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PROBATE - COSTS INFORMATION FOR PROBATE SERVICES


No estate administration procedure is the same and our fees will reflect the complexity of the estate and the extent to which you require us to assist with the process. 

We have set out this guide of our pricing for probate services, however the best way to get an accurate estimate of the cost for helping you is to speak to us on 01643 707777 to give us a full appreciation of the estate including the value, whether any reliefs might apply, the number and type of beneficiaries, whether there are any trust arrangements that arise, and the scope of work that you require us to undertake for you.

Grant only service

This service is only available for simple estates where no inheritance tax is due. It offers a cost effective way for personal representatives to administer the estate once a grant of representation (either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration) has been obtained. Under this service Maitland Walker will draft the relevant Inheritance Tax Account and Oath using information supplied by the personal representatives. Once the grant of representation has been obtained the personal representatives can then assume responsibility for administering the estate.

Range of costs

Our fees for this service are fixed as follows:

  • Where a simple Return of Estate Information Form (IHT205) is submitted - £1,440 inclusive of VAT
  • Where a full Inheritance Tax Account (IHT400) is submitted - £2,640 inclusive of VAT

Assumptions

The assumptions upon which these fixed fees are given are: (a) that the personal representatives provide us with details of all assets and liabilities of the estate; (b) that no excluded work is required; (c) that we are not asked to address any questions or queries raised by third parties – including beneficiaries.

Work excluded from this service

This service does not include any of the following:

  • Addressing the deceased’s income tax and capital gains tax position up to their date of death
  • Placing statutory advertisements in the London Gazette and the deceased’s local newspaper
  • Collecting in the assets of an estate
  • Paying debts, funeral, testamentary expenses (including tax) and legacies
  • Addressing HM Revenue & Customs negotiations
  • Preparing estate accounts and estate tax returns
  • Distributing the residuary estate to the appropriate beneficiaries

Disbursements

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. These disbursements are not included in the fixed fees we offer under our Grant only service. The disbursements that will be incurred under this service are:

  • A grant of representation court fee of £155 per application (plus £0.50 for each copy of the grant required)
  • Commissioner’s fee of £5 plus £2 (per exhibit) for swearing the Oath (per personal representative)

Timescales

The usual timescales for our Grant only service are as follows:

  • Where a simple Return of Estate Information Form (IHT205) is submitted – 1-2 weeks from receiving all of the information we require to prepare the application from the personal representatives
  • Where a full Inheritance Tax Account (IHT400) is submitted – 2-4 weeks from receiving all of the information we require to prepare the application from the personal representatives

 

Full estate administration service

This service covers all aspects of an estate administration, which may include the following:

  • Providing preliminary advice
  • Undertaking a detailed review of the estate and gathering the evidence needed to value the estate and to prepare the application for Probate
  • Placing statutory advertisements in the London Gazette and the deceased’s local newspaper
  • Gathering the relevant information to prepare a deceased’s final tax return (and either preparing the return, or instructing accountants to do so)
  • Drafting the relevant Inheritance Tax Account
  • Drafting the relevant Oath
  • Applying for the grant of representation
  • Collecting in the assets of an estate
  • Paying debts, funeral, testamentary expenses (including tax) and legacies
  • Addressing HM Revenue & Customs negotiations
  • Preparing estate accounts and estate tax returns
  • Distributing the residuary estate to the appropriate beneficiaries.

Range of costs

Fees generally range from £2,500 plus VAT to in excess of £20,000 plus VAT depending on the complexity of a matter.

Under our full administration service our fees will be based on time costs charged at an hourly rate of between £100 and £220 plus VAT depending on the level of fee earner dealing with your matter (our guideline rates are £100 per hour for a trainee solicitor, £200 per hour for an associate/senior associate solicitor, £220 per hour for a partner - all hourly rates are quoted exc. VAT).  

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs are likely to be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property, multiple investments, a business or an interest in a business, or the estate is subject to inheritance tax, costs will be at the higher end. However, for the majority of estates that we administer, the position is somewhere between the two and our associated fees general range between £4,000 plus VAT and £6,000 plus VAT.

Before undertaking any work we will meet with the personal representatives to review the will and to investigate the estate. This allows us to provide an accurate fee estimate based on the information made available to us. The only way this estimate will then change is if unforeseen complications arise during the administration that results in additional work. If this occurs we will contact the personal representatives as soon as we become aware to explain the complication and to agree a revised fee estimate.

