The majority of the work which we carry out in connection with probate and the administration of estates is done on a ‘time spent’ basis. This means that you will be charged based on an hourly rate for the amount of time it takes to complete the work. At the outset of a matter we will give you an estimate of the number of hours that we think it will take to complete the work and will provide you with our up to date hourly charging rates. You will also be informed which fee earner will have overall responsibility for your matter. Our current charging rates are detailed below. These rates are reviewed in April each year.
Category A fee earner (Solicitors and legal executives with over 8 years’ experience)
£195.00 per hour (plus VAT)
Category B fee earner (Solicitors and legal executives with over 4 years’ experience)
£175.00 per hour (plus VAT)
Category C fee earner (Other solicitors, legal executives and fee earners of similar experience)
£140.00 per hour (plus VAT)
When it comes to probate work every case is different which means it is extremely difficult to let you know exactly what our fees will be at the very outset of the matter.
With more straightforward estates, it will be much easier for us to give an accurate estimate of the time required to deal with the matter and our fees are likely to be lower.
A straightforward estate is likely to be one where:
An estate which includes any of the following matters is likely to be more complex and will generally take more time to deal with, which in turn means that our fees will be higher:
This is a non-exhaustive list but the more information we have about a person, their assets and their circumstances, then the more accurate we will be able to make our estimate.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Disbursements which are likely to be payable in connection with probate matters are detailed below. Not all of these payments will be necessary in every case:
Fixed costs for ‘Grant only’ applications
In some cases we offer a ‘grant only’ service, whereby we will agree to undertake the work in obtaining a grant of representation on your behalf for a fixed fee, plus the cost of any necessary disbursements.
This is usually in connection with smaller estates where there is a valid will, no Inheritance Tax is payable on the estate and a full Inheritance Tax account does not need to be delivered to HMRC.
Once we have obtained the grant of probate it will be handed to the proving executors to deal with ongoing administration of the estate, such as closing bank accounts, gathering in the estate assets and distributing the estate.
Typically, our fixed costs for such applications will be between £600.00 - £900.00 (including VAT), plus the cost of disbursements.
To see whether or not this service might be suitable in your circumstances, please contact one of our offices to speak to a member of the team.
Time spent plus value element
In certain cases, we may reserve the right to charge a value element* in addition to the hourly rate. If this applies to your case then you will be notified and the rate of the value element to be charged will be agreed with you at the outset of the matter.
When considering whether an additional value element should be included within our charges it will be necessary to consider the value of the assets comprised in the deceased’s estate
It is usual to divide the estate (i.e. total value of the assets left after death) into two parts:
a) The deceased's residence
The value of the deceased's home, or as much of it as he or she owned, if it was shared with another person. For example, where the property is jointly owned, the value is reduced by half.
b) Value of rest of the estate
In circumstances where we are not acting as an executor, the percentage value will be:
|Value of gross estate less residence||1%|
|Value of residence||0.5%|
In circumstances where we are acting as an executor, the percentage value will be:
|Value of gross estate less residence||1.5%|
|Value of residence||0.75%|
Final figures will always be reviewed to ensure that the charges are fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances.
This method of charging is usually reserved for particularly complex estates which require an element of expertise or which need to be administered with great expedition.
Examples of estates where a Value element might be charged are:
In all cases other than for ‘grant only’ applications, we will do the following:
*NB Our fees do not include the conveyancing work for any properties forming part of the estate. This work will be charged separately if undertaken by the firm.
Without having detailed information about the deceased person and their assets, it is extremely difficult to say whether or not, and if so, how much Inheritance Tax will be payable on their estate. There are a number factors which can affect an Inheritance Tax calculation.
To discuss Inheritance Tax please contact a member of our team or for more general information you may want to visit https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax
How long will it take?
It is difficult to say exactly how long it will take to deal with an estate, especially if there is a property to sell or if it is a taxable estate and HMRC make enquiries in to the Inheritance Tax account.
However, for a very straightforward estate it may take less than 3 months. For larger estates it can easily take 6 – 24 months and even longer to fully administer the estate. However, in all cases you will be kept regularly updated with progress.