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Probate & Estate Administration

Guiding you through the complex process of Probate and Estate Administration.

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Estate Planning

Our experienced practitioners provide specialist legal advice and support to executors or administrators dealing with the estate of a deceased person, sensitively guiding them through what can be a complex process.

Guidance on Tax Efficient Estate Administration

We can assist you with the completion of inheritance tax forms and can provide guidance on the most tax efficient administration of the estate. We can also prepare the estate accounts which the executors/administrators are obliged to produce to beneficiaries on conclusion of the administration.

Deed of Variation

Some people may wish to consider a deed of variation diverting an inheritance from their own estate to avoid further inheritance tax charges. If you are considering a deed of variation speed is of the essence so please do not hesitate to contact us.

Probate Costs (uncontested cases with all assets in the UK)

Below is an example of typical costs for dealing with a typical straightforward estate. It is not an estimate for a specific case and in all cases we will discuss with you your needs and tailor an estimate to suit your particular case. The exact cost depends on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example if there is one beneficiary and one property, the costs will be lower than if there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts.

This example quote is for an estate where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are accounts with no more than three separate institutions
  • There are no other intangible assets (eg shares)
  • There are up to 4 beneficiaries, all of whom are adult
  • No trusts are involved, for example of a share in a house or for minor children.
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this will lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to H M Revenue & Customs
  • There are no claims made by creditors against the estate (eg Department for Work and Pensions often make claims for repayment of pension credit after death)

In relation to an estate of this type, depending upon the seniority of the practitioner involved, this may take between 5 – 10 hours work at a range of £180.00 - £270.00 per hour. A more senior practitioner will usually be able to complete the task more swiftly than a junior practitioner. Consequently the costs are likely to be in the range of £1,200.00 - £1,800.00 plus VAT.

Disbursements are additional to our fees. Typically they will be:

  • Probate application fee of £150.00 plus .50p for each additional copy of the grant. Usually one copy grant is required per asset in the estate.
  • £8.00 swearing of the oath (per executor)
  • Bankruptcy Land Charges Department search (£2.00 per beneficiary and the name of the deceased)
  • Approximately £100.00 – statutory advertisement in the London Gazette including agency fees for arranging the post and the London Gazette’s charge. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • Approximately £150.00 – statutory advertisement in a local newspaper including agency costs of placing the advertisement. This is only required where there is a property in the estate. This also helps to protect against unexpected claims. The precise costs are based on the column size of the notice.

Disbursements are cost related to your matter that are payable to third parties such as court fees. We arrange for payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

On average estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 3 months. Typically obtaining the grant of probate takes 4 – 6 weeks from our first meeting with you, depending on your being able to supply all necessary information promptly. Collecting assets then follows which can take between 2 – 4 weeks but depends upon how promptly the financial institutions respond once they are sent a copy of the grant. Once this has been done we can distribute the assets which normally takes 2 – 3 weeks assuming that the executors respond promptly once they have received draft estate accounts.

Additional costs

In other types of cases there are likely to be additional costs which could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information. The following is not an exhaustive list but will give some idea of circumstances that will usually result in additional costs:

  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property.
  • Dealing with tax returns
  • There is no will
  • The estate includes shareholdings (stocks and bonds)
  • A full inheritance tax account is required
  • Deeds of variation
  • Gifts to minors
  • The will sets up any kind of trust