Probate: Price & Service Information
Under the SRA’s Transparency Rules we are required to provide information around price and service in respect of specific areas of work which includes Probate work.
At EMG Solicitors we can advise on all areas of Wills, Probate and Administration of Estates. We offer a bespoke service tailored to your individual needs and we always recommend contacting one of our solicitors for a free initial consultation so we are able to provide you with a comprehensive fee estimate. Whilst some of the legal services we offer are fixed fee, it is not always possible to provide a fixed fee where costs may vary depending on the individual circumstances or complexities of your matter. With regards to probate work, a number of factors will influence our charges, for example whether there was a valid Will, the size of the estate, the number of beneficiaries, as well as factors including the type of assets and any related tax issues. We know that estates are personal and no two estates are exactly the same that’s why we provide a personal service from start to end.
In such cases our fees are charged at hourly rates and we provide you with an estimate following an initial consultation with you. Furthermore we provide regular updates on fees as your case progresses and we are able to work to budget limits over which you as our client have full control.In respect of probate matters, the EMG team dealing with this type of work includes qualified Solicitors and all team member profiles can be found in our ‘meet the team’ section of our website which also show levels of qualification. Our charge out rates are between £160 – £215 plus vat per hour.
Key stages in the legal process:
Our estimated costs are in respect of the collection and distribution of money, property and other assets belonging to a deceased person. If you require us to deal with the full administration of the estate, we will:-
• 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 Grant of Representation and securely send two copies to you
• Prepare estate accounts, if appropriate
• Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
Example costs – a Testator who was single with a Will leaving a small non-taxable estate ( e.g. significantly under the nil rate band for Inheritance Tax) to a small number (4 or less) of locatable beneficiaries.
We would estimate that our time costs would start at [10 -12 hours work] at for example [£175 per hour], making a total time cost of £1750 plus VAT and disbursements. As the value of the estate increases, and the complexity of the assets increases (but the overall value of the estate is still within the nil rate band of £325,000) our costs may range up to [20 – 30 hrs work] at for example £175 per hour, making a total time cost of £3500 – £5250 plus VAT and disbursements.
These estimates are based upon the following assumptions.
• There is a valid will and the deceased lived in the UK
• There is no foreign property
• There is no more than one property
• There are no more than 4 bank or building society accounts
• There are no more than 4 types of investments directly invested stocks and shares, or share/unit trust portfolios
• There are no business assets or agricultural assets
• There are no more than 1 Life Policy
• There are no pension death benefits
• There are no other assets
• You will deal with the chattels personally
• You deal with the funeral arrangements
• There are no unusual debts (apart from those arising as a result of death)
• There are no more than 5 legatees
• There are less than 4 beneficiaries, whose whereabouts are known
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. (If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.)
• There are no claims made against the estate
• There are no ongoing trusts set up by the Will
What is not included?
• Preparation of Income Tax returns up to date of death
• Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax returns required during the administration of the estate
• We will transfer a property to a beneficiary as part of the above fee but acting in the sale of a property on behalf of the Personal Representatives would be a separate fee.
Variations in respect of fees
If there are multiple beneficiaries, multiple properties, multiple bank accounts, multiple shareholdings, further assets then costs will either be at the higher end of our estimate or there will be additional costs.
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 incurred on your behalf (in addition to our fee) include:
• Probate application fee of £155
• £7 Swearing of the oath (per executor)
• If any additional copies of the Grant of Representation are required, they will cost £0.50p (1 per asset usually)
• Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
• £200 – 300 to advertise in The London Gazette and Local Newspaper – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
• Optional disbursements include a Certainty Will Search at £95, an Unclaimed Asset Register search at £25
• Land Registry fee(s) to transfer a property/ properties to beneficiaries depending on the value of the property – see Land Registry scale
Example costs – Intestate (no Will in place) estate, non-taxable
Our estimated costs in relation to an estate where the deceased does not have a Will may be similar to an estate where there is a Will, if:-
• You are clear about who the personal representative is/are
• You are clear about who the beneficiaries are
• There are 4 beneficiaries or less.
We can provide you with a more detailed estimate if the estate does not fit into these assumptions.
If you are unclear about who the beneficiaries are, please call for a quote. There may be additional disbursements associated with dealing with an intestate estate as follows:-
• We may need to ask a Genealogist to confirm the deceased’s family tree and to locate beneficiaries. This usually costs £200 – £300 plus VAT.
How long will an estate take?
On average, non-taxable estates are likely to be completed within 6 – 12 months, comprising of:-
• Typically, obtaining the Grant of Representation takes 12 – 16 weeks
• Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 6 – 8 weeks
• Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes a further 6 – 8 weeks.
These examples are based on non-taxable estates, however, some estates will be charged to Inheritance Tax. We will work out the amount of Inheritance Tax payable by the estate or confirm that the estate is not taxable and complete the appropriate IHT forms. Please refer to HMRC website for various inheritance tax calculators including one to calculate the additional residential allowance and any interest accruing on the tax due, as this is another cost to the estate.
Obtaining the Grant of Representation on your behalf
We can provide a service of obtaining the Grant of Representation, which allows you to ascertain the value of the estate and distribute the estate yourself as Personal Representative. If you assist and provide us with date of death figures, we can prepare the Probate Registry forms for you. This is usually a fixed fee of £750 plus VAT and disbursements (i.e. the Probate Registry fee and Oath fee set out above).
EMG Solicitors aim to provide an expert service to take the strain away from you. To find out more please contact us on 0191 500 6989 to discuss your requirements. We are happy to offer you an initial 30 minute appointment free of charge whereby we can discuss the estate and then give you a bespoke estimate of costs.