Probate & Estate Administration
We have offered fixed fees for all aspects of our estate administration work since 2007.
To talk through your exact requirements and to receive a full itemised quote please call our quotes team on 01246 560 560 or send in an enquiry form.
1. Our Legal Fee
Grant of Probate Only
We offer a “Grant Only” service where we obtain the Grant of Representation for you. This service is ideal for those who and willing and able to deal with the other aspects of the estate administration themselves. Our fixed fee for this service starts at £750 + VAT (£900). As well as our legal fees there will be Disbursements payable (see section 2).
Full Administration of the Estate
This is where we do everything for you to administer a probate estate. We have set out below a quote for a typical example of an estate that we would expect to deal with in our local area.
Our fixed fee for a typical estate would be between £2,500 and £6,750 + VAT (£3000 and £8100). The lower fixed fee would apply where there are fewer assets (i.e. just one or two bank accounts) and fewer beneficiaries involved (i.e. just 2 beneficiaries sharing the whole estate). The higher fixed fee would apply when there are the maximum number of beneficiaries and the estate includes both property and bank accounts. As well as our legal fees there will be Disbursements payable (see section 2).
This quote is for estates where:
- There is a valid will.
- The executors are all based in the UK and have full mental capacity to provide joint instructions to us.
- All assets are known to the executor(s) and are held in England.
- There is no more than one property which was the deceased’s home and which is registered at HM Land Registry in the deceased’s sole name. There are no more than 3 UK bank or building society accounts.
- There are no farming or business assets in the estate.
- The total value of the estate does not exceed £325,000.
- There are no other intangible assets in the estate.
- The deceased paid all tax via the PAYE scheme and was not subject to the self-assessment tax regime.
- The liabilities in the estate relate to household bills.
- There are no more than 4 beneficiaries receiving legacies and no more than 4 beneficiaries entitled to the residue of the estate.
- The deceased was not a trustee or beneficiary of any trust.
- All beneficiaries are adults who live in the UK and have full mental capacity to be able to receive and manage their legacy/share of the estate and are not subject to any form of bankruptcy or other insolvency order or proceedings.
- There are no disputes between the executors and there are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. (The resolution of any disputes between executors and/or beneficiaries would not form part of the work covered by our quote. Inevitably where 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 HMRC.
- There are no claims made against the estate (whether by beneficiaries, creditors or other third parties).
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. We would anticipate the following disbursements to be payable:
Probate court fee
The current Probate Court Fee is a fixed fee of £155 with a charge of £1.50 per additional court sealed copy required. Probate Fees will be reviewed by the Government as part of an annual assessment. Any changes to the Probate Fees will be published accordingly.
Statement of Truth
Currently, the Probate Registry require a Statement of Truth to be signed by the Executors/Administrators. These do not need to be sworn.
Land Charges Department searches (£2 per UK beneficiary where we are dealing with the full administration)
Trustee Act Notices
This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors – this involves the cost of a posting in both the London Gazette and a local newspaper – the fees for this are set by the London Gazette and the local newspaper but typically these will cost £250-300. (This is an optional disbursement)
Electronic ID verification
£12 per person – this will only apply to any executor or beneficiary who is unable to produce 2 forms of original ID. This needs to include one form of photographic ID (e.g. passport/driving license) and one form of ID with your home address (e.g. utility bill or bank statement).
3. Complex Estates and Complications
Whilst we will do our utmost to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible there are many factors which may make the administration of an estate more complex and result in a higher fee as well as often taking much longer to administer. We have set out some examples of the things we know can add complexities to the administration:-
- Where there is no valid will – this may result in professional genealogists being required.
- Where we are required to register the death.
- Where we are required to make the funeral arrangements.
- Where we are required to secure the house and perhaps change the locks.
- Where we are required to deal with mail redirection.
- Where we are required to rehome pets.
- Where the estate includes shareholdings and investments.
- Where there are farming assets or other business assets.
- Where there are debts owed by the deceased.
- Where there are any assets held overseas.
- Where the deceased has made gifts in excess of £3,000 per tax year in any of the 7 years prior to death.
- Where the death has been referred to the Coroner – certain organisations require a full death certificate which may not be issued until after any inquest has concluded.
