We offer clients the option of paying a fixed fee or to pay for work on a time spent basis.
Every client’s matter is different, and our fee will depend on your individual circumstances and whilst the value of the estate is considered other factors will affect the amount of work involved.
The nature of the assets in the estate, the number of properties and whether they need to be sold, the complexity of investments, whether there is a foreign element, any gifts made in the last 7 years exceeding £3,000 per annum, whether inheritance tax or other taxes are payable and the complexity of the instructions in the will. Our fee will also differ depending on how much of the work you want us to do.
In order to assess these different factors we will need to have an initial meeting with you to discuss the nature of the estate and what work you would like us to do. We charge £200 plus VAT for an initial consultation following which we will give you the option of a fixed fee and an estimate for how much time we will spend on your matter.
Our fixed fee will be calculated taking into account how much time we are likely to spend plus a contingency to cover unexpected developments. Our hourly rate is £200 per hour plus VAT.
If you want to pay for the time we actually spend on your matter, we will provide you a range of fees (a minimum and maximum) that we estimate your matter will take. Our hourly rate is £200 per hour plus VAT. We will then calculate how much time we believe it will take at a solicitor’s hourly rate of £200 per hour plus VAT. For example, if we believe a matter will take between 8 and 10 hours to complete, our estimate would be between £1,600 and £2,000 plus VAT.
We usually offer our clients a choice of time recording or fixed price, but sometimes an estate is too complex, or there are too many unknown factors for us to offer a fixed price. Even if we are charging on a time recorded basis, we estimate the time we anticipate we will take to complete the work and will inform the client if this is likely to be exceeded.
Other costs - Disbursements
- In addition to our fees there may be third party costs that are incurred, these are called disbursements. The disbursements are typically:
the Probate Registry fee: £155 plus 50p for each extra copy of the Grant of Probate required – subject to change by HMCTS at anytime
- bankruptcy searches: £2 per beneficiary
- fees for getting office copy entries from the land registry: £3 each
- Fees for valuation of assets and selling shares: various
- Advertisements for creditors: protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors - approximately £100-£200 advertisement in London Gazette; £100-£200 advertisement in local newspaper
Potential additional costs - If there is no Will or the estate consists of any shareholdings (including stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on type of investment and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
Case Studies of fees charged
Obtaining a grant of probate.
If you provide us with a valuation of assets we can complete the application to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate. We would charge on a time record basis. Typical time is 2 1/2 hours for an estate which is not taxable (£500 plus VAT) or 4-5 hours for a taxable estate (£800-£1,000 plus VAT)
Full service – simple estate no inheritance tax
Mother died leaving everything to father, except some small items which will be given to the beneficiaries by the executors. No inheritance tax was due. The estate value was £360,000 with a range of assets, premium bonds and property to be transferred into a trust. Fixed price £1,800 plus VAT and disbursements.
Full service – simple estate inheritance tax to pay
Mother died in 2016 leaving everything to father; father then died. The estate value is £1.2m and there is inheritance tax to pay, reduced by the transferable nil rate band and the residence nil rate band. There was a property and a variety of assets. There were 2 executors and 3 residuary beneficiaries receiving slightly different shares.We charged £7,500 plus VAT and disbursements.
Full service – complex estate
Estate value £3.7m. Complex estate with valuable furniture, 5 bequests of cash (some to foreign beneficiaries) and artworks, 2 properties, one took several months to sell, and a range of investments in various shares. Charitable bequests altered the inheritance tax payable. Our work included negotiations with HMRC, advising the executors and beneficiaries about options available to minimise Inheritance Tax payable and how to vary the Will to make it more tax effective, then reclaiming overpaid tax from HMRC. The total charge was £12,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
Where VAT is applicable it is charged at a rate of 20%.
The work we do includes:
- Writing to banks and financial institutions to notify them of the death and obtaining valuations
- Liaising with valuers of the family home and contents
- Contacting the beneficiaries to tell them of their entitlement under the Will
- Preparing a schedule of the assets and liabilities of the estate for the executors and beneficiaries
- If required to do so, advertising for creditors
- Preparing and submitting the Inheritance Tax Return of Estate Information form (IHT205) or form IHT400 and accompanying schedules for a taxable estate
- Preparing and submitting the court application for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration where there is no Will
- Register the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration with the various asset holders and proceed to collect in the assets and close accounts
- Arranging for the sale and/or transfer of any stocks and shares if required
- Paying outstanding bills
- After the sale of the house, dealing with final utility bills and cancelling the insurance
- Deal with the income tax during the administration period
- Preparing estate accounts for the executors
- Distributing the estate
Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes 3 to 4 months, but will be dependent on third parties responding in a timely fashion and on how long the Probate Registry is taking to deal with applications. If the estate is taxable there is an additional period of 28 days added to the estimated timeframe to allow for inheritance tax to be paid and for HMRC to acknowledge receipt of the tax. The application for probate cannot continue until HMRC has confirmed with the Probate Registry that they have received the inheritance tax due. It can then take a further 3 to 4 months to finalise the estate. However, with more complex cases it is not unknown for the process to take between 9 to 12 months.
Details of qualifications and experience can be found here