Probate pricing
Esther Woodhouse

Probate pricing

Our Private Client department is one of the largest in the region, with specialists in wills, probate, trusts, estates and tax planning. Every year we give thousands of people the peace of mind of knowing their affairs have been left in the best of hands. Our well-respected teams regularly feature in the key legal directories, with our Private Client team receiving top tier ranking in the Legal 500 year after year.

WIQS Client Charter

The Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) provides a quality standard for wills, probate and estate administration practices, by requesting that firms adhere to the scheme protocol. Roythornes Client Charter is designed to set client expectations on what they can expect from a WIQS accredited firm.

The Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme

We are proud to have achieved the high standards of practice and integrity required to become accredited with the WIQS. The Scheme’s logo is your guarantee that our practice will provide high quality will-drafting, probate and estate administration services.

We will carry out our work for you in accordance with the good practice standards of the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Protocol. This means that we will:

  • treat you with dignity and respect;
  • be polite and considerate;
  • use clear language and keep legal jargon to a minimum;
  • explain what the costs are likely to be and how we charge;
  • advise you on the issues and the options for dealing with them;
  • explain what you can expect from us;
  • carry out our work in a timely manner;
  • respond promptly to your enquiries, and;
  • keep you informed of our progress.

Our pricing

The business of administering an estate can be broadly divided into three stages.

  1. Preparatory work leading to the issue of the grant of representation
  2. Business undertaken following receipt of the grant
  3. Winding-up the estate

Range of services

Roythornes offers a range of probate services so you can choose what service and costs best suits your circumstances. This may range from a simple ‘grant only’ application where the personal representatives then take personal responsibility for completing the administration, up to very complex full probate administration where we can provide a complete service. Our charges will reflect the time required, the level of complexity involved and expertise of the adviser best suited to manage the matter.

Probate administration costs estimates

All costs quoted or estimated are exclusive of VAT and disbursements.

    Time-based costs – hourly rate

    Our professional fees can be calculated based on the hourly rates of the fee earner(s) working on the case as follows;

    Fee earnerRange per hour (ex VAT)
    Partner or equivalent£200 - £300
    Associate/senior solicitor£175 - £230
    Other solicitors£140 - £175
    Legal executives£140 - £201
    Paralegal/trainee solicitors£100 - £130

     

    It will typically take between 10 and 50 hours of professional time to complete the administration of most estates. Total costs may therefore be between £1,000 and £15,000 (+VAT).

    The cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. 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.

    Value-based costs – fixed rate

    As an alternative, we are happy to discuss the provision of a full service fixed fee based on a percentage of the gross value of assets to which the deceased was entitled at the date of their death*;

    Estate value%Estimate
    0 - £100,0002.5minimum £2,500
    £100,000 - £250,0002.25£2,250 - £5,625
    £250,000  - £500,0002.00£5,000 - £10,000
    £500,000 - £1,000,0001.75£8,750 - £17,500
    £1,000,000 - £5,000,0001.50£17,500 plus

    Disbursements and VAT apply

    *  Based on gross estate for IHT purposes which includes the value of the deceased’s share in jointly owned property based on full mathematical share asset value.

    Grant only service

    We offer a fixed fee service to obtain the grant of probate only on the following basis.

    Grant only. All information provided.Non-taxable estate.£750 - £1,000
    Grant only. All information provided. Taxable estate.£1,200 - £2,000
    Grant only. Roythornes compiling estate information. Non-taxable estate.£2,000 - £5,000
    Grant only. Roythornes compiling estate information. Taxable estate.£3,000 - £6,000

    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:

    • provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate adviser to work on your matter;
    • identify the executors, administrators and beneficiaries;
    • advise the executors or administrators on their duties;
    • advise on the terms and interpretation of the will/or the terms of the intestacy rules which apply;
    • notify beneficiaries and creditors of the death;
    • notify the appropriate authorities of the death;
    • verify the extent of the assets and liabilities of the estate and obtaining valuations thereof;
    • identify and communicate with beneficiaries entitled under the will or intestacy and undertake bankruptcy searches against each of them prior to distribution of funds
    • 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;
    • calculate the correct amount of IHT, advise on best use and application of available exemptions and arranging payment of IHT;
    • identify the correct oath for preparation in readiness for swearing (along with the original will where applicable);
    • place statutory advertisements and generally advise personal representatives how to protect themselves;
    • once probate has been granted collect in the assets of the estate if this service is required as part of agreed retainer;
    • deal with income tax and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) up to the date of the deceased's death;
    • deal with income tax and CGT during the administration period;
    • pay liabilities and administration expenses of the estate;
    • submit corrective accounts for IHT, agree the final liability and obtain a Certificate of Discharge.  Obtain tax clearance;
    • pay legacies and undertake the necessary bankruptcy searches;
    • Make interim payments to residuary beneficiaries or transfer assets to residuary beneficiaries.
    • prepare estate accounts for approval by the personal representatives;
    • 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 quotes for the work involved;

    • 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;
    • dealing with enquiries raised by HMRC following submission of IHT 400 or IHT 205 or enquiries raised regarding application of reliefs;
    • 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;
    • contentious matters such as advising in relation to any challenge to the validity of the will or any claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975; if such advice is required, our Dispute Resolution team will be pleased to advise and they will inform you of the likely costs involved;
    • 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 of the estate (e.g. preparation of a will or Lasting Power of Attorney for a beneficiary or advising in relation to a Deed of Variation)  We would be pleased to assist the beneficiaries with these matters, and will be happy to provide quotes for the work involved;
    • providing investment advice to the beneficiaries.

    Disbursements

    Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees and typically include:-

    • probate application fee of £165
    • £7 swearing of the oath (per executor/administrator)
    • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£5 per beneficiary)
    • £300 post in the London Gazette – protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
    • £300 post in a local newspaper – this also helps to protect against unexpected claims.

    Time estimates - how long will it take?

    It is difficult to predict how long it is likely to take to complete a probate administration.  We aim to reach a conclusion to the matter somewhere between nine to 12 months from making a start. If a grant of probate is required we aim to obtain the document from the court within three to four months of being instructed.  Business on receipt of the grant usually takes between six and nine months.  Winding up an estate usually takes approximately three to six months. These time guidelines are approximate and each estate can vary depending on the assets and matters involved and information provided to us.

     

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