitor||Rate (per hour)|
|Directors & Solicitors with over 8 years' experience||£250.00|
|Solicitors with over 4 years' experience after qualification||£225.00|
|Other Solicitors, Legal Executives and other staff of equivalent experience||£200.00|
|Trainee Solicitors and other staff of equivalent experience||£150.00|
The hourly rate includes advising, attending on you and others, dealing with papers, correspondence (including emails), telephone calls, travelling and waiting time. All routine letters sent out by us and all routine telephone calls made and received will be charged at one tenth of the hourly rate. All routine letters received will be charged at the rate of one tenth of the hourly rate. All non-routine work shall be charged at the hourly rate according to the amount of time spent.
The time which is required to write to the various companies, will depend upon the number of companies with which the deceased had financial relationships. An estate where the deceased simply held one bank account and some premium bonds will involve much less time and hence lower legal fees than an estate which comprises a portfolio of many assets held with various different companies.
Jill Waddington, who is Head of Private Client and currently handles applications for probate is a Director of the Firm and so her time is charged based on an hourly rate of £250+VAT (£300 including VAT).
As no two estates are identical, below is an example of likely fees which could be incurred in an estate. To obtain an accurate estimate as to the legal fees involved in handling an estate for you, please contact Jill Waddington who will be able to advise you of the likely legal fees, VAT and disbursements which would be chargeable.
Example of likely legal fees, VAT and Disbursements
Administration of a simple estate, such as a small number of bank accounts, one property and one or two beneficiaries then our fees would start from £3,000+VAT (£3600 including VAT) and the Court Fee of £273 (not subject to VAT). Thus, a total cost including disbursements of £3873.
Additional disbursements which may be payable are as follows:
Financial Asset Search £186 (inclusive of VAT) (in case you wish to search for unknown assets the deceased may have held)
Bankruptcy search £2 (not subject to VAT)
Statutory Notice fees approximately £200(to advertise for any unknown creditors of the deceased) (VAT maybe chargeable depending on the newspaper used and we can confirm this once we know where the deceased last lived)
Will register search £38+VAT (if the whereabouts of the Last Known Will needs to be ascertained)
Land Registry fee for Office Copies £3 (not subject to VAT)
Our service would include:
Meeting to take instructions (usually 1-2 weeks for an appointment)
Valuing the assets (3-4 weeks)
Notifying all utility companies (1-2 weeks)
Arranging payment of the funeral account (1-2 weeks)
Preparing the application for probate (6-8 weeks)
Obtaining the Grant of Representation and copies (from 12 weeks)
Collecting in the assets (4-6 weeks from the Grant of Representation being received)
Paying all debts (4-6 weeks from the Grant of Representation being received)
Paying all legacies (2-3 weeks from monies received)
Preparing estate accounts (8-12 weeks from the Grant of Representation being received)
Distributing (12-16 weeks from the Grant of Representation being received)
Administration of a more complex estate may involve foreign assets, business or agricultural assets, identifying beneficiaries or undertaking a will search, preparation of a full inheritance tax return (which is required if the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax) and schedules, income tax returns, capital gains tax advice and returns and setting up trusts – a price for this type of matter would be provided following an initial consultation with Jill Waddington.
Jill Waddington deals with Probate matters. She is Head of Private Client, a Director of O’Donnell solicitors and a qualified solicitor with over 20 years’ experience.