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Call: 01524 734 884
Call: 01524 834 222

Our Prices for Obtaining Probate

We offer two levels of service for Probate:

  • Grant Only, where we will obtain the Grant of Probate (where the Deceased left a Will) or Letters of Administration (where the Deceased did not leave a Will) for you using information about the Estate supplied by you. This allows you to collect assets, pay liabilities and distribute the Estate to the beneficiaries yourself.
  • Full Administration, where we obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration on your behalf as above and then proceed to administer the full estate, collecting in the assets, paying the liabilities including calculating any Inheritance Tax due and distributing the estate amongst the Beneficiaries.

Our Prices

Grant Only Service

Under this service we will simply obtain the Grant certificate for you by completing the appropriate application using information supplied by you. Once the certificate is available we will then forward this to you at which point you will then be in a position to collect assets, pay liabilities and ultimately distribute the Estate yourself. For this service there are two fee levels:

  • The Estate is exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT). This could be because the estate is less than the IHT threshold (currently £325,000 for a single person or £650,000 for a married couple) or because the estate is left in its entirety to a spouse or civil partner. If this is the case HMRC requires that only a short schedule detailing the estate is required to certify that no IHT is payable. For such matters we would fix our legal fees at £675 plus VAT at 20% giving a total for our charges of £810.
  • The Estate is not exempt from IHT or requires a full IHT return to be completed to clarify the exemption. In certain circumstances HMRC will request a full return be completed. This could be because the estate is over the threshold or there are certain issues that they would want to consider before confirming that the estate is exempt. The full IHT return is far more complex and as a result our fixed charges are £1,250 plus VAT at 20% giving a total for our charges of £1,500.

It may not be immediately clear to you which of the IHT situations applies to you, we will however advise you fully once we have had a look into the extent of the estate of the deceased.

Full Administration Service

Under this option we would carry out the full administration process for you. This would include ascertaining the values of the assets and liabilities, applying for the Grant certificate, collecting in all the assets, paying the liabilities including calculating any Inheritance Tax due and distributing the Estate. All we would need you to do would be to provide us with all of the deceased's paperwork regarding bank accounts, pensions, utilities, insurances, shares etc. (In essence any paperwork you can find) and we would take it from there.

Our costs for carrying out this work would be based on a time recording basis and we will give you a fee estimate once we have a full picture of the extent of the estate, but as a guide our prices start at around £1,250 and average £2,400 plus VAT at 20% which gives a start price of £1,500 and an average cost of £2,880.

For high value estates i.e. those over £750,000 we would propose to charge in accordance with the principles of the case Jemma Trust -v- Liptrott. In this case it was suggested that charges would be rendered for work done based on the value of the Estate as follows:

  1. On the first £1 million of the Estate - 1½% (1.5%)
  2. On the next £1 million - £4 million - ½% (0.5%)
  3. On the next £4 million - £8 million - 1/6% (0.1666%)
  4. On the next £8 million - £12 million - 1/12% (0.0833%)
  5. On the remainder over £12 million - 1/24% (0.0416%)

VAT would be added to these charges at the rate of 20%. Note some solicitors will also charge a time value for the time spent that they have done on the file on top of the above charges, however we will simply charge the matter on the percentage scale and not add an additional mark up for the time recorded.

In any case the exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be near the starting figure. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property, multiple bank accounts, shares and investments then costs will be higher. This is a difficult area to quote an absolute Fee as there are so many possible aspects of work to consider. As such we would always recommend that you get in touch with us for a personalised quote as we can give you a much clearer estimate once we have taken some details from you.

Disbursements

"Disbursements" are expenses related to your transaction which are payable to third parties, such as Probate Registry fees. These will be the same regardless of which legal firm handles your matter. We arrange payment of these expenses on your behalf.

In all cases the Probate Registry requires a probate application fee of £155 plus an additional £1.50 per official copy of the grant certificate.

If the Estate includes a property and it is registered at HM Land Registry there will be a fee payable to them to obtain an official copy of the register. The present fee is £6 but is subject to change.

We may need to instruct a local Stockbroker to value any shares. If furniture and personal possessions need valuing, we would usually instruct a local auction house or jewellers. In each case the price for these services is dependent on the value of such items. All such expenses will be paid from the estate.

We would recommend, and in the case that Directors in this Firm are appointed Executors we will insist that Statutory Advertisements to Creditors are placed in the London Gazette and a newspaper local to the Deceased. These advertisements protect the Executors personally from any possible claims made on the Estate. The advertisements usually cost in the region of £200 but will vary depending on the newspaper.

The Probate Process

Grant Only Service

To obtain the Grant Certificate an Oath for Executors or an Oath for Administrators must be lodged at one of the Probate Registries of the High Court. It will also be necessary to submit an Inheritance Tax Return to HMRC setting out all the assets and liabilities. Once the Registry accepts the papers, they will issue either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration (the Grant certificate). In either case it is that document which allows the executors or administrators to administer the estate.

Usually once we have received all of the relevant details from you we will get the draft documentation out to you within 7 days. Once you have approved the documentation and sworn the oath we will submit the application on your behalf.

Where Inheritance Tax is due, HMRC will take around 3 weeks to process the IHT Return and any payment of tax. They will then forward approval to the Probate Registry.

The Probate Registry will then take around 3-4 weeks to issue the Grant certificate. Upon receipt of this we will forward the same to you for your use as executor/administrator. This will then complete our involvement in the process. Please note that this process can be delayed if HMRC have any queries regarding the IHT return.

Full Administration Service

Once we have received the Deceased's paperwork from you, we will ascertain the precise values of the assets and liabilities for insertion in the Probate application papers. We would hope to have all the information available to enable us to prepare the application papers as soon as possible, but for the most complex estates, this may take a couple of months. We will then prepare the Probate application papers and lodge them with the Probate Registry as explained above.

Once the Grant certificate is received we will then be able to collect in the assets and pay any outstanding liabilities. As explained above, if the Directors in this Firm are appointed Executors we will place Statutory Advertisements to Creditors in the London Gazette and a newspaper to the Deceased. The advertisements run for a period of two months and protect the Executors from any possible claims made on the Estate. Should any claims be received once the two month period has expired, creditors are unable to claim payment from the Executors personally. If the Executors are not Directors of Ratcliffe & Bibby, they will have the option of placing the advertisements. If the advertisements are placed, we will not usually be able to distribute any of the Estate until the two month period has lapsed.

Finally, once all of the assets have been collected and liabilities paid, we will send Estate Accounts for approval by all Executors and Residuary Beneficiaries and then arrange distribution of the monies held.

In some situations work may be necessary that falls outside of the above and additional charges may apply, examples of this include (but are not limited to):

  • Where the deceased held assets outside the UK
  • Where the Will is challenged or some other dispute arises
  • Where the Estate includes a property which must be sold or transferred and conveyancing fees are incurred for this

We will always inform you if any unforeseen additional work becomes necessary and detail its estimated cost in writing before any extra charges or expenses are incurred.

Our Team

Our Probate Team consists of qualified Solicitors (with between 3 and 6 years' experience) whose hourly rates range from £146 to £201 plus VAT at 20%. The team is supervised by Shaun Foreman who qualified as a Solicitor in 2008 and whose hourly rate is £260 plus VAT at 20%.