solicitors cheltenham

Probate

COSTS INFORMATION FOR PROBATE SERVICES

COSTS INFORMATION FOR ESTATE ADMINISTRATION (INCLUDING 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 set out below details of our costs for estate administration services. However, the best way to get an accurate estimate of our costs for assisting you is to speak to a member of the private client department on 01643 707777 (Minehead) or 01823 745777 (Taunton) 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 we will draft the HM Courts and Tribunals Service Probate (HMCTS Probate) grant of representation application (which is usually submitted by us online) and file the inheritance tax return (IHT400) if this is necessary, or for deaths occurring before 01 January 2022, file the simplified inheritance tax account (IHT205), 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:

  • grant of representation application only (without the IHT400, or for deaths occurring before 01 January 2022 with the IHT205): £1,440 inclusive of VAT
  • grant of representation application (with the IHT400) only: £2,640 inclusive of VAT

We will also charge personal representatives a client verification fee of £4.50 plus VAT per client. This covers the cost of an identification search against each client to comply with our anti-money laundering requirements.

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 and (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 and the estate’s tax position for the period of administration;
  • 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 and Customs negotiations
  • Preparing estate accounts and estate tax returns
  • Distributing the residuary estate to the appropriate beneficiaries
  • Selling/assenting/appropriating property or other estate assets
  • Constituting continuing trusts
  • Registering any continuing trusts with HM Revenue and Customs Trust Registration Service. Further information and details of our costs for trust registration can be found: https://www.maitlandwalker.com/blog/the-trust-registration-service-what-you-need-to-know.php
  • Providing advice about varying the will or intestacy, or providing the personal representatives or beneficiaries with personal tax advice.   

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:

  • HMCTS Probate grant of representation fee of £273 per application (plus £1.50 for each copy of the grant required)

Timescales

The usual timescales for our grant only services are as follows:

  • grant of representation application only (without the IHT400 or for deaths occurring before 01 January 2022 with the IHT205): 9 to 15 weeks from receiving all of the information we require to prepare the application from the personal representatives. N.B. HMCTS Probate usually issue the grant of probate within 8 weeks of the application being made.
  • grant of representation application (with the IHT400) only:  14 to 25 weeks from receiving all of the information we require to prepare the application from the personal representatives. N.B. There is a 20 working day waiting time between the filing of the IHT400 and being able to submit the online grant of representation application. HMCTS Probate usually issue the grant of representation within 8 weeks of the application being made.

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 grant of representation
  • 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 IHT400, if necessary
  • Drafting the IHT205 for deaths occurring before 01 January 2022
  • Drafting the HMCTS Probate grant of representation application, which is usually submitted online
  • 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 and Customs negotiations
  • Preparing estate accounts and estate tax returns
  • Distributing the residuary estate to the appropriate beneficiaries
  • Assenting/appropriating property or other estate assets
  • Constituting any continuing trusts

Work excluded from this service

This service does not include any of the following:

  • Selling property: the costs of the sale will be a separate instruction and will not be addressed by the private client department. A member of our property department can act in connection with the sale and can contact you once the sale has been agreed with details of the costs and expenses, which will be payable from the estate
  • Registering any continuing trusts with HM Revenue and Customs Trust Registration Service. Further information and details of our costs for trust registration can be found: https://www.maitlandwalker.com/blog/the-trust-registration-service-what-you-need-to-know.php
  • Varying the will or intestacy, or providing the personal representatives or beneficiaries with personal tax advice is a separate instruction to the private client department.

Range of costs

Fees generally range from £3,000 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 £120 and £350 plus VAT depending on the level of fee earner dealing with your matter (our guideline rates are £120 to £180 per hour for a trainee solicitor, £180 to £230 per hour for an associate/senior associate solicitor, £180 to £350 per hour for a partner - all hourly rates are quoted exclusive of 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 £9,000 plus VAT.

Before undertaking any work we will review the will and discuss the estate with the personal representatives in order to provide an accurate fee estimate based on the information made available to us. It may be necessary to amend this estimate during the administration of an estate if unforeseen complications arise. If this occurs we will contact the personal representatives as soon as we become aware to explain the complications and to agree a revised fee estimate.

We will also charge personal representatives a client verification fee of £4.50 plus VAT per client. This covers the cost of an identification search against each client to comply with our anti-money laundering requirements.

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 and (c) the sale of any property or business owned by the deceased 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:

  • HMCTS Probate grant of representation fee of £273 per application (plus £1.50 for each copy of the grant required)
  • 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 to £300 plus VAT. 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 from HM Land Registry at a fee of £6 plus VAT per official copy.
  • HM 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 plus VAT per name.
  • Estatesearch’s Financial Profile Premium at a fee of £185 plus VAT. This is a comprehensive financial asset and liability search. 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. If you require further information please refer to Estatesearch’s website (https://www.estatesearch.co.uk/services/).
  • HM Land Registry fees, which are calculated on the basis of the value of the property.

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 4 to 8 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 18 months 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 and Customs.

 

 

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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.

Please refer to the private client team page for further information on the fee earners who may be dealing with your matter.

https://www.maitlandwalker.com/legal-services/services-for-individuals/private-client.php

 

 

 

 

For more information on Probate please contact
Call Minehead: 01643 707777 or Email ben.simpson@maitlandwalker.com

The types of cases in which the firm acts include