Probate Pricing

Getting a grant of representation and dealing with the administration of an estate can be complicated; it can take several months to make sure everything is done properly. Whether the deceased person left a will or whether there is substantial wealth and property involved, the sense of burden can increase. Where a will is in existence the Executors will need to apply for the grant of probate which will give them the legal right to administer the estate. Where there is no will in existence, or if the will is invalid, or it does not specify an Executor, an Administrator will need to be appointed.

At Talbots Law we offer a complete estate administration service to deal with everything for you, or, we have a limited, grant only, service to obtain the grant of representation for you that lets you administer the estate.

Every estate is different, which is why we provide an estimate at the outset of the matter to give a range of potential fees to make sure that you get the right amount of support to meet your individual circumstances. At the outset we provide you with our best estimate as to the overall costs involved; we will update you regularly on your costs throughout the matter so you can stay in control throughout.

Why Us

Talbots have an experienced team who can assist you with every aspect of the estate administration process, reducing the administrative burden and advising sensitively on key decisions which need to be made when managing an estate. We understand that administering an estate comes at a time of grief and high emotion, and that most people do not know the processes and legal requirements involved.

You will have the confidence that you are our priority; all our clients have a named lawyer responsible for completing their work. They will provide regular updates at every stage in the process and are supported by the team available to speak with you when you need reassurance. Please see our team profile page for more details of each individual team member’s qualifications and experience.

Talbots are proud to hold Lexcel and Wills & Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) Accreditations, issued by the Law Society. This involves the firm undergoing a rigorous audit process which ensures we maintain high levels of client care. In addition, our team includes many members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).

Pricing

The fees involved in a probate matter can vary and this will depend on the individual circumstances involved.

Estate administration – obtaining the appropriate grant and dealing with the administration of the estate; including the legal, taxation and administrative matters (see below for details) – prices from £2,000 plus VAT and disbursements*. Our fees for estate administration are generally paid out of the estate, so there may not be a need for you to fund the administration.

Grant only – we will advise you in connection with obtaining the appropriate grant of representation to the estate – prices from £900 plus VAT and disbursements*. You will be required to pay our fees and disbursements upon application for the grant.

Talbots offer both a fixed fee option (so that you know exactly how much the fees are from the outset), and an hourly rate charging rate option (where you will be charged for each hour of work undertaken). Where we offer a fixed fee, this will not change unless the instructions change. For hourly rate charging we provide an initial estimate with a maximum and minimum fee depending on the circumstances of the estate.

The fees will vary and are dependent upon individual circumstances. Please contact us so that we can provide an individual quote for both grant only and estate administration. Please note that in order to provide you with a quote, we will need to know a variety of details about the deceased persons’ estate.

Exclusions

Our fees include items detailed above, but there may be factors which would typically increase the cost of the fees involved. Where there is likely to be any additional cost, we will tell you at the earliest opportunity and provide you with a clear estimate of those extra costs.

Our fees do not include any action on the following:

  • providing any advice in relation to foreign assets, although we are able to co-ordinate advice with professional advisers in other jurisdictions in relation to assets held abroad; and
  • providing advice in relation to dealing with actual claims made against the estate, or contentious matters in dealing with the administration of the estate - these would be a separate matter.

Additional services that would be charged separately include:

  • sale or transfer of property from the estate;
  • administering trusts created by the will (or intestacy rules);
  • completing a deed of variation to the estate; and
  • completing additional outstanding income tax returns.

An example of costs

The range of fees will depend on issues such as the number of beneficiaries and whether the estate includes any property. Our fees will also typically increase, depending on whether there are multiple assets and liabilities and based on the number and value of any property.

An example:

  • there is a valid will drafted by Talbots and the named executors agree to act;
  • there is no more than one property and related utility accounts;
  • there are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts, and no separate debts;
  • there are 3 equal adult beneficiaries;
  • there are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets;
  • there is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC, and
  • there are no claims made against the estate.

Legal fee to obtain the grant only would be £900 (plus VAT of £180 and disbursements*)

Legal fee for the full estate administration would be between £2,500 and £3,500 (plus VAT of between £500 and £700 and disbursements*).

The following factors are likely to increase the cost of your matter:

  • not having all of the paperwork available, or having missing or incorrect information that needs investigation and correction;
  • third parties not responding to our communications promptly;
  • dealing with assets or items of unusual or complex nature (for example: fine art; timeshares; shares in private companies; ivory etc.

As soon as any complications arise we will contact you to discuss these with you and agree the fee for the additional work being carried out in advance of any additional work being undertaken by this firm.

*Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as HM Land Registry fees or Court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Disbursements are in addition to the legal fee for our grant only or estate administration service. Standard disbursements are always required to obtain a grant; additional disbursements are those that may be required due to the specific needs of the estate.

Standard disbursements

Item

Cost

VAT

Total

Probate Court application fee

£155.00

None

£155.00

Additional copies of the grant (per copy)

£0.50

None

£0.50

Bankruptcy search (per check)

£2.00

None

£2.00

Anti-money laundering checks (per check)

£5.00

None

£5.00

Additional disbursements

Item

Cost

VAT

Total

Statutory Advertisements – London Gazette 

£62.15

£12.43

£74.58

Statutory Advertisements – local newspaper

Varies on location

Re-issuing uncashed dividend cheques (per cheque) from

£10.00

£2.00

£12.00

Re-issuing lost share certificates (per certificate) from

£40.00

£8.00

£48.00

Stockbroker fees (for sale of shares – per holding) from

£40.00

£8.00

£48.00

Registrar fees (for transfer of shares – per holding) from

£40.00

£8.00

£48.00

Financial Asset search (per search)

£108.00

£21.60

£129.60

Will search (per search)

£108.00

£21.60

£129.60

Royal Mail postal redirection

Individual quotation

Property / asset valuations

Individual quotation

Insurance premiums

Individual quotation

Missing beneficiary searches

Individual quotation

In the event that there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (Stocks and Bonds), there is likely to be an additional cost that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be handled. We will discuss this with you in detail and advise of any additional fees.

