Wills, Trusts & Probate Fees
Scope of services
We will provide a scope of work tailored to your particular circumstances once we have been provided with a completed probate questionnaire and full details of your circumstances.
Our fees shown below cover a portion of the UK probate processes with which we are commonly asked to assist. We will usually provide an estimate of costs up to and including obtaining the Grant of Representation in the first instance. Once the application for the Grant of Representation has been made, we will then provide a further estimate of costs for assisting with the Administration of the Estate based on the level of our involvement and the nature of the assets.
Our policy is to charge on a time-spent basis, subject to prior estimate. However, if you would prefer a fixed fee, we are able to do this in certain circumstances.
When deciding on an appropriate fee estimate we take into account a range of factors, including:
- the time taken to assist with the matter;
- the urgency of the matter;
- the level of correspondence likely to be involved;
- the complexity of the matter;
- the amount and quality of the information provided by the personal representatives;
- the likely level of engagement with the Probate Registry and HMRC; and
- the need to engage and liaise with third parties.
Set out below is our typical scope of services for assisting you.
Range of services
This may range from a simple ‘grant only’ application where the personal representatives then take personal responsibility for completing the administration, up to dealing with the whole administration process on your behalf. Our charges will reflect the time required, the level of complexity involved and expertise of the adviser best suited to manage the matter.
The business of administering an estate can be broadly divided into 3 stages:
- Preparatory work leading to the issue of the grant of representation;
- Business undertaken following receipt of the grant (collecting in assets and paying liabilities);
- Winding-up the estate (Distribution).
Stage 1 – Applying for the grant of representation
- locating and reviewing any will(s) and codicils and checking scope and validity of the same;
- notifying insurers of the death, checking adequacy of insurance cover and ensuring the personal representatives are noted on all the deceased’s insurance policies;
- ascertaining the domicile position of the deceased;
- gathering information on the assets and liabilities of the deceased at the date of death including corresponding with asset holders and creditors and obtaining valuations where necessary;
- establishing whether the deceased made any lifetime gifts that are relevant for Inheritance Tax purposes;
- considering the deceased’s lifetime income tax position (including liaising with the deceased’s accountant to ensure that a tax return is prepared to the date of death);
- preparing the Inheritance Tax account, submitting this to HMRC and arranging for the Inheritance Tax to be paid; and
- drafting the documentation to apply for the grant of representation and submitting this to the Probate Registry.
Stage 2 – Administering the estate
- collecting assets (including arranging for assets to be sold or appropriated to beneficiaries) and settling liabilities;
- paying legacies;
- arranging for adverts for creditors to be placed;
- compiling estate accounts (or instructing an accountant to prepare these – in which case the accountant will bill separately);
- responding to any queries raised by HMRC in relation to the Inheritance Tax account and obtaining Inheritance Tax clearance;
- preparing tax returns to the date of death and for the administration period; and
- distributing the residuary estate.
Stage 3 – Winding up the estate
We do this by distributing funds to those entitled and accounting to our clients with a set of full Estate Accounts. The accounts show every item of income and expenditure, and if interest has accrued on money in our client account we pay this out accordingly.
Full service retainer
The following elements of advice and activity will generally be included in our probate retainer with the personal representatives of an estate:
- advise the executors or administrators on their duties;
- advise on the terms of the will/or the intestacy rules which apply;
- notify creditors and the appropriate authorities (i.e. HMRC) of the death;
- verify the assets and liabilities of the estate and organising any specialist tax valuations;
- identify and communicate with beneficiaries;
- advise on suitable arrangements where beneficiaries have died, lack capacity, cannot be located or are under age to receive their interest;
- investigate whether a transferable nil rate band may be claimed and obtain the necessary information and documents to claim a transferable nil rate band;
- prepare the necessary IHT forms;
- advise on available exemptions and arranging payment of calculated IHT;
- preparation of probate documentation for swearing;
- place any necessary statutory advertisements;
- once probate has been granted collect in the assets of the estate;
- deal with income tax and capital gains tax (CGT) compliance issues;
- pay liabilities and administration expenses;
- submit corrective accounts for IHT, agree the final liability and obtain clearance for all personal taxers;
- pay legacies and undertake the necessary bankruptcy searches;
- make interim payments or transfer assets to residuary beneficiaries;
- prepare estate accounts for approval;
- make final payments to the residuary beneficiaries; and
- preparing tax certificates for the residuary beneficiaries.
Unless agreed otherwise, the following elements are not generally included in our probate retainer as these items are typically outside of the scope of a standard estate administration. We would however be pleased to assist you with these matters, and will be happy to provide costings;
- dealing with any claim made by the Benefits Agency in relation to the Deceased’s eligibility for means tested benefits which the deceased had received during their lifetime;
- making enquiries about missing beneficiaries or verifying their claims to the estate;
- advising the trustees of any trusts which are set up or benefit under the will; (the ongoing administration of any such trust will form the subject of a separate retainer);
- claiming monies due from life assurance policies held in trust or from pension death in service arrangements held in trust;
- any contentious matter. For example, this includes any dispute or claim with HMRC or any claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975;
- the legal work involved in the sale or transfer of any property. Our Conveyancing team will be pleased to handle this and they will inform you of the likely costs involved;
- arranging for the winding up of any private company, partnership or sole trade;
- advising the beneficiaries (e.g. providing investment or tax advice i.e. a Deed of Variation for tax planning or other strategic purpose). We would be pleased to assist the beneficiaries with these matters, and will be happy to provide costings for the work involved.
