Probate is the entire process for managing and distributing the assets of a person who has died. We understand that bereavement can be a very emotional event and our supportive team will help you every step of the way.
Our Probate Solicitor, Claire Trotel, has a wealth of experience handling work relating to the administration of estates; drafting of Wills; estate planning; and Powers of Attorney. During her career, Claire has been involved in many high value and complex estate administration cases involving UK and international assets.
What Does Our Probate Service Provide?
We offer a full estate administration service, guiding you through the process from start to finish. The service would typically include:
- An initial meeting to take your instructions.
- A review of the deceased’s Will, or where there is no Will, guidance on the application of the Intestacy Rules, advising on who can administer the estate, as well as identifying beneficiaries and highlighting any issues that may affect the Grant of Probate/ Letters of Administration.
- Identifying and investigating the assets and liabilities of the estate, including arranging professional valuations of property, investments and other assets.
- Calculating the initial inheritance tax that is due.
- Preparing probate papers and tax forms.
- Liaising with HMRC in relation to the Inheritance Tax liability of the estate, and arranging the payment of inheritance tax.
- Applying for and obtaining the Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry.
- Assembling together the assets of the estate and/or transferring them to the beneficiaries.
- Handling any income or capital gains tax liabilities of the estate.
- Arranging the preparation of the final estate accounts.
- Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries either directly or via a lifetime or will trust.
What is the Cost of Applying for Probate?
The exact cost depends on the individual circumstances of the matter, including:
- The size of the estate.
- The complexity of the estate as well as the deceased’s financial affairs, including whether there is a large number of bank accounts, stocks or other investments.
- If the estate includes foreign assets, trusts, or business interests.
- Whether the deceased left a Will (and how well it was drafted), or whether the estate passes under the Intestacy Rules.
We charge based on the time spend administering the estate. Our hourly rates are between £205 to £245 plus VAT for trainees and £495 plus VAT for solicitors.
We can only provide an estimate of the likely costs of our probate services once we have fully discussed the matter with you and reviewed the paperwork. However, we can provide an indication of our likely fees associated with work of varying complexity.
Low complexity - from £10,000 to £20,000 plus VAT
Mid complexity - from £20,000 to £40,000 plus VAT
High complexity - in excess of £50,000 plus VAT
In addition to our fees, there are also third party costs (known as “disbursements”). We handle these payments on your behalf, to ensure that the administration progresses smoothly and efficiently.
Examples of these fees are as follows:
Probate court fee
£155 plus £1.50 per copy
Advert posted in the London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
£92 plus VAT
Advert posted in local newspaper – This helps to protect against unexpected claims.
Landmark Financial Assets Search
(Lost Assets Search)
£155 plus VAT
Copy of death certificates (per copy)
Copy of divorce papers
£10 – £45 depending on whether court and case number known
Potential Additional Costs
Additional costs to those set out above may arise for various case specific reasons, including, but are not limited to:
- Any challenge including those relating to the validity of the Will, entitlement to the grant of probate, and by beneficiaries and third parties in relation to any distribution to be made, or that has been made.
- Liaising with lawyers, accountants or representatives regarding any overseas elements of the estate.
- Litigation involving the estate as a claimant or defendant.
- Obtaining legal services to sell estate assets; and
- Arranging tax advice outside of the service set out above (for example, working with an accountant in relation to income tax or capital gains tax returns).
How Long Does Probate Take?
On average, estates that fall under the inheritance tax threshold are resolved within 12 to 18 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 6 to 8 months, followed by the collection of assets, which can take between 8 to 12 weeks. Once this has been finalised, the assets can be distributed, which normally takes 4-8 weeks. Sometimes estates can be finalised much quicker, depending on the turnaround times at HMRC and the probate registry.
Higher value and more complex estates (especially if the distribution of the estate is disputed) can take far longer to finalise.