Applying for the grant of Probate, collecting and distributing the estate
We do not operate a set fee for probate matters. Instead, our charges will be based on the time spent dealing with a matter, such as meetings with you and others, considering, preparing and working on papers, preparing correspondence and making and receiving telephone calls.
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 lower than if there are numerous beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts.
When we discuss the matter with you at the outset, we will be able to estimate the fees and disbursements for you – disbursements being costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
“I would like to thank you Rebecca for being so professional and efficient
during the last 9 months of correspondence.
It has been so reassuring for me to know that you were at the end of the phone
if I wasn’t sure about something. I found you approachable and your advice was always well judged and very welcome! You helped me through some stressful episodes!
It was a daunting task, being an executor, but you made it much simpler for me”
Our fee assumes that:
- there is a valid Will
- there is no more than one property
- there are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
- there are no other intangible assets
- there are between 1 and 5 beneficiaries
- there are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets
- there is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account o HMRC
- there are no claims made against the estate
We anticipate this will take between 3 and 6 hours work at £195 per hour. Total costs would therefore be between £600 and £1,200 (plus VAT)
Potential Additional Costs
- if there is no Will
- the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds)
- dealing with the sale or transfer of any property
“Very professional and efficient administration of the messy and complex estate of my late aunt”
Probate Registry fee
If the application is submitted by a solicitor, this is £155 and payable to the Court by way of a cheque accompanying the papers in support of the application. Applications can be submitted personally and in these cases the Probate Registry fee is £215. Sealed copies of the Grant can be obtained at a cost of £0.50 each at the time of the application. Subsequent requests are £10 per copy.
Certainty Will search
For cases where it is not known if there was a Will or if one might have been created later than the one available. For a cost of £238.80 (inclusive of VAT) a search can be undertaken with Certainty, a national Will register company who make enquiries of law firms and Will writers in a specified geographical area in order to establish if they hold a Will for a deceased. As the search only applies to firms within a geographical area, it is of limited use but it is considered a basic line of enquiry and essential if you are concerned about administering the estate on the basis that there was no Will.
Please be advised that Missing Will Insurance can be obtained (following the placing of a Certainty Will search). Again the cost for this is based on the value of the estate.
Any inheritance due to a bankrupt beneficiary ought to be paid to their Trustee in Bankruptcy. A search of the bankruptcy register in England is relatively cheap and quick (£2.00 per name), whereas an agent must be employed for beneficiaries living abroad costing approximately £50 plus VAT per name searched plus the search fee, which can be in the region of £77 depending on the country where the search takes place.
While we can ask beneficiaries to declare if they were the subject of a bankruptcy order, you may want to place these searches given that Executors / Administrators can be personally liable if distribution is made incorrectly in any way.
Missing Beneficiary / Will Insurance
For cases where there are concerns that there may be an unknown beneficiary / Will out there. We can usually obtain policies with a one-off premium, which is typically between 0.5-2% of the value of the estate.
s.27 Trustee Act Notice
This involves the placing of a notice in the London Gazette (usually at a cost of about £90) and any local publication where the deceased held property (approximately £250) to request any unknown creditors to come forward within 2 months. While it does not prevent a creditor coming forward after this time and seeking reimbursement from the beneficiaries, it does provide protection to the Executor / Administrator of the estate (provided that distribution is delayed until the expiry of the notices), who would otherwise become personally liable to settle the debt
How long does it take?
Typically, obtaining valuations / balances from asset holders takes around 14 days with the oath swearing to take place shortly thereafter. The issuing of a Grant is usually made 14 – 21 days after the application is submitted. Funds are released once the asset holders receive the Grant and they can take a further 14 days to complete this.
Once all known liabilities have been paid, distribution can take place. This can be undertaken immediately unless a s.27 Creditor Notice has been placed and / or there are concerns that a claim made by made against an estate. In these cases, distribution ought to be delayed for 2 months or 10 months.