Assisting with probate can mean different things to different people. This can range from us assisting someone in completing the forms and applying for a grant of probate when all of the information has been supplied by the executor or a situation where it is a complex taxable estate and we are expected to interrogate all of a deceased’s paperwork which has been brought in randomly so as to ascertain the size and nature of the estate, obtain the probate, pay the taxes and bills, collect the assets in and administer the estate.
Probate is currently carried out by our probate managers:
- Sandra Moores (hourly charging rate £180.00 plus VAT)
- Deborah Cable (hourly charging rate £180.00 plus VAT)
- Lauren Smart (hourly charging rate £170.00 plus VAT)
Fixed fee for simple probate only applications
The fixed fee for a non-taxable, simple probate application where we do not have to investigate matters and we are supplied with the facts and figures is £500.00 plus VAT. The probate application fee is currently £155.00 plus £0.50 for each additional Office Copy. The fee for swearing an Oath is £7.00 per executor.
Fee for administering the whole probate, non-taxable, simple application
We are here talking about a fairly straightforward matter where there is a will, perhaps no more than one property, a few bank accounts, probably a few ISAs, one or two stocks and shares and straightforward beneficiaries with no inheritance tax payable and no claims made against the estate. The hourly charging rates charged by our staff are as published above. We charge on the basis of time spent. As a rough guide we would expect the time spent to equate approximately to 0.5% – 1% of the value of the estate.
Fees for larger estates which are taxable or where there are a number of assets and a number of beneficiaries
Costings are basically the same. Based on an hourly charging rate with more complex matters the time spent equating to closer to 1% of the value of the estate.
In all cases there will be :-
- Probate application fee £155.00
- Additional Office Copies of Probate £0.50 each
- Oath fees £7.00 per application where there is a will
- Disbursements for Land Charges Search to check the bankruptcy of beneficiaries – allow £20.00 on average
- Advertising in local newspapers if such advertising is required to protect against unexpected claims allow, say, £200.00
With regard to fixed fee applications this can be dealt with quickly and probate obtained within a matter of a few weeks.
With larger applications, particularly those that are taxable, we are dependent on HMRC responding to us. There has been known to be a holdup with HMRC sending back the tax forms (which prevent us from obtaining probate) for three months or more.
In non-taxable probate applications we would expect to have all the information to apply for probate within 2 – 3 months, to obtain probate within a month of that; to have wound up the estate within 2 months of probate so 6 months in total as a rough guide.
However there may be matters outstanding such as the final income tax return and the sale of a property.
Larger probate transactions will clearly take longer to complete depending on how long it takes to collate the information and how long it takes to sell various assets and get the taxes paid.
We would still hope to have obtained more or less all of the information within 2 – 4 months; to obtain probate within a couple of months; and to have wound up the estate (save for the sale of properties, etc.) within 2 or 3 months thereafter.
There are always matters that can complicate the issue and cloud the timings and the costings. Matters are always a little more complicated where there is no will and we are dealing with administrations of estates under the Intestacy Rules. There are often complications where there are overseas shares that are held. It is notoriously difficult to get shares that are held in the United States and certain parts of Europe cashed in quickly and efficiently. Sometimes there are income tax returns to be done and often there are properties and indeed assets that cannot be sold immediately.