The cost of selling or transferring a property is not included in our fees for estate administration or grant only services. If you require this service, please let us know and we will provide you with an estimate in that regard.

Inheritance Tax

There are various factors that will affect any Inheritance Tax due on an estate, including the size of the estate and any measures that were put in place by the deceased to limit the estates tax liability.

We do not believe that it would be sensible to attempt to provide at this stage an estimate of any tax that may be payable. We would advise you to look on the HMRC Website to calculate Inheritance Tax which may be due, the calculators can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hmrc-tools-and-calculators#inheritance-tax-and-bereavement

Time Scales

At Talbots Law we all know that the estate administration process can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. However, we believe there are key stages common to all matters.

Steps in the process

What this involves

Identifying the deceased’s assets and liabilities

After the initial meeting we will ensure that all assets and liabilities are identified when administering an estate; maximising the estate for distribution to the beneficiaries. It also produces accurate information required to report to HMRC and avoid any delays later in the administration process. This can take between 6 to 12 weeks depending on how fast third parties respond.

Completing the inheritance tax return for HMRC

If the estate is simple and no tax is payable, then this is relatively quick and straight forward. If tax is payable, or if the estate is complex then it can take between 4 and 12 weeks for HMRC to process the return.

Completing the application for the grant of representation

Personal representatives have to provide a statement of truth in order to obtain the grant of representation. This may take time to complete if multiple people are appointed and they do not live close to one another. Once completed the application is sent to the Courts to issue. This may take up to 5 weeks.

Collect the assets and pay the debts

Once the grant is received it is sent to various institutions to collect the deceased assets. Depending on the type of assets then this can take several weeks. If the deceased owned a property then it can only be sold once the grant is received. Property sales can take several months.

Finalise matters

Certain statutory time limits exist to protect the personal representatives from claims against the estate being made. These time limits extend (in certain circumstances) up to 10 months after the issue of the grant. We will discuss these with the personal representatives

Overall, we expect that even the most simple and straightforward estates can take several months to complete the estate administration process properly.

Talbots estate administration service includes us dealing with the following

Legal matters:

  • advise on the validity of any will in existence, where there is no valid will, apply the rules of intestacy to establish the identity of the personal representatives;
  • prepare the necessary statement of truth for the grant application.
  • submit the application for the grant to the Probate Registry and conduct all correspondence with the Probate Registry;
  • advising on the correct distribution of the estate based on any will in existence, or where there is no valid will, applying the rules of intestacy; and
  • advise on the need to place statutory advertisements or to obtain insurance to manage claims against the estate. 

Taxation matters:

  • advise on claiming appropriate inheritance tax exemptions and reliefs available to the estate including in relation to Business and/or Agricultural Relief;
  • advise on claiming the appropriate inheritance tax transferable nil-rate band for the estate;
  • calculate any inheritance tax owed; 
  • prepare the appropriate inheritance tax return for HM Revenue & Customs for signing by the personal representatives;
  • prepare the appropriate income tax return for 6th April to the date of death and for the period administration for HM Revenue & Customs for signing by the personal representatives;
  • arrange for the payment of outstanding tax to HM Revenue & Customs payable from the estate or the beneficiaries; and
  • conduct all correspondence with HM Revenue & Customs relevant to the completion of the tax returns above.

Administration matters:

  • correspond with the personal representatives as agreed throughout the administration of the estate;
  • identify and correspond with the beneficiaries as necessary throughout the administration of the estate; 
  • identify and correspond with all financial institutions, statutory bodies, organisations and individuals relevant to the estate throughout the administration of the estate;
  • identify, verify and value the assets and liabilities in the estate;
  • gather or transfer all assets of the estate as appropriate to carry out the administration of the estate in accordance with the instructions of the personal representatives; 
  • pay and discharge all debts and liabilities of the estate from the funds within the estate or from the beneficiaries;  
  • preparing the accounts of the estate for approval of the personal representatives and beneficiaries;
  • distribute the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with any will in existence, or where there is no valid will, applying the rules of intestacy. 

If there is a property in the estate, we will:

  • ensure that the building and contents insurer is aware of the change in circumstances and arrange that appropriate insurance is in place at the cost of the estate; 
  • arrange for Royal Mail postal redirection of mail to this office for the period of administration at the cost of the estate; 
  • arrange for an appropriate valuation of the property to meet with HM Revenue & Customs requirements at the cost of the estate; 
  • arrange for third parties to provide specialist property services as agreed by the personal representatives at the cost of the estate; and 
  • arrange for the instruction of a specialist conveyancer to transfer or sell the property at the cost of the estate. The costs of the property services to sell or transfer the property are separate to the charges for estate administration and will be charged in addition to our fees for professional services. Please see our property pages for an estimate of costs to sell or transfer a property.

Face-to-face not faceless…

Working out fees and the options for dealing with an estate can be tricky; it will vary dependent upon individual circumstances. We have a dedicated enquiries team who specialise in providing jargon free, initial advice to help you get the information you need, so there are no surprises down the line. In order to provide you with an initial quote, we will need to know a variety of details about the deceased persons’ estate and we usually do this with a face-to-face meeting at one of our offices. To arrange an initial conversation, please contact us on 0800 118 1500, or email enquiries@talbotslaw.co.uk.