We can offer a range of Will writing and Estate Planning services and costs that best suit your circumstances. These can range from time-based costs (hourly rates to various packages which quite often will include lasting powers of attorney (please see our separate factsheet).
Our fees for acting on obtaining a Grant of Probate and the Administering of a straightforward (uncontested) Estate based wholly in the UK, vary.
We state the fee ranges below (excluding VAT) likely to be charged and some of the factors that may result in a fee at the higher or lower end of the range or in the stated range not being applicable, which would be the case if the estate comprises any non UK assets or where its administration is contested.
However, as a guide our costs are below (please note that the below costs do not include the costs of fees relating to court applications, LPA Registration, and other disbursements/expenses):
|SERVICES||FEES (excl. VAT)|
|WILLS AND TRUSTS|
|2 mirror Wills for a couple including taking instructions, including basic advice on succession planning||£500|
|Complex Will, including Trusts||Starting from £750 (depending on complexity)|
|FINANCIAL & WELFARE LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY|
|Single individual||Starting from £300|
|couple (i.e. 2 individuals)||Starting from £500|
|Simple application for a grant of probate with no tax to pay||£1,000|
|Application for a Grant of Probate where Estate is taxable||1% of the total value of the Estate|
|Application for a Grant of Probate where Estate is taxable and 360 Law Services is appointed an Executor||1.5% of the total value of the Estate|
The above scope and specified fee ranges do not apply to:
- Assisting with the Administration of Assets situated outside England and Wales;
- Administering any ongoing Trusts created by the deceased’s Will or Intestacy; or
- Advising on potential claims against the Estate.
A separate fee quote will be provided for these types of work if required.
For a tailored quotation, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Probate application fees. We will handle payment of the disbursements on your behalf and so these will appear on our invoice to you.
All fees are quoted exclusive of VAT and disbursements. The likely disbursements that will be incurred are:
- Probate application fees which are currently £155 plus 50p for each official copy of the grant of representation obtained. We usually obtain at least 10 copies of the grant of representation to total around £165;
- Swearing of oath which are £7 per executor/administrator;
- Valuation fees which, if required, can range from around £500 plus VAT (where applicable – see VAT section below) for a simple valuation to over £20,000 plus VAT (where applicable) for valuations of a complex asset;
- Land Charges Department searches in the case of Bankruptcy only, which is £5 per beneficiary;
- Various Statutory Notices under the Trustee Act which are designed to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors and usually costs approximately £500;
- Advertising costs for creditors which are usually cost approximately £200 to £400 plus VAT (where applicable); and
- Third party fees, such as:
- Translation costs which can range from around £200 plus VAT (where applicable) to over £5,000 plus VAT (where applicable); and
- Overseas lawyers’ fees which, depending on the complexity of the case, can range from around £1,000 plus any applicable taxes to over £100,000 plus any applicable taxes for complex estates.
VAT will be charged at the prevailing rate (currently 20% in the UK) where the personal representatives are resident in the UK. However, charging VAT may depend on where you live. We will confirm whether VAT is payable when you instruct us and we can work out if VAT is properly chargeable.
Experience suggests that, on average, applications for grants of representation take approximately 9 to 12 months to prepare and complete.
Where a grant is required, we aim to extract this from the court within 6 – 12 weeks of being instructed, although this may take longer where IHT is payable or any information (for example, professional specialist valuations) is required.
Typical processing times from the date of submission of the relevant documents are as follows:
Between 4 to 8 weeks to issue form IHT421 confirming receipt of the Inheritance Tax account and any Inheritance Tax due.
The Probate Registry
Between 4 to 8 weeks to issue the grant of representation.
Please note that Probate applications which involve complex issues, such as where the deceased was not domiciled in England and Wales or where a caveat has been entered at the Probate Registry will take longer to be prepared and processed.
It will typically take between 10 and 50 hours of professional time to complete the administration of most estates. The administration of a basic estate is likely to be in the region of £3,500 – £5,000 plus VAT whilst very complex estates may be £15,000 plus VAT or above. The exact costs will depend on individual circumstances.
For example, if there is a valid will or simple intestacy, one beneficiary, no property, and no liability to Inheritance Tax (IHT) costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, numerous properties, multiple bank accounts, other investments and business interests, and IHT Tax payable, costs will be at the higher end.
It is quite often very difficult to assess the total time that will be taken in the administration of any estate. However, in our experience, a reasonable charge for the winding up of an average estate is 1.5% of the gross value of the assets in it plus VAT. An average estate for this purpose is where:
- There is a valid Will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than five bank and building society accounts
- There are no more than three beneficiaries
- There are no claims or other disputes.
- No inheritance tax (IHT) is payable.
Subject to the terms of any Will, costs can be reduced if family members are prepared to help with non-legal tasks such as clearing personal and household items, meeting with estate agents and dealing with utilities. These aspects are often time consuming but do not usually require our legal expertise.
Our Complaints Procedure can be located by client here.
We recommend that you contact us on 0333 772 7736 or at email@example.com before relying on this information or taking any course of action (or omitting to take any action) that has or may have legal implications. If you rely on this information without obtaining legal advice you do so at your own risk.
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