Assumptions

The assumptions upon which these fee estimates are given are: (a) that the personal representatives assist in providing us with information that allows us to identify of all assets and liabilities of the estate; (b) the personal representatives assume responsibility for carrying out the majority of non-legal tasks such as property clearance, funeral arrangements, liaising with estate agents and transferring utilities; (c) there are no claims made against the estate; (c) the sale of any property or business owned by the deceased is a separate matter; (d) varying the will or intestacy, or providing the personal representatives or beneficiaries with personal tax advice is a separate matter.   

Disbursements

The disbursements that we are likely to incur on behalf of the personal representatives while administering an estate under our full estate administration service are as follows:

  • Grant of Representation Court Fees of £155 plus £0.50 for each copy of the Grant required
  • Commissioner’s fee of £5 plus £2 (per exhibit) for swearing the Oath (per personal representative)
  • Placing statutory advertisements in the London Gazette and the deceased’s local newspaper to search for any unknown creditors of the estate. The associated costs vary depending on which newspaper is chosen to run the advert, but generally run to approximately £200. Once the advert has been placed it gives unknown creditors two months in which to make their claim against an estate. If they fail to do so during the required period the personal representatives are free to distribute without fear of incurring personal liability for a debt if a creditor subsequently emerges (although if a claim arises before the estate is fully distributed, the balance of funds available must be applied toward payment of the outstanding debt).
  • If it is necessary for us to obtain up-to-date official copies for the title to any property comprised in the estate these can be obtained at a fee of £6.00 per official copy.
  • Land Registry Bankruptcy searches should be carried out against the names of all of the beneficiaries of the estate to ensure that none of them are undischarged bankrupts. Personal representatives who fail to carry out these searches and who then make a distribution out of the estate to a bankrupt beneficiary may be making the distribution to the wrong person, and, if so, will not receive a good receipt. In such cases, if the bankrupt puts the assets beyond the reach of their trustee in bankruptcy, there is a real risk that the trustee in bankruptcy, on behalf of the bankrupt's creditors, will claim compensation against the personal representatives. The fee for carrying out these searches is £2 per name.
  • Landmark’s Financial Asset Search (FAS) at a fee of £135.00 plus VAT. FAS is an online financial asset tracing system. Its service has been designed to assist personal representatives to ensure that they can attempt to trace assets, including those otherwise lost or forgotten over the course of the deceased’s lifetime, and are ultimately distributed to the correct beneficiaries. The service also includes a search of the National Will Register. If you require further information please refer to Landmark’s website (https://www.landmarkfas.co.uk/Faq.do). This is optional to personal representatives. Please let us know whether you would like us to carry out the search on your behalf.

These are estimated costs and may vary slightly. Additional expenses may also be payable throughout the matter. These disbursements are not included in our fee estimate and are an additional expense.

Timescales

In most cases we can obtain a grant of representation within two to three months of being instructed. After that, the time taken to complete the administration will depend to a large extent on the time it takes to dispose of or transfer certain assets and to finalise the deceased’s and their estate’s tax positions. Where inheritance tax is payable, it can take up to one year before the administration of the estate is completed.  It may take longer if the matter is very complex, or we are required to negotiate with HM Revenue & Customs.

 

About us

Our team has many years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all private client related matters including estate administration, estate planning, wills, trusts, tax, probate, powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications. The team has particular experience in administering farming estates and advising farming families.

We have three members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Ben Simpson, Partner and head of the firm’s Private Client department.

Ben Simpson – Partner

Ben is head of our team and has over 12 years’ experience in private client work. He joined the firm in 2006 and was made a partner in May 2016. Ben specialises in all aspects of private client work including estate planning, wills, trusts, tax, probate, powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications, but with a particular focus on administering complex estates and on advising farming families and landed estates. He also has experience of dealing with estates that have a multi-jurisdictional dimension.

Anna Neil – Senior Associate

Anna joined Maitland Walker in 2018 as a Senior Associate to bring our already successful Minehead private client practice to our fast expanding Taunton office. Anna is an experienced solicitor with over 17 years’ pqe.   Originally a litigation solicitor, Anna has worked in the South West for many years with large regional practices. Anna is an affiliate member of the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). Anna specialises in all aspects of private client work including estate planning, wills, trusts, tax, probate, powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications.  Anna has experience of acting for clients who lack capacity. 

Emily Simpson - Associate

Emily joined Maitland Walker's fast developing Private Client Department as an Associate Solicitor in October 2014. She has over 10 years’ experience in private client. She specialises in all aspects of private client work, including estate planning, wills, trusts, tax and estate administration, but has a particular interest in assisting elderly and vulnerable clients with powers or attorney and applications to the Court of Protection. Emily is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners).