Administration of Estates: Our Pricing Structure including Fixed Fee Probate

General

This information is provided pursuant to the Transparency Rules which require solicitors to provide detailed information about prices of certain services.

The Transparency Rules came into force in December 2018 and apply to probate (uncontested cases with all assets in the UK).

The information set out in this document is accurate as at October 2019 and is designed to provide a general indication of your likely legal costs based on our analysis of costs of similar cases. However, costs vary considerably between matters depending upon the particular circumstances of each case and we will always endeavour to give you a personalised quotation at the outset of your matter.

Our Team

We have a specialist private client team who provide expert advice and assistance with Wills, Powers of Attorney, obtaining Grants of Probate and administering estates and dealing with contested estates. All work is supervised by Lisa Dacre, Director, Solicitor and Head of our Private Client Department.

Our Fees

Example 1: Fixed fee for obtaining the Grant of Probate only – Return of Estate information (IHT205)

We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf, allowing you to collect and distribute the estate.

How much does this service cost?

TOTAL: £1058 to include:-

  • Legal fees of £750.
  •  VAT on legal fees of £150.
  • Probate application fee of £155.00.
  • 2 additional copies of the grant £3

Potential additional disbursements* if required

  • Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department search (£2.00 per beneficiary).
  • Trustee Act Notice in the London Gazette and a local newspaper – approximately £225. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • If additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50 per copy. You will usually need one copy for each asset.

As part of our fixed fee we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate lawyer to work on your matter.
  • 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 statement for you to sign.
  • Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf.
  • Obtain the Probate and send two copies to you.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within one to three months.

 

Example 2: Grant of Probate only – Full Inheritance Tax Account required (IHT400)

This is where we assist you in part of the Estate Administration process. You provide us with all of the financial information in respect of the estate and we complete the legal process on your behalf. We then provide you with the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration for you to deal with gathering in the assets and distributing the estate yourself.
The IHT400 is usually required where the value of the estate is such that Inheritance Tax is payable, where the person who has died made significant gifts during their lifetime, where the deceased benefitted from assets held in a trust or where tax reliefs and exemptions (i.e. the Residence Nil Rate Band) are required to be claimed.
The scope of this work covers:

• Providing you with a dedicated and experienced probate lawyer to work on your matter
• Meeting with you to take instructions and obtain information in relation to the estate and advise on Probate procedure
• Identifying the legally appointed Executors or Administrators and beneficiaries and discussing any available options as to which Executors/Administrators act
• Accurately identifying the type of Probate application you require
• Obtaining the relevant documents required to make the application
• Completing the IHT400 and Schedules
• Drafting a legal statement for you to sign
• Drafting any Power Reserved Notices to clear off additional Executors if required
• Meeting with you to approve and sign the paperwork
• Submitting the IHT400 to HM Revenue and Customs
• Making the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
• Obtaining the Probate and sending copies to you

How long will this take?

On average, it will take three to six months to complete the IHT400. In addition to this, it can take many weeks for HMRC to issue a receipt for the IHT400 which is required before the Probate can be applied for. Once the application is submitted, it will take approximately two to three weeks for the Probate Registry to issue the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration.
This is a more complicated process than the Grant only service involving the Return of Estate Information form (IHT205) as there are a higher number of forms to complete and often taxation issues to deal with. We therefore cannot offer a fixed fee for this service. You could expect charges to be in the region of £1,250 – £2,000 plus VAT and Disbursements for this service.

Disbursements payable in addition to our fees:

• Probate application fee of £155
• Additional copies of the grant at £1.50 per copy. You will usually need one copy for each asset.

Potential additional disbursements if required

• Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department search (£2 per beneficiary).
Trustee Act Notice in the London Gazette and a local newspaper – approximately £225. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.

 

Example 3: Full Estate Administration – Simple Estate

Under our full estate administration service, we would usually undertake all work needed to the complete administration of the estate from beginning to end. For a simple estate we would expect this to take between seven and twelve hours work at £250 per hour plus VAT. Total costs estimated at £1,750 – £3,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

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 at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you including obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf and undertaking the collection and distribution of assets. This quote is for estates where:
• There is a valid Will or simple intestacy
• There is no more than one property
• There are no more than four bank or building society accounts
• There are no other intangible assets
• There are up to six beneficiaries
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to 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; and
• All assets are in the UK

Disbursements* payable in addition to our fees:
• Probate application fee of £155
• £1.50 for each additional copy of the Grant of Probate (we recommend that you get one copy for each financial institution)
• Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department search (£2 per beneficiary)
• Trustee Act Notice in the London Gazette and a local newspaper –approximately £225. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
* Disbursements are costs related to your matter that we pay to third parties on your behalf, such as the probate application fee.
Potential additional costs

• If there is no Will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
• Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. We can provide a separate fixed fee for dealing with the sale or the transfer upon request.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within six to nine months. Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes three to six months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between two to three months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes three to six weeks.

 

Example 4: Full Estate Administration – Mid-Range Estate

For a mid-range estate, we would expect this to take approximately twenty to forty hours work at £250 per hour plus VAT. Total costs estimated at £5,000 – £10,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is a small number of beneficiaries and a small number of assets the costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are numerous beneficiaries and multiple assets including numerous bank accounts, shareholdings and investments or other assets or multiple debts and one or more properties, costs will be at the higher end of the range.
Insolvent estates are likely to fall within this category of estate.
We will handle the full process for you including obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf and undertaking the collection and distribution of assets. This quote is for estates where:
• There is a valid Will or simple intestacy
• There is one or more property
• There are four or more bank or building society accounts
• There are other intangible assets
• There are six or more beneficiaries
• There are charitable beneficiaries
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
• There is no inheritance tax payable but exemptions and reliefs need to be claimed
• There are business assets but these are simple in structure
• Income tax from the administration period needs to be declared to HMRC
• There is Inheritance Tax payable and an IHT400 is required to be completed
• There are no claims made against the estate; and
• All assets are in the UK
Disbursements* payable in addition to our fees:
• Probate application fee of £155
• £1.50 for each additional copy of the Grant of Probate (we recommend that you get one copy for each financial institution)
• Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department search (£2 per beneficiary)
• Trustee Act Notice in the London Gazette and a local newspaper –approximately £225. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
* Disbursements are costs related to your matter that we pay to third parties on your behalf, such as the probate application fee.
Potential additional costs

• If there is no Will or the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
• Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. We can provide a separate fixed fee for dealing with the sale or the transfer upon request.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within twelve to eighteen months. Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes six to eight months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between four to six months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes one to three months.

If the estate comprises of one or more properties, the administration cannot be completed until such time as the properties are sold or transferred. The need to sell a property can increase the time it takes to administer the estate.

 

Example 5: Full Estate Administration – High Value/Complex Estate

For a high value/complex estate we would expect this to take at least forty hours work at £250 per hour plus VAT. Total costs for these types of estates averages between £8,000 and £15,000 plus VAT and disbursements but can range up to £20,000 plus VAT and disbursements.
These fees generally apply where there are complex factors in the estate because it is high value (i.e. in excess of £1 million) and there are multiple assets (typically including business or agricultural assets).
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if the estate is taxable but there are a smaller number of assets easily identifiable and determinable and a small number of beneficiaries, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, multiple properties, multiple bank accounts, multiple shareholdings, multiple investments and multiple other assets costs will be at the higher end.
We will handle the full process for you including obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf and undertaking the collection and distribution of assets. This quote is for estates where:
• There is a valid Will or simple intestacy
• There is one or more property
• There is multiple bank or building society accounts
• There are other intangible assets
• There are multiple beneficiaries
• There are multiple charitable beneficiaries
• The financial affairs of the deceased are unclear and investigatory work is required
• There are disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
• There is inheritance tax payable and an IHT400 is required
• The is no inheritance tax payable either because of debts or exemptions and reliefs need to be claimed and there are multiple assets to be declared
• There are business assets but these are complex in structure
• There are agricultural assets
• Income tax from the administration period needs to be declared to HMRC
• There are no claims made against the estate; and
• Tax clearance needs to be obtained
Disbursements* payable in addition to our fees:

• Probate application fee of £155
• £1.50 for each additional copy of the Grant of Probate (we recommend that you get one copy for each financial institution)
• Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department search (£2 per beneficiary)
• Trustee Act Notice in the London Gazette and a local newspaper –approximately £225. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
* Disbursements are costs related to your matter that we pay to third parties on your behalf, such as the probate application fee.
Potential additional costs
• If there is no Will or the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
• Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. We can provide a separate fixed fee for dealing with the sale or the transfer upon request.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within eighteen to thirty-six months. Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes twelve months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between six to twelve months. Once this has been done, we can prepare detailed estate accounts and distribute the assets, which normally takes three to six months.

If the estate comprises of one or more properties, the administration cannot be completed until such time as the properties are sold or transferred. The need to sell a property can increase the time it takes to administer the estate. Any business or agricultural assets comprised within the estate would also need to be sold or transferred which again could prolong completion of the administration.

 

Example 6: Deeds of Variation

Where a beneficiary wants to vary the terms of the Will or Intestacy there is a legal mechanism to do this. This is called a Deed of Variation. The costs of this can be met by the estate or the individual beneficiary depending upon the circumstances. Costs for preparing a Deed of Variation are based on a ‘time spent’ basis. Estimated costs range from £500 plus VAT (for two hours work) for a simple Deed of Variation (i.e. one beneficiary redirecting a share in an estate which is non-taxable) up to £2,500 plus VAT (ten hours work) for a complex Deed of Variation (i.e. variation of an estate into a Trust or where the Executors or Administrators are varying a share in the deceased’s estate or where the Deed of Variation changes the amount of Inheritance Tax payable by the estate).

On average, a Deed of Variation will take one to three months to complete.

Coronavirus

Our employment team has received a huge number of requests for help from companies who are unsure how to interpret Government guidance and how best to deal with their employees at this difficult time. 

We are producing regular factsheets for our employees which explain the latest Government guidance.  Our factsheets also sets out practical advice on issues such as furloughing (the new procedures by which employees can remain at home but employers can claim a grant to cover their wages), re-negotiation of contracts and sick pay. 

If you would like to receive these factsheets, please contact Gail Black of our employment team at g.black@livingstons.co.uk.  If you have any specific queries about any particular employment issue, please e-mail Gail Black or Steve Walker at s.walker@livingstons.co.uk.

Full details of how we are dealing with Coronavirus are available here.

We will do everything possible to keep disruption to a minimum during this difficult time.