Applying for the Grant, collecting and distributing the assets
We will handle the full process for you. We apply a minimum charge for all estates of £3,500 plus VAT.
The charge ABOVE is for estates where:
- There is a valid Will.
- All assets are located in the UK.
- The estate does not include any business assets or agricultural property.
- All beneficiaries can be readily identified and their whereabouts is known.
- The deceased did not have an interest in any trust funds.
- The terms of the Will are clear.
- There is no more than one property.
- There are no more than 3 bank or building society accounts.
- There are no other intangible assets.
- There are 1 – 2 beneficiaries.
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to a substantial increase in costs.
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC.
- There are no claims made against the estate.
In addition, there may be the following disbursements (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Probate application fee of £155 plus £1 for each certified copy of the Grant. (Subject to change).
- £10 swearing of the Oath (per executor) where necessary. No fee for a statement of truth.
- Bankruptcy – only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
- Approximately £175 to post a Section 27 statutory advertisement in the London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
- Approximately £175 to post a Section 27 statutory advertisement in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.
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.
Potential additional costs
- If there is no Will or the estate consists of more than the list above, i.e. 2 or more properties, any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) or more than 2 beneficiaries or overseas assets then we will apply a fixed percentage. 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 is not included in the probate fees.
Our solicitors will always discuss the overall fee with you before we start any work and we won't start any work until the fee is agreed on by you and your family.
Our legal fees
Where the minimum fee above does not apply we will agree a fixed percentage cost with you based on the gross value of the estate assets (e.g. 2.5% of the value of the gross assets plus VAT based on an estate value of £395,000 would be £9,875 plus VAT plus disbursements) but this may go up or down depending on the final estate value.
The exact legal fee may vary depending on the composition of the estate assets and liabilities and their values. The percentage rate may vary if:
- The estate is very straightforward, with just a few assets of significant value.
- The complexity of the likely administration may require a higher percentage rate.
- The requirement to disclose details of lifetime gifts for Inheritance Tax purposes and claims for exemptions and reliefs would increase the fee.
- The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.
Our charges on average for the full estate administration service for a taxable estate will usually be between £7,000 and £25,000 plus VAT if the value of the estate does not exceed £1,000,000. The charges may be higher if the estate exceeds this figure. The factors affecting the actual charge will include those listed above for a non-taxable estate.
Our service is available, whether or not there is a valid Will. We will take responsibility for the entire estate administration to ensure that all assets are identified and collected, liabilities are paid and the estate is correctly distributed to the beneficiaries entitled. Full details are set out below. It will usually be possible for us to arrange for all receipts and payments to be made through this firm’s client account. This avoids the need for an executors’ bank account to be opened. This firm’s charges will usually be paid from funds received into the estate so you will not need to pay our invoices personally.
This service includes the following:
- Checking validity of the will;
- Meeting with proposed executors (will) or administrators (no will) to review the estate and obtain details of assets/liabilities;
- Obtain all information required for Inheritance Tax account – balances on bank accounts, valuations of investments and properties etc, details of lifetime gifts;
- Submit Unclaimed Assets Register search (if appropriate);
- Review availability of Inheritance tax transferable nil rate band and residence nil rate band(s) and compile relevant documentation;
- Preparing Inheritance Tax account (this has to be completed even though there is no tax liability);
- Drafting executors’ oath/ statement of truth;
- Reviewing the documents with the executors/administrators and arranging signature;
- Submitting the application to the Probate Registry;
- Checking the grant when issued;
- Placing statutory adverts for unknown creditors (if appropriate);
- Registering the grant with all relevant financial organisations;
- Closing bank/building society accounts and reconciling closing balances; Selling investments or transferring investments to beneficiaries as instructed by executors/administrators;
- Settling all liabilities of the estate including executors/administrators expenses;
- Paying legacies;
- Arranging a distribution of most of the remaining funds to residuary beneficiaries while retaining a reserve for further expenses;
- Preparing estate accounts detailing all capital and income transactions of the estate and obtaining approval of the executors/administrators;
- Distributing remaining funds to the residuary beneficiaries and supplying each of them with a copy of the approved estate accounts.
Please note that the following are not included within our standard estate administration service (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Sale of freehold/leasehold property forming part of the estate;
- Income Tax returns – it may be necessary for an accountant to be instructed to deal with finalisation of the Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax position to the deceased’s death. We shall be able to liaise with the accountant to provide information required;
- Supplying residuary beneficiaries with tax deduction certificates for their personal Income Tax returns;
- Registration of death and arranging funeral – we are able to deal with these matters in some circumstances, however there will be an additional charge;
- Collecting papers from the deceased’s property and arranging sale/distribution of personal possessions – there may be an additional charge for this work;
- Advice on setting up and administering any trusts contained in the will or created by the intestacy rules;
- Instruction of beneficiary finders as may be appropriate;
- Instruction of a Will Search Company through the national wills register (such as Certainty Will Search);
- Missing Beneficiary Insurance Policy.
You may need to provide funds to pay some of these expenses, particularly those that require to be paid before the grant of probate is issued.
Factors that could make your case complex
- The number of accounts/assets;
- The nature of the assets;
- The number of beneficiaries;
- Whether a short form Inheritance Tax return (IHT205) or full account (IHT400) is required;
- Whether there are claims for Inheritance Tax transferable nil rate band and/or residence nil rateband(s).
Where inheritance tax is payable, additional work would be
Inheritance Tax is complicated, and it is not possible to advise on the liability without detailed knowledge of the nature and value of the assets and liabilities and the relationship of the beneficiaries to the deceased. Additional information is also needed, eg a history of lifetime gifts made by the deceased in the 7 years preceding death. Inheritance Tax on an estate will never exceed 40% of the value of the estate and will usually be less due to the availability of reliefs and exemptions.
The taxable estate service includes the following additional matters within the percentage quote:
- Applying for HMRC tax reference for the estate;
- Preparation of the full Inheritance Tax account IHT400 and supplemental forms and tax calculation;
- Calculating the portion of Inheritance Tax that has to be paid to obtain the grant of probate/letters of administration and advising the executors/administrators on raising funds to pay this portion of tax;
- Advising on the option to pay some of the Inheritance Tax by instalments and the associated interest liability;
- Dealing with enquiries raised by HMRC eg in relation to property valuations.
The following are not included within the percentage quote and addition costs would apply:
- Preparing and submitting loss relief claims (if appropriate) in relation to sales of investments and freehold/leasehold properties at a loss;
- Submitting a corrective account detailing the adjustments to originally submitted asset and liability details;
- Reviewing corrective assessments issued by HMRC and paying additional Inheritance Tax or claiming a refund;
- Applying for and obtaining a clearance certificate (if required).
The following are not included within this service:
- Deeds of variation (which may be appropriate to reduce the Inheritance Tax on the estate or the future Inheritance Tax liability of beneficiaries);
- Filing Inheritance Tax returns for the recipients of lifetime gifts made by the deceased.