- Where the deceased’s paperwork was not maintained in good order making assets and liabilities difficult to establish. It may take many hours to sort through paperwork to try and identify possible assets and liabilities.
- Where there are beneficiaries who are not able to receive their legacy of share of the estate outright – perhaps due to age (the beneficiary is under 18); loss of mental capacity or insolvency issues.
- Where there are trusts in the will.
- Where the current address of the beneficiary is not known to the executors.
- Where a beneficiary has pre-deceased the deceased and the executors are unable to provide a death certificate for the beneficiary.
- Where there are any beneficiaries based overseas.
- Where the property is not registered at HM Land Registry in the deceased’s sole name – for example a previous co-owner predeceased and his/her estate was not dealt with at the time or perhaps the property has never been registered with HM Land Registry.
- Where the property is to be transferred to beneficiaries there will be additional fees dealing with requirements HM Land Registry as well as fees payable to HM Land Registry which are calculated in respect of the value of the property.
- Where the property is not insured - we can arrange for the property to be insured if required via specialist insurance brokers.
- Where access to the property is not provided for the purposes of valuing the property or contents.
- Where household and personal goods are to be sold (perhaps at auction) or require removal from the property via property clearance agents – we can arrange for this to take place.
- Where the property is to be sold as part of the administration. The executors will be responsible for selecting the most appropriate method of sale (i.e. using estate agents, placing the property in an auction or arranging a private sale). The time to be taken for the property to be sold will depend on factors beyond our control. We can act for the executors in respect of the sale of the property [link to RP section]
- Where there are inadequate cash funds in the estate to fund the disbursements the executors may need to arrange funding for these from the beneficiaries or from a third party source of credit.
- Where the estate is insolvent.
- Where previously unknown creditors are identified following the issue of the Trustee Act Notices.
- Where additional assets are identified by the executors after the Grant of Representation has been issued.
- Where there are disputes amongst beneficiaries which need to be resolved.
- Where beneficiaries do not respond promptly to our requests to produce ID and approve the estate accounts.
- Where Inheritance Tax is payable.
- Where our clients to not provide their instructions promptly.
4. What do we do For You?
As part of our fixed fee we will:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter. Our probate solicitors work as part of a team alongside Legal Executives and Paralegals. Please see details of our Team.
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries.
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require.
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application.
- Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms.
- Draft a legal oath for you to swear.
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf.
- Obtain the Probate.
- Arrange for Trustee Act Notices.
- Collect in the assets in the estate (although please note that the transfer of any property is not included in this quote).
- Prepare detailed estate accounts.
- Obtain ID from and undertake bankruptcy searches of all beneficiaries
5. How Long Does This Take?
We would expect to complete the administration of the estate in our example quote within 3-5 months. Typically we will issue our Terms of Business within 2 weeks of first meeting you. We expect to receive confirmation of the assets within 6 weeks of receiving signed Terms of Business. The probate papers usually then take 2-3 weeks to prepare and the Grant is usually issued within 2 weeks of the client attending our offices to sign the probate papers. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 3-4 weeks. We will then prepare detailed estate accounts for approval by the executors and beneficiaries. Once the estate accounts have been approved, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2-4 weeks from receipt of the approved estate accounts. We cannot control all of the timescales. For example if we ask a beneficiary to provide ID and this takes the individual several weeks to respond to the request this will delay the administration of the estate. Where the estate involves the sale of a property this may extend the timescale considerably.
If after our initial meeting you do not wish to instruct us to carry out any work you will be charged in accordance with our hourly rate, This will be confirmed in writing prior to the appointment.
6. Our Team
The Probate team at Banner Jones work differently to many other law firms. It would be very common for you to be given the name of a solicitor who will be the only person to work on your file, but at Banner Jones we take a team approach.
Our friendly, caring probate team will work efficiently through your matter as a team, keeping you informed of the progress every step of the way. This approach has proven very popular with our clients as they can ring and speak to any member of the team who will be able to help as they are familiar with the matter. This approach helps to avoid any unnecessary delays as there will always be someone in the office to help you.
The team approach also allows our clients to benefit from the combined skill sets, background experiences and personalities in the team. To read more about the team members click on the links to read their